The Hilmar High varsity football team shut out Hughson High 28-0 Friday night, bouncing back from two straight losses to keep its playoff hopes alive.
Hilmar’s offense shined behind senior Jason Pimentel, who made his first start at quarterback for the Yellowjackets and collected nearly 300 all-purpose yards on the night. The ‘Jacket defense did their part, too, holding the Huskies to zero scores and just 154 yards of total offense.
The team has struggled with a plethora of season-ending injuries to its offensive line and others, head coach Frank Marques said, in addition to personnel issues on the heels of back-to-back losses to fellow Trans Valley League opponents Ripon and Escalon. In order to stay in the playoff hunt and earn a potential first-round bye, Friday night was a must-win for the embattled team.
“I’m really proud of the kids. They went out and just ignored all the noise and played a really solid game,” Marques said. “This was Yellowjacket football. They played their hearts out as a unit.”
Running back Broc Perry got things started quickly for Hilmar with a 63-yard touchdown on the second play of the game, then Pimentel intercepted Hughson quarterback Robert McDaniel, a freshman, to give the ‘Jackets possession again. Hilmar’s ensuing 11-play drive ended with a 29-yard field goal attempt, but Pimentel muffed the snap.
Luckily for Hilmar, their holder also happens to be a pretty good quarterback; Pimentel picked up the fumble and stood up to find wide receiver Derek Taylor, connecting with him on a 24-yard pass to put the ‘Jackets up 14-0 in the first quarter.
“Entering the game, I was pretty confident. I couldn’t be nervous, I’ve got my team behind me supporting me and that’s all that matters,” Pimentel said of his first start. “Everyone did a good job today.”
The defense not only stopped the Huskies from scoring any points, but scored some points of their own with a safety early in the second quarter. Up 16-0, Pimentel found Taylor again with a 35-yard pass, setting himself up for a 20-yard touchdown run of his own.
After a scoreless third quarter, Pimentel connected with his favorite target yet again in the fourth — a six-yard touchdown pass to Taylor to cap the night’s scoring 28-0.
Pimentel finished his first night at quarterback 11 of 17 passing with 177 passing yards and two passing touchdowns and also had 118 rushing yards on 17 carries with a rushing touchdown. Taylor finished with 118 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Hilmar tallied 339 total offensive yards during the game.
“It’s just like Coach Frank says,” Pimentel said of the adversity his team has faced in recent weeks. “Next guy up.”
With the win, Hilmar is now 6-2 overall and 2-2 in TVL play. Hughson is now 6-3 overall and 2-3 in the TVL. Next week, the Yellowjackets will welcome Modesto Christian to their home field at 7 p.m.
Watch full video coverage of the game on Monday’s episode of The Blitz.