It was cold and wet Friday night when Hilmar High School's football team (9-2) hosted Linden High School (5-6) in the first round of the Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Hilmar was favored coming into the game and they lived up to expectations, defeating the Lions 41-14.
The Yellowjackets scored early and often, putting up 38 points; 35 of which came in the first half. Garrett Jericoff put the Yellowjackets on the board first with a 27-yard run as he flew by Linden's defenders with 7:18 remaining in the first quarter. On the very next possession, as rain began to fall, quarterback Andrew Olson connected with Zack Giuliano for a 60-yard touchdown and three minutes later threw another touchdown pass to Jesse Burke.
"We watched a lot of film," Olson said. "We put in some new routes and we ran them to perfection."
Kurtis Bettencourt and Tyler Silva would also get into the scoring spirit, with Bettencourt running for a 9-yard touchdown and Silva catching a 21-yard touchdown pass from Olson; one play after blocking a Linden punt.
"We kept it basic. We didn't do anything really fancy, we just worked on our fundamentals and it seemed to work," head coach Frank Marques said.
Hilmar kicked two field goals in the third quarter, extending their already impressive lead.
The Lions were unable to move the football against the Yellowjackets. Hilmar's defense, led by Giuliano, swarmed the Lion's ball carriers and shielded their receivers, forcing them to punt each time they had the ball in the first half. Linden never advanced the football beyond their own 37 yard line in the first two quarters, going into the half scoreless.
Linden's offense, which gained most of their yardage off Hilmar penalties, was finally able to find the end zone in the beginning of the second half, scoring off of a 6-yard pitch pass-back to the quarterback. They would only score once more, throwing a 30-yard touchdown with 5:44 left in the game.
Hilmar finished with 418 yards of total offense, 153 of which came off the arm of Olson. Tailback Victor Teixiera led the team in rushing with 127 yards and Jericoff ran for 86 yards.
The majority of the game was a formality for the Yellowjackets, but Hilmar doesn't expect a similar scenario next week when they face rival Livingston High School.
"It's a good rivalry we have going on. I'm looking forward to playing the Wolves" Marques said.
"Livingston has always been tough. They always have good athletes and have been ready to play; they're real physical," Olson said. "They're going to be ready and were going to be ready and it's going to be a battle."
To contact Frankie Tovar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.