Friday night marked a play-in game for the State tournament in the 6AA Nor-Cal State playoffs between Hilmar and Strathmore High at the Yellowjackets’ stadium.
The Yellowjackets were riding a three-game win streak, but Strathmore came into Hilmar ready to battle. A late rally by Strathmore ended with a 53-52 win off a two-point conversion for the visiting Spartans.
Strathmore scored immediately on one play and led 8-0 with 11:41 left in the game.
Hilmar didn’t let the Spartans’ early momentum stop them from battling back. But by halftime, Strathmore was leading, 23-21.
Isaac Sharp scored for Hilmar on an 11-yard run to take a 28-23 lead with 11:44 left in the third. Justin Rentfro followed with a touchdown of his own from 13 yards out and the 'Jackets went up 35-23 with 8:47 remaining.
Strathmore continued to execute their passing game and scored on a three-play drive to cut the lead to 35-30 with 7:09 on the clock.
Bryan Millan of Hilmar then drilled a 43-yard field goal to extend their lead to 38-30 with just over three minutes left.
Hilmar's defense held Strathmore on their own three-yard line, but they then fumbled with a little over a minute left and Strathmore scored a touchdown from three yards out and got the two-point conversion to tie it 38-38.
Hilmar followed with a five-play drive with 52 seconds left and attempted a field goal by Millan from 37 yards out, but it was called no good.
Both sides went back and forth and in the end Strathmore was able to creep back to win it by one point in overtime.