It just wasn't Hilmar's (9-4) night this past Saturday in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-VI title game when they took on the No. 2 seed Bradshaw Christian (11-2) High at Alex G. Spanos Stadium at Lincoln High of Stockton.
Things started off much like the Hughson game where the first play by the opposition resulted in a fumble after Joey Pereira recovered possession at the 12-yard-line.
Much to the Yellowjackets' surprise, they were held to six yards and were forced to attempt the field-goal; however, the sophomore Marcus Mouro missed the 24-yard attempt, leaving Hilmar pointless at the seven yard mark.
This set the tone for Hilmar, providing the storyline of missed opportunities and BC's ground game wore down the 'Jackets and knocked off No. 1 Hilmar, 28-18.
“When we look back on this game, there's going to be no shortage of what-ifs. We had every opportunity in the world to get control of that game and we didn't do it,” said Hilmar head coach Frank Marques. “Make no mistake, the better team won tonight. Bradshaw came in with a better plan and did a better job executing it.”
BC racked up 320 rushing yards on 43 carries while running the 'Cox Box' attack, which is a bunched formation with no receivers, and up to nine players on the line of scrimmage to block.
This hard run game set Hilmar back, and when the defense came up with big plays the offense couldn't respond.
“They didn't do anything we didn't expect or know was coming, but they just did it really well. We looked good at times but we weren't ever consistent enough on either side of the ball,” said Marques.
The two first possessions for Hilmar resulted in turnover on downs while the defense recovered three fumbles in the first four drives for BC.
Unfortunately this only led to a single touchdown for Hilmar, which was scored when Daniel Teixeira ran up the middle for 10-yards. However, after a flag on a two-point conversion was called, the extra point was a fail and that would be the first of three missed chances to score after notching a touchdown.
Only three touchdowns were scored for Hilmar, neither initiated a successful extra point or two-point conversion.
Down 6-7, Bradshaw retaliated on the ensuing drive with a four-play scoring drive which was followed with a Hilmar touchdown run by Teixeira from five yards out to make it 12-14.
Just before the end of the first half Noah Batista came down with an interception with 2:25 left but, again, the 'Jackets offense couldn't do anything and was forced to punt the ball, heading into the half down by two.
“We took some bad penalties, had running plays for negative yards and, us receivers struggled to get open for our quarterback,” said Hilmar senior receiver Alex Chavez. “You can't make those kinds of mistakes and hope to win a section title game.”
Hilmar was called on 11 penalties for the game, some coming on important plays and critical situations.
Hilmar rolled into the second half with a solid drive that ended with a Josh Jennings 33-yard touchdown run, but again no points were scored on the two-point attempt, making the score 18-14.
BC followed with a drive soon after an on a fourth down with just four yards left to go Hilmar was called for pass interference which kept the drive alive.
BC would eventually score on that 12-play drive to go up for good and Hilmar's defensive end Joey Pereira sustained an injury on the next play, leaving the defense vulnerable without one of their top pass rushers.
Hilmar tallied 329 total yards on offense but Teixiera threw three picks, two of them in the final two drives and BC finished the night raising the blue banner.
“All the credit goes to them. They got us in some bad spots where we had to make plays and didn't and we couldn't get them off of the field either,” said Chavez who finished with seven catches for 82 yards.