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On historic night, Hilmar dominates
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Frank Marques said he is honored to be part of the tradition of Hilmar Yellowjackets football (7-1, 4-0 TVL) as the team’s head coach during Hilmar High School’s centennial celebration and homecoming.

The 1981 graduate and nine-year head coach of the Yellowjackets had plenty to be proud of Friday night, both on and off the field. On the field, the Yellowjackets stung the Riverbank Bruins 47-10. 

The ancient Hilmar High touchdown bell, manufactured in 1905, was ringing constantly in the first half as the ‘Jackets raced out to a 33-3 lead by half time.

Quarterback Andrew Olson completed eight of nine passes for 108 yards, three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown — all in the first half.

Senior kicker and wide receiver Kurtis Bettencourt was unable to show off much of his big leg but did show off his hands and speed with two touchdown receptions, an interception on defense and 16 yards on the rush — again, all in the first half. Running back Ryan White added 122 total yards and a receiving touchdown.

Before the game Hilmar graduates from the 1966 Southern League champion Yellowjackets team commented on the talented group of players on Hilmar’s centennial squad. The 1966 team’s quarterback and outside linebacker Ave Varcellos was impressed with the team’s defensive and offensive line.

Varcellos left Hilmar and played at Modesto Junior College and Cal Poly. He now lives in South Lake Tahoe. He said at Hilmar the team ran a split-T formation with double tight ends and he joked that the ‘Jackets modern “spread” offense with four receivers wasn’t even invented in 1966.

Mike Mcsweeney, son of legendary 1950s Hilmar coach “Mac” McSweeney, was on hand to see the game.

 “Well first of all, without our three cheerleaders, our team was nothing,” he joked.  “Hilmar football has such a long and rich history of good football teams. It is always fun to see how much better these kids are athletically now. They are continuing a proud tradition.”

Marques noted his team’s enthusiasm for the game.

“The kids are excited about this opportunity to be part of history here, they understand they are the 100th team and they are going to go out and play excited, but keep playing fundamental football,” he said.

The Yellowjackets glory years of course came from 1986 through 1989, when the team won four consecutive CIF titles.

Next week the’ Jackets are scheduled to travel to Newman to take on Orestimba in Trans-Valley League action.  On Oct. 28 they wrap up the regular season at McSweeney field against Escalon. The ‘Jackets hope to qualify for the post season for the second year in a row.

To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail or call 634-9141.