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Powerful second quarter lifts Jackets over Huskies
Klay Farris runs a 65-yard touchdown and scores one of his three touchdowns during the game against Hughson on Friday. Hilmar won the game 44-7. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

It was the first rainy game of the season Friday night as Hilmar High took on Hughson High and as the drizzle came down, the Yellowjackets poured the points on the Huskies, winning the matchup by a score of 44-7.

Hilmar’s offense came out of the gate strong at the beginning of the first quarter. After the ‘Jackets defense forced a Hughson turnover on downs, quarterback Chase Kindberg led a steady 10-play drive down the field which ended in a 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Klay Farris – his first of three touchdowns on the night.

With the ‘Jackets leading 7-0, their offense came to a standstill for a majority of the first half, due in part to several penalty flags, including two false starts, and dropped balls. Hilmar was able to scrape a 25-yard field attempt goal through the uprights three minutes into the second quarter to bring the score to 10-0.

Before the ‘Jackets were able to figure out their own first half offensive woes, the Huskies were able to complete 77-yard scoring drive, with Hughson’s Griffin Genzoli rushing six yards into the end zone, bringing the score to 10-7.

With just a three point lead, the pressure was on for the ‘Jackets. Hilmar’s offensive game came together in the latter portion of the first half, scoring three times in the final three minutes. Kindberg completed a 59-yard pass to Farris to increase the ‘Jackets’ lead, 17-7. After an interception by Gaven Azevedo on Hughson’s ensuing possession, Cody Rentfro had a one-yard rush into the end zone to make the score 23-7 after a missed point after attempt. After the ‘Jackets defense forced a Hughson punt, Kindberg connected with Farris once again on the first play of their next possession. Farris brought the 65-yard pass into the endzone with just 28 seconds left in the half, making the score 30-7.

“At the end of the second quarter we kind of caught fire,” said head coach Frank Marques. “We started playing like we normally should play.”

Kindberg, who entered the game with over 1,000 passing yards, finished the first half with 217 passing yards and three touchdown passes, completing 10 of 21 passes. He credited his teammates for his success Friday night.

“Every pass play, our line was blocking perfectly and we have great route runners, so I don’t have to do much,” said Kindberg. “I just get the ball in the air and they go get it.”

By the third quarter of the game, rain began to fall on the field. Neither team scored in the quarter, but Kindberg said that the rain didn’t affect the ‘Jackets much.

“We never went away from the passing game even when it started raining,” he said. “We didn’t change anything, we did what we do every week: pound the ball.”

Backup quarterback Tristan Crowley entered the game and made his presence known in the fourth quarter, keeping the ball for six yards into the end zone the give the ‘Jackets a 37-7 lead. After turnovers from both teams, Hilmar was able to score on their final possession of the game. Justin Rentfro rushed 29 yards down the field and into the end zone to make the game’s final score 44-7.

Hughson entered Friday night’s game with a three-game losing streak, but Hilmar didn’t underestimate their Trans Valley League opponent.

“This is the TVL,” said Marques. “Any game, any week, anything can happen. We were preparing for a TVL opponent that has traditionally been a hard-fought game, and every time you play in this league you just never know.”

The ‘Jackets are undefeated in TVL play (2-0) and are 6-1 overall. Next week, they take on Modesto Christian High at 7:30 p.m. in Hilmar.