Hilmar High suffered two tough loss last week — one on the field and one off.
On the gridiron, the Yellowjackets were defeated for the third time this season, falling to parochial stalwart Palma 7-6 in a non-conference game Saturday in Salinas.
The off-the-field loss came earlier in the week when Hilmar learned it would be without starting quarterback Hudson Azevedo for the next four to six weeks.
The 5-10, 170-pound senior suffered a nearly complete tear of the acromioclavicular (AC) joint on his throwing shoulder in a 28-20 loss in Sonora on Sept. 2.
The ’Jackets promoted sophomore Caden Bailey, 5-9, 170, for the Palma game, and he’ll continue as the signal caller until Azevedo’s return.
Head coach Frank Marques thinks the team is in good hands until them.
“He’s a very athletic player,” Marques said of Bailey. “He had to adjust to the speed of the game against a very fast, aggressive team. He went from the JV to playing varsity and not only that, but a high-quality varsity team."
The right-handed Azevedo, who missed all of last season with an ACL injury, isn’t likely to return in time for the Sept. 30 showdown against Escalon, a game most expected would determine the TVL champion and give the winner the inside track to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championship. The TVL foes met in last year’s D-V final in Stockton, with Escalon winning 20-13.
“We probably won’t have Huddy back until the Hughson game,” said Marques, referring to the Oct. 14 road contest that follows Hilmar’s bye week. “That’s probably the earliest we can hope for.”
This week, the Yellowjackets (1-3) will make the short trip to Livingston (2-2) for their Trans-Valley League opener. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
The Wolves will have a chip on their collective shoulder Friday after last season’s heartbreaking 28-24 loss to the Yellowjackets. In that game, Livingston squandered a 10-0 cushion and multiple opportunities to put away the then-defending TVL champs.
Turlock at Clayton Valley Charter, 7 p.m. — The Bulldogs (1-3) hit the road for their last non-conference game before a bye that will lead into the annual Harvest Bowl on Sept. 30. Clayton Valley enters the game 1-2, but don’t let its sub-.500 record fool you. The Eagles have narrow losses to unbeaten Salinas, the second-ranked team in the Central Coast Section behind only Serra (the defending NorCal open division champ), and Del Oro, the seventh-ranked team in the Sac-Joaquin Section, according to MaxPreps.com.
Denair at Ripon Christian, 7:15 p.m. — The Coyotes (1-2) are coming off a tough road trip — they lost to Washington (San Francisco) 41-0 — and make their Southern League opener against a Knights (2-1) team that is a legitimate contender for the conference title.
Pitman, bye — The Pride will have the week off as they get ready for the Sept. 23 meeting with Oak Ridge (3-0), which hosts unbeaten Pleasant Valley (Chico) Thursday in El Dorado Hills. The Trojans are averaging 60 points per game this season and have yet to allow a single point. Pitman and Oak Ridge have a common opponent in Cosumnes Oaks, and the numbers are telling. The Trojans beat Cosumnes Oaks 56-0 in its season opener, while Pitman lost to Cosumnes Oaks 42-6 a week later.
Correction — The final score of last Friday’s Golden Valley-Pitman non-conference football game was 54-15. The final margin was incorrectly reported in Saturday’s edition.