Roundup: Elk Grove survives nail-biter against Vacaville; Sheldon, Foothill, Cordova move on

Roundup: Elk Grove survives nail-biter against Vacaville; Sheldon, Foothill, Cordova move on

Football: Fumbles doom Vacaville in season-ending 28-21 loss to Elk Grove

Carter Harris ran for 22- and 1-yard touchdowns and threw a 39-yard scoring strike to Andrew Marlan, and Hunter Hall had a 47-yard touchdown run – all in the second quarter – as No. 10 Elk Grove defeated No. 7 Vacaville 28-21 in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II football playoffs Friday night in Vacaville.

It was a nail-biter for fans of the two storied programs that have combined for 61 playoff appearances through the years.

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Clayton Wattersons 12-yard touchdown run with 11:55 to play in the fourth quarter enabled Vacaville (6-5) to cut the Thundering Herds lead to seven points. But Elk Groves defense forced the Bulldogs to punt, surrender the ball on possessions and got two of Khalani Riddick interceptions to prevail. Elk Grove forced four fumbles and three interceptions in the game.

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Vacavilles Jeremy Villalobos threw 55- and 35-yard scoring strikes to Dylan Warfield to give Vacaville a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.

No. 5 Sheldon 27, No. 12 Modesto 14 in South Sacramento – Tyrell Smith rushed for touchdowns of 70, 30 and 10 yards, giving him 22 for the season, and Francisco Salinas threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Christian Surrell and made a game-sealing interception as the Huskies (10-1) topped the Panthers (5-6). The Huskies will play at fourth-seeded St. Marys of Stockton next Friday.

No. 6 Turlock 28, No. 11 Cosumnes Oaks 0 in Turlock – Lucas Curtis rushed for three touchdowns and Casey Carr caught a 23-yard touchdown pass as the Bulldogs (8-3) ended the season for the Wolfpack (4-7). Turlock will play at third-seeded Oak Ridge next Friday.

No. 7 Pitman 40, No. 10 Davis 21 in Turlock – Sophomore quarterback Luke Carrell completed 15 of 26 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns, and Payne Barksdale caught 9 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasnt enough for the Blue Devils (6-5) against the Pride (10-1) in a game played Thursday night. The Central California Athletic League runners-up will play at second-seeded Monterey Trail next Friday night.

No. 8 Tracy 49, No. 9 Lincoln 28 in Tracy – Trevor Pope II rushed for touchdowns of 98 and 9 yards and had a fumble recovery, Elias Williams and Logan Fife each rushed for two scores, and the Bulldogs (8-3) beat the Fighting Zebras (5-6). Harry Rounds rushed for a 36-yard touchdown and caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Turner and Jacob Lemus rushed for two touchdowns for Lincoln. Tracy will play at top-seeded Del Oro next Friday.

No. 5 Manteca 36, No. 12 Burbank 6 in Manteca – Tabron Russell rushed for touchdowns of 69, 8 and 3 yards as the Buffaloes (8-3) built a 20-0 halftime lead against the Titans (6-5). Levelle Bailey had a 2-yard touchdown run for Burbank. Manteca will play at fourth seeded Antelope next Friday.

No. 8 Buhach Colony 28, No. 9 Ponderosa 19 in Atwater – Josh Goodman rushed for two touchdowns and Owen Thomas had a 55-yard scoring scamper to lead the Thunder (9-2) over the Bruins. Elijah Henderson rushed for a 43-yard touchdown and caught a 3-yard touchdown pass for Ponderosa (7-4). The Thunder will play at top-seeded Capital Christian next Friday.

No. 7 Yuba City 30, No. 10 Christian Brothers 28 in Yuba City – Erik Palmquist rushed for a 3-yard touchdown midway in the fourth quarter to put the Honkers (7-4) ahead for good, though the Falcons (5-6) missed a 30-yard field goal attempt with 1:43 to play. Yuba City will play at second-seeded Placer next Friday.

No. 5 Oakdale 54, No. 12 Valley 6 in Oakdale – Max Moore rushed for three touchdowns and Zeke Saffar added two rushing touchdowns as the Mustangs (8-3) crushed the Vikings (4-7). The Mustangs will play next Friday at fourth-seeded Wood of Vacaville.

No. 6 Patterson 48, No. 11 Rosemont 21 in Patterson – The Tigers (7-4) broke the game open against the Wolverines (6-5) with 20 points in the third quarter. Dalonte Baskesville rushed for three touchdowns and Ricky Mayes had two interceptions for Rosemont. Patterson will play next Friday at third-seeded Casa Roble.

No. 10 Cordova 31, No. 7 Golden Valley 24 in Merced – Johnele Sanders threw two touchdown passes and rushed for a 45-yard score and Raymond Fite rushed for 13- and 1-yard touchdowns and had a game-saving interception as the Lancers (6-5) held off the Cougars (6-5). Cordova will play second-seeded Vanden in Fairfield next Friday.

No. 5 Foothill 55, No. 12 Pioneer 12 in Foothill Farms – William Goebell threw two touchdown passes to Traivion Drummer and also ran for 23- and 41-yard scores; Kyle McLaughlin threw two touchdown passes and Jordan Green returned an interception 106 yards for a score as the Mustangs (8-3) hammered the Patriots (4-7). Daevonnie Williams had two interceptions in a four-minute span for Foothill, and Jaiden Coutee had a 65-yard touchdown run for Pioneer. The Mustangs will play at No. 4 Sonora next Friday.

No. 6 Center 38, No. 11 Dixon 8 in Antelope – Emari White rushed for two touchdowns, Michael Wortham threw a touchdown pass to Lorenzo McGill and Elias Bonds rushed for a touchdown to stake the Cougars (8-3) to an early first-half lead and the defense held the Rams (6-5) scoreless until the final 44 seconds. Center will play at third-seeded Bear River next Friday.

No. 7 Mountain House 53, No. 10 Union Mine 30 in Mountain House – Jesse Jordan threw three touchdown passes and also rushed for a 34-yard score and Vladik Sutherland rushed for three touchdowns and had an interception as the Mustangs (10-1) beat the Diamondbacks (4-6). Clayton Byer threw five touchdown passes for Union Mine. Mountain House will play at second-seeded Ripon next Friday.

No. 6 Calaveras 44, No. 11 Highlands 7 in San Andreas – Logan Weatherby and Kade Overley each rushed for two touchdowns to lead Calaveras (7-4) past the Scots (7-4). Calaveras will play at third-seeded Escalon next Friday.

No. 8 Argonaut 58, No. 9 Bradshaw Christian 42 in Jackson – Clinging to a three-point lead entering the fourth quarter Wyatt Elmore rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another to help the Mustangs (8-3) to pull away from the Pride (6-5). Jeremiah Bonner-Hayes had 80 and 48 touchdown runs and Logan Cagle added a 52-yard touchdown run for Bradshaw Christian. Argonaut will play at top-seeded Modesto Christian next Friday.

No. 3 Golden Sierra 58, No. 6 Woodland Christian 7 in Garden Valley – The Grizzlies (7-4) jumped to a 37-0 first-half lead en route to the win against the Cardinals (6-5). Golden Sierra will play at second-seeded Big Valley Christian next Friday.

East Nicolaus 35, University Prep 0 in Trowbridge – Tyler Jensen caught touchdown passes of 60, 52 and 28 yards from Gavin McAuliff and Jensen also had an interception to lead the Spartans (10-0, 5-0) past the Panthers (6-4, 3-2) of Redding in the Mid-Valley League regular season finale.

Sutter 38, Orland 7 in Orland – Tyler McCool rushed for a 16-yard touchdown and Cory McIntyre rushed for a 6-yard score and tossed a 35-yard touchdown pass to help the Huskies (8-2, 5-0) build an early 24-0 second quarter lead against the Trojans (6-4, 3-2) and claimed the Butte View League championship.

Vaca High's Jordan Santos is comforted by a teammate as players gather on the field after the Bulldogs' 28-21 loss to Elk Grove High School in the first round of the 2018 Sac Joaquin Section Division II Championships Friday at Tom Zunino Stadium. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Members of the Vaca High football team raise their helmets at the conclusion of the national anthem before kickoff of their first round matchup with Elk Grove High School in the 2018 CIF Sac Joaquin Section Division II Championships Friday at Tom Zunino Stadium. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vaca High running back, Dylan Warfield catches short pass and turns it into a 58 yard touchdown reception in the first quarter of the Bulldogs' 28-21 loss to Elk Grove High School in the first round of the 2018 Sac Joaquin Section Division II Championships Friday at Tom Zunino Stadium. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vaca's Dylan Warfield celebrates his 58-yard touchdown with Nick Smith early in the first quarter. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vaca High strong safety,Trevor Marshall and Elk Grove's Elijah Vallier dive for a loose ball during the first quarter of the Bulldogs' 28-21 loss in the first round of the 2018 CIF Sac Joaquin Section Division II Championships Friday at Tom Zunino Stadium. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vaca High running back, Dylan Warfield runs for big gain during first quarter. Warfield had 176 all-purpose yards Ñ 124 yards receiving on five catches and 52 yards rushing on 11 carries. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vaca High's Trevor Marshall (left) and Clayton Watterson stuff Elk Grove running back, Tre'von Frazier behind the line of scrimmage for a loss during the first quarter. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vaca High's strong safety, Devon Mills tackles Elk Grove quarterback Carter Harris after a short gain during the first quarter. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vaca High's Talon Abramowicz reaches out to stop Elk Grove High quarterback, Carter Harris during the first quarter. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Elk Grove running back, Tre'von Frazier catches a pass in front of Vaca High defensive back, Michael Briscoe during the second quarter. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vaca High's strong safety, Devon Mills (left) and Chris Island tackle Elk Grove quarterback Carter Harris after a short gain during the second quarter. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Elk Grove High wide receiver, Andrew Marlan pulls away from Vaca High defensive backs, Reid Digman and Nick Smith late in the second quarter of the Bulldogs' 28-21 loss to Elk Grove High School in the first round of the 2018 Sac Joaquin Section Division II Championships Friday at Tom Zunino Stadium. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vaca High running back, Nick Smith gets wrapped up by Elk Grove High linebacker, Jack Spithorst after a short gain in the third quarter. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vaca High quarterback, Jeremy Villalobos gets off a pass under pressure from Elk Grove High defensive lineman, Adrian Vela during the third quarter. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Members of the Elk Grove High School defense celebrate as they come off the field after recovering a Vaca High fumble in the third quarter, one four in the game. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vaca High's Talon Abramowicz works to tackle Elk Grove High running back. Tre'von Frazier during the third quarter of the Bulldogs' 28-21 loss to Elk Grove High School in the first round of the 2018 Sac Joaquin Section Division II Championships Friday at Tom Zunino Stadium. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vacaville High running back, Clayton Watterson breaks the goal line for a touchdown during the fourth quarter to move the Bulldogs to within a touchdown. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vaca High defensive back, Michael Briscoe attempts to intercept a pass intended for Elk Grove wide receiver, Andrew Marlan during the fourth quarter. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vaca High's Jeremy Villalobos stuffs Elk Grove running back, Hunter Hill late in the fourth quarter for a big loss. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vaca's Jeremy Villalobos celebrates after his big defensive stop in the fourth quarter. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vaca High tight end, Michael Brown reacts after having a pass sail over his head during the Bulldogs final drive of the fourth quarter of the Bulldogs' 28-21 loss to Elk Grove High School in the first round of the 2018 Sac Joaquin Section Division II Championships Friday at Tom Zunino Stadium. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vacaville High running back, Clayton Watterson has a pass bounce off of his fingertips during the fourth quarter. (Joel Rosenbaum — The Reporter)

Vacaville turned the ball over seven times Friday night at Tom Zunino Stadium, and, yet, the Bulldogs still had chances to win the game late in the fourth quarter in Friday night’s 28-21 loss to Elk Grove in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs.

Four fumbles — two of them inside the Elk Grove 15 yard line — and three interceptions ultimately spelled doom for the seventh-seeded Bulldogs, who had their season come to an end with the loss. Adding to the misery, Vacaville was also stuffed twice on fourth-and-one conversion attempts.

Elk Grove, which wasn’t all that impressive offensively, played a cleaner game with just one turnover. The 10th-seeded Thundering Herd advanced to play at No. 2 Central Catholic next week.

“The turnovers are just the kids playing hard, but you can’t do that in any game and especially not against a team like Elk Grove in the playoffs,” Vacaville head coach Mike Papadopoulos said. “For us to still have an opportunity to tie the football game late with how many turnovers we had, it says a lot about our kids and how they were able to hang in there and keep fighting.”

The interceptions can be forgiven with two of them coming on deep, desperation heaves from quarterback Jeremy Villalobos as the Bulldogs tried to tie the game with very little time left.

After Villalobos connected with Dylan Warfield for a 58-yard touchdown pass on Vacaville’s opening drive, the Bulldogs were on the doorstep of going up 14-0 when Elk Grove’s Nick Woolstencroft ripped the ball out of Talon Abramowicz’s hands at the Elk Grove 12 yard line and returned it close to midfield.

Nothing came of that fumble as Vacaville’s defense forced back-to-back Elk Grove punts before the Herd scored their first touchdown on the first play of the second quarter with 5-foot-6 quarterback Carter Harris slithering his way through the Bulldog defense for a 22-yard touchdown run to even the scoring at 7-7.

Vacaville fumbled the ball away again at midfield on its ensuing possession, and this turnover resulted in points. Elk Grove capitalized on the gift four plays later as Harris shuffled the ball to Hunter Hall on an option play off right tackle and Hall took it to the house untouched for a 47-yard touchdown as the Herd went up 14-7.

Vacaville quickly responded, evening the score at 14-14 with a Villalobos 55-yard touchdown pass to Warfield. The big play was set up by a play-action fake from Villalobos, who turned and found Warfield streaking wide open deep down field along the left hash. Warfield caught the ball in stride, broke a tackle and scooted up the left sideline for the score.

An Elk Grove punt immediately gave Vacaville decent field position and a chance to grab the lead, but the this time Warfield put the ball on the ground and the Herd recovered their third fumble of the first half. Starting at the Bulldog 32 yard line, the Herd again made it hurt as Harris quickly connected with Tre’von Frazier for 31 yards down to the 1-yard line. Harris jammed it in from there for a 21-14 lead.

Vacaville was forced to punt on its next possession, and Elk Grove appeared to be content with a seven point halftime lead. The Herd ran the ball on their first two plays of the drive with just over two minutes remaining in the half and faced a third-and-five when Vacaville burned a timeout.

Elk Grove appeared to change its mind after that stoppage. The Herd picked up the first down with a running play before Hall ripped off a 20-yard run. Harris then faked a handoff and hit Andrew Marlan over the top for a 39-yard touchdown pass with just five seconds left in the half.

“We took a chance of getting a stop there and they burned us,” Papadopoulos said of the final moments before halftime.

The Vacaville defense stepped up big following intermission, forcing Elk Grove into four straight three-and-out drives to open the second half. After the first punt, the Bulldogs used 13 plays to get inside the Elk Grove 10-yard line only to fumble the ball away for the fourth time.

Vacaville later drained even more clock on a nine play scoring drive with Clayton Watterson plowing through the Herd for a 12-yard touchdown scamper to cut the lead to 28-21.

Elk Grove continued to struggle on offense, but Vacaville punted and turned the ball over on downs on back-to-back drives as the clock continued to burn in the fourth quarter.

The Herd chewed enough clock and played the field position game well enough to force the Bulldogs into desperation mode late in the fourth quarter. Vacaville had an opportunity starting at its own 20-yard line with 2:10 left in the game, but a failed trick play set the Bulldogs into a third-and-18 situation and Villalobos was intercepted deep down the field attempting to move the chains.

Elk Grove couldn’t pick up one more first down to ice the game away, leaving Vacaville with one last breath — although the Bulldogs needed to go 94 yards in 11 seconds. The Bulldogs picked up 20 yards on a hook and ladder play to Warfield before Villalobos was intercepted near midfield on the last play of the game.

Vacaville finished with 356 yards of total offense, led by Warfield’s 176 all-purpose yards — 124 yards receiving on five catches and 52 yards rushing on 11 carries. He had two receiving scores.

Nick Smith added 48 yards rushing on 10 carries, while Abramowicz tossed in 38 yards on four touches.

Despite starting the year 1-4 in non-conference play, Vacaville won its second straight Monticello Empire League title and its sixth league banner this decade.

“It’s been quite a ride for our guys,” Papadopoulos said. “It was a tough start to our season, but putting a (league) banner in our gym was important to us and the kids showed a lot of hard work and resiliency to get that done. For them to accomplish that, we’ll definitely celebrate that.”


Posted in Elk Grove