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A Nail Biter To End Sonora’s Football Season

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Written by: Zeb Drivdahl

The Sonora Wildcats 2021 season came to an end Friday night with a tough 35-31 loss to the Hilmar Yellowjackets in the second round of the CIF Sac Joaquin Division V playoffs.

The first half was all Wildcats as Sonora forced a quick three and out on the opening drive, followed by a touchdown on their first possession, a 1-yard QB sneak by Bradley Curnow.  Both teams traded stalled drives, but the Yellowjackets were able to capitalize on a blocked punt returned for a touchdown, giving them a brief 7-6 lead.  Sonora answered quickly with a drive that included multiple completions to Chance Pimentel and finished on a 4-yard dive for the touchdown by Cooper Moberg.  The Hilmar offense continued to stall, and despite a Yellowjacket interception late in the 2nd quarter, the Wildcats got the ball back with 1:16 remaining in the half.  A brilliant two-minute offense was capped with an 8 yard TD run from Erin Greenway to put the Wildcats up 18-7 at the half.

Sonora received the second-half kickoff and fumbled on their first play from scrimmage, recovered by the Yellowjackets.  A quick three-play drive ensued, finished on a TD run by Hilmar quarterback Jason Pimentel.  The Wildcats went three and out on their next possession and Hilmar was quick to capitalize, finding the endzone on a 60-yard touchdown pass.  Sonora retook the lead on their next drive which included a 50-yard pass to Jack Teem and was punctuated by another Curnow keeper for a touchdown.  The Yellowjackets answered with a touchdown of their own to retake the lead 28-25.  Sonora was forced to punt on their next possession, but the Wildcats defense held and forced a Hilmar punt.  On the punt, an inadvertent touch by Sonora led to a live ball which the Yellowjackets returned for the touchdown to take a 35-25 lead with 5:17 remaining in the game.  The Wildcats comeback attempt would fall short, only managing 6 more points on a keeper from Curnow as time expired.

Sonora finishes their season as Mother Lode League champions with a record of 6-4 and 4-0 in league play.  Roger Alderman earned Chicken Ranch Casino Player of the Game honors for his play on the offensive and defensive line.  Tyler Sells delivered the Foust Heating and Air Hot Hit of the game on a punishing tackle for loss in the third quarter.