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Wildcats Advance in Playoffs

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Written by: Zeb Drivdahl

The Sonora Wildcats defeated the Summerville Bears 45-14 Friday night in a particularly feisty contest to advance in the Sac Joaquin Division 6 playoffs.

After stopping the Bears’ opening drive, the Wildcats took their first possession the length of the field for a score on a drive that featured multiple big runs from Adam Curnow, Audie Peeples, and Bryce Nicolson. Peeples completed the drive with a touchdown run, his first of two on the night. Summerville answered, however, with a big play, a 50-yard touchdown on a trick play from Bryce Leveroos. On the ensuing drive, the Wildcats found themselves facing a 4th and 1 at midfield and were stuffed by the Bears defense, turning the ball over on downs. After a series of Sonora penalties and quick runs moved the ball deeper into Sonora territory, Summerville found the end zone on a deep pass that was initially deflected but wound up in the hands of the Bears receiver to give Summerville a 14-7 lead. With time winding down in the half, the Wildcats were able to string together a gritty touchdown drive to end the half, including a key 4th down conversion by Eli Ingalls and a short run by Curnow to knot the score at 14 a side.

The second half proved to be an entirely different game as Sonora came to life and took over. Despite tough play from the Summerville defensive line, the Wildcats took the opening possession of the half 65 yards for a touchdown, with multiple hard runs by Peeples wearing down the Bears defense. Curnow would complete the drive with a 1-yard dive for the score to put the Wildcats up 21-14. On the first play of the next drive, the Sonora defense stripped Summerville running back Colton Cash, with Ryan Lail recovering the ball just past midfield for the Wildcats. A quick series of plays saw Peeples run untouched into the endzone for the touchdown, and the Wildcats never looked back. Despite keeping the game close up to this point, the Bears began to lose composure, and a sequence of defensive breakdowns and penalties, including two personal fouls on Leveroos, put the game further out of reach. The Wildcats would add a field goal from Emanual Garibay and touchdowns from Cash Byington and Declan Gardiner to complete the scoring.

The Bears end their season at 9-3. The Wildcats improved to 10-1 and will host number three seed Bradshaw Christian next week at Dunlavy Field, with the winner advancing to the section championship game. Luke Larson of Summerville won Black Oak Casino Player of the Game honors for his touchdown catch and defensive play. Audie Peeples from Sonora earned the Chicken Ranch Casino Player of the Game award for his inspired rushing performance in the third quarter.