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Sonora Wildcats Fall To Bradshaw Christian In Close Game

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Written by: Nick Stuart

The Sonora Wildcats ended their season with a thrilling, albeit heartbreaking, one-point loss to Bradshaw Christian of Sacramento. A game that was comprised of lead changes, big plays, and defensive stands saw the Sonora Wildcats ultimately fall 21-22 to Bradshaw Christian.

Sonora lost the coin toss and received the ball on the opening drive, but they were unable to create much success on offense on the opening drive. The Wildcats defense then took the field and stopped the Bradshaw offense. This trend continued in a defensive first quarter that was a battle for field position, leaving both teams scoreless.

Bradshaw started the second quarter with a trend of bold play calls that had them lining up in a tight goal-line-style formation from nearly every position on the field. With 9:16 left in the second quarter, the Pride scored the first points of the game with an 8-yard run from their unique offensive formation. The Wildcats answered two minutes later when Bryce Nicholson broke loose on a 49-yard run to the end zone. The Pride began to move the ball consistently on offense, and after a long drive, they scored again with a rare passing play into the end zone, giving Bradshaw a 7-point lead at the end of the first half.

The Wildcats came out pumped up in the second half. The Wildcats were able to finally counter the tight formation of the Pride and turn over the ball on downs near midfield. The Wildcats moved the ball down the field and scored on a half-back pass from Cash Byington to Eli Ingalls, who was wide open in the end zone on a blown coverage for the extra point from Emanual Garibay. Garibay tied the game 14-14 with a little over 5 minutes in the third. Bradshaw Christian fumbled the ball on the kick return, and Sonora was able to take the lead for the first time on a 1-yard run from Audie Peeples into the end zone.

In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats found themselves one yard away from scoring again and taking a two-score lead, but a mishandled pitch was recovered by Bradshaw Christian, who returned the ball to their twenty-yard line. With time running out, the Pride moved the ball down the field, using all of their time outs and capitalizing on a face mask penalty to bring them within scoring range with only 14 seconds of play time left. The Pride ran a stretch play, and with their quarterback under pressure, they threw the ball to their tight end, who managed to jump up and catch the ball and bring the game within a single point. Bradshaw Christian elected to go for a two-point conversion to win the game instead of risking an overtime game on an extra point. Their conversion run managed to gain them the two yards needed for the two points and give them a 1-point lead with only 2 seconds left on the clock.

The Chicken Ranch Casino player of the game was awarded to the entire 2023 Wildcats team for an outstanding season that kept the entire fan base on the edge of their seats for the whole season.