It’s typical that a football team that turns the ball over five times in a game loses. But, Saturday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI championship game wasn’t a typical football contest.
First, it was played in 38-degree weather, conditions more suited to football in the Midwest, not in California.
Despite the chill in the air, Bradshaw Christian’s four lost fumbles and intercepted pass were offset by a missed field goal and three unsuccessful two-point conversions by Hilmar. Plus, the Yellowjacket’s talented quarterback Daniel Texeira was picked off three times by Pride defenders, including a key pick by Trevounte Bobo in the fourth quarter.
It all resulted in the Pride winning, 28-18, at Lincoln High School’s Spanos Stadium in Stockton, the fifth small school Section championship in Bradshaw Christian’s nine seasons of varsity football.
All smiles following the Pride’s 11th win of the year was head coach Drew Rickert, this despite sporting a black eye from taking an elbow while playing scout team quarterback on Friday and shirking warm clothing, wearing shorts all night despite the nip in the air.
“I don’t wear pants coaching,” he grinned. “Besides that I have a couple sweatshirts on so I’m fine.”
It helps that his Pride team won because, as he’ll tell you, championships are warming to the heart. Rickert should know. He’s now 5-1 in Section championship games, winning Division VI banners in 2009, 2011 and 2013 and a Division VII title in 2008.
This time, the championship means a little more, Rickert said.
“Hilmar is an excellent program,” he said. “They’ve won seven Section titles in the bigger divisions. This (championship) came against an accomplished opponent.”
The Pride fans and parents, though, had quite a few moments of tenseness to overcome on Saturday before they could celebrate.
“We didn’t do a good job taking care of the ball,” Rickert said. “That’s pretty weird because we did a good job of handling it this year. It showed our resilience because the kids just kept on battling. Sometimes when that happens you drop your head, but our kids didn’t. That was impressive.”
(Volleyball Flash: Pleasant Grove loses NorCal Regional semi-final game to Monte Vista, Saturday,
(Volleyball Flash: Pleasant Grove loses NorCal Regional semi-final game to Monte Vista, Saturday,
19-25, 25-18, 23-25, 30-28, 15-12)
After receiving the opening kickoff the Pride fumbled the ball on the first play from scrimmage and the Yellowjackets recovered on the Bradshaw 12-yard line.
Bradshaw’s defense toughened and forced Hilmar into attempting a 24-yard field goal. Marcus Mouro’s kick was pushed left of the uprights.
The Pride got the ball at the 20 and immediately went to work. Mateo Bromstead ran for 28 yards. Two plays later Jared Knipe broke through the line and sprinted 41 yards. After Dani Lawson’s extra point kick, the Pride was on the scoreboard, 7-0 with 9:06 left in the opening quarter.
On Hilmar’s third play of the ensuing drive Knipe intercepted Texeira at the Jackets’ 45. Two plays later, Bromstead followed his blockers for a 35-yard run to the Hilmar one-yard line.
Bradshaw quarterback Kyle Wilburn fumbled the snap from center and Hilmar’s Elias DeLeon recovered the ball at the eight.
After forcing the Yellowjackets to punt, the Pride took over at their 29. After a short gain by Garrett Robbins, Wilburn hit Knipe for a 17-yard pass completion, but Knipe lost the football as he was going down. The referees ruled it a fumble despite Rickert’s objections.
Six plays later Texeira scored from nine yards out on a quarterback keeper to narrow the margin to 7-6.
Bradshaw caught a bit of a break on the extra point. Hilmar lined up in what is sometimes called the “bloody bucket” formation – a center over the ball, the quarterback and one other player in a shotgun set, a single player on the line to the right, but the rest of the team to the left with one player behind six men on the line of scrimmage.
When the center underhanded the ball to the back at the left of the formation, whistles blew and flags flew for illegal procedure. The referee ruled the center lifted the ball then flung it to his teammate.
Hilmar then lined for a point after touchdown kick. This time Mouro missed wide right and Bradshaw led, 7-6.
The Pride came right back with one of its now-patented offensive drives, running primarily out of its tight double-wing formation. Robbins snuck through a small hole for a 30-yard TD and with Lawson’s extra point, Bradshaw led 14-6 with 8:54 left in the second quarter.
But, Hilmar pulled to within two points with an 11-play, 79-yard drive of its own.
Texeira ran the ball into the end zone on a five-yard run. Once again, the Yellowjackets tried the “bloody bucket” play for two points and – once again – the refs flagged them for an illegal snap.
The Hilmar coaches and a crowd that filled the east stands of Spanos Stadium hollered their displeasure at the call. After the five yard step-off, Texeira’s throw into the end zone flew out of the back of the end zone.
The first half ended with Bradshaw holding a 14-12 lead.
Rickert said they had to make a couple changes defensively to slow down the Yellowjackets passing attack, which had 10 completions for 92 yards in the first two quarters.
“We knew their game plan going in and so what we did was cover (the outside receivers) with our outside linebackers a little more and roll the safety over them,” Rickert said.
It worked pretty well because Texeira finished 15-of-29 for 161 yards and three interceptions.
But, Hilmar stormed out of the halftime locker room, took the second half kickoff and moved right downfield. Running back Josh Lee Jennings scored on a 33-yard run to give the Yellowjackets an 18-14 lead.
For the extra point, Hilmar this time lined up in a power formation and tried to run it in for two points, but Jennings was stopped short of the goal line.
Bradshaw patiently worked the ball downfield and got the lead back, this time for good. Perhaps the biggest play of the game came on this 12-play, 64-yard drive.
With the ball on the Hilmar 47, Rickert decided to go for it on a fourth-and-five. Wilburn’s pass intended for Xavier Christensen fell incomplete but pass interference was called on the Yellowjackets and the Pride drive continued.
“We don’t throw the ball much but when we do we can usually hit the guy,” Rickert said. “He was open the ball was there, but he was interfered with.”
Seven plays later on a second-and-goal at the Hilmar four, Wilburn found tight end Philip White on a TD pass. After Lawson’s extra point kick, Bradshaw had the lead again, 21-18.
As the fourth quarter began, the Pride looked to be on their way to sealing the game when Wilburn once again lost the ball, recovered by Noah Batista at the Yellowjackets’ 22 yard line.
The teams exchanged punts and then Hilmar once again began moving the ball. An impressive Texeira-to-Alex Chavez 24-yard pass play was followed by a Jennings 13-yard run to the Pride 38. But, a holding call brought the ball back into Yellowjackets’ territory. After a pair of incomplete passes and a false start, Texeira seemed to have Chavez wide open in the middle of the field, but Bobo leaped in front with an interception and returned the ball to the Hilmar 35.
“I just read the quarterback’s eyes,” Bobo said. “I just saw the receiver and broke on it. I trusted the linemen did their jobs. I just made a play for my team when they needed it the most.”
Six plays later Bromstead blasted in from the two yard line and after Lawson’s kick, the Pride led 28-18 with 2:54 left in the game.
Quinton Brown came up with a pick at his own two yard line a minute-and-a-half later and the celebration was underway in the Bradshaw bleachers as the Pride ran the clock out.
“I was in the wrong place on that play,” Bobo admitted. “I don’t know, we got the win for the team. I just love these guys.”
For Bobo, the win assured him of a Section championship in his senior year after playing the past three seasons at Cosumnes Oaks.
“I am so glad I came over to Bradshaw for my senior year,” he said. “It’s an experience I can never give back. I love it here. It’s an experience I can share with my kids when I’m older.”
Bromstead led all rushers with 97 yards on 15 carries. Knipe had nine carries for 71 yards. Robbins gained 64 yards on 10 carries and Wes Lopez had 53 yards on eight totes.
Now, Bradshaw, assured of a Northern California regional playoff game under CIF’s new state championship format, must wait until Dec. 6 to see who they may play.
“It could be a school of 3,000 we play,” Rickert said. “The enrollment of your school now doesn’t matter. They’ll seed 26 of us and who knows who we’ll play or where.”
Box Score (Final)
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 Score
Bradshaw Christian... 7 7 7 7 - 28 Record: (11-2,6-0)
Hilmar .............. 0 12 6 0 - 18 Record: (9-4,4-1)
Scoring Summary: BC - HL
9:06 BC - Jared Knipe 41 yd run (Dani Lawson kick)
4 plays, 80 yards, TOP 1:20 7 - 0
10:28 HL - Daniel Texeira 9 yd run (Marcus Mouro kick failed)
6 plays, 47 yards, TOP 2:27 7 - 6
8:54 BC - Gerrett Robbins 30 yd run (Lawson kick)
4 plays, 68 yards, TOP 1:34 14 - 6
5:16 HL - Daniel Texeira 5 yd run (Texeira pass failed)
11 plays, 79 yards, TOP 3:38 14 - 12
9:51 HL - Josh Lee Jennings 33 yd run (Jennings rush failed)
6 plays, 65 yards, TOP 2:09 14 - 18
4:38 BC - Phillip White 4 yd pass from Kyle Wilburn (Lawson kick)
12 plays, 64 yards, TOP 5:13 21 - 18
2:53 BC - Mateo Bromstead 2 yd run (Lawson kick)
5 plays, 35 yards, TOP 2:35 28 - 18
FIRST DOWNS................... 16 22
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............ 47-290 37-184
PASSING YDS (NET)............. 91 161
Passes Att-Comp-Int........... 8-4-1 29-15-3
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS..... 55-381 66-345
Fumble Returns-Yards.......... 0-0 1-0
Punt Returns-Yards............ 1-5 0-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards......... 4-80 3-33
Interception Returns-Yards.... 3-29 1-2
Punts (Number-Avg)............ 1-31.0 4-46.3
Fumbles-Lost.................. 4-4 0-0
Penalties-Yards............... 4-39 12-104
Possession Time............... 24:48 23:12
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 2-9 0-0
RUSHING: Bradshaw Christian-Mateo Bromstead 15-97; Jared Knipe 9-71;
Gerrett Robbins 10-64; Wes Lopez 8-53; Trevounte Bobo 1-9; Kyle Wilburn 4-minus-4. Hilmar-Josh Lee Jennings 13-84; Daniel Texeira 14-43; Cody Rentfro 4-23; Noah Batista 3-13; Nick Olivera 2-13; Chase Kindberg 1-8.
PASSING: Bradshaw Christian-Kyle Wilburn 4-8-1-91. Hilmar-Daniel Texeira
RECEIVING: Bradshaw Christian-Trevounte Bobo 1-44; Michael Sinclair 1-26;
Jared Knipe 1-17; Phillip White 1-4. Hilmar-Alex Chavez 7-82; Cody Rentfro 3-38; Nick Olivera 3-29; Klay Farris 1-12; Josh Lee Jennings 1-0.
INTERCEPTIONS: Bradshaw Christian-Trevounte Bobo 2-27; Jared Knipe 1-2.
Hilmar-Noah Batista 1-2.
Stadium: Spanos Stadium Attendance: 4000
Kickoff time: 06:00 End of Game: 08:35
Temperature: 52 Wind: 0 Weather: clear