It was a chilly but clear night for football at Sunnyside stadium. The Roosevelt Rough Riders played host to the McLane Highlanders in the first round of the division 4 playoffs. The winner of this contest will go on to play the number three seed Chavez Titans in Delano. Chavez is enjoying a bye week, as they wait to see which one of these two teams they will play next week.
McLane is coming into this contest with a 3-7 record. Their three wins came against a talented Farmersville team, Orange Cove, and Reedley. This could be the last game for star seniors James Brown III, Mikequan Jones, Herbert Johnson, and Garial Rojas. Rojas, who has struggled as the starting quarterback, was replaced as the starter by running back Herbert Johnson. Johnson provides more mobility which is needed for the Highlanders struggling quarterback protection. An upset tonight would mean another game for these seniors.
Roosevelt is coming in with a 5-5 record. Three of their losses were by three points or less, so this team could have easily been 8-2 right now. The Rough Riders are vicious with speed. Terrik Perry and Willie Fairman have dominated the backfield, and quarterback Elijah Martin is fast enough to burn any defense. This team is filled with talent, and is the favorite to win this ball game.
McLane received the ball to start the game, but couldn’t do anything with it, and had to punt it to Roosevelt. The Rough Riders wasted no time as they marched down the field with a good balance of running and passing plays. Roosevelt used trickery to score the first points when quarterback Elijah Martin ran a draw play, kept the ball, and ran it in for a 6 yard touchdown by reaching the pylon (7-0). McLane was unable to produce on offense again, and their quarterback took a beating. Herbert Johnson was rushed on every play called. The ball was punted back to Roosevelt and once again the Rough Riders took advantage. Roosevelt marched the ball down the field with some good running plays, and punched it in when Elijah Martin passed it to Johnny Rico up the middle for a 10 yard touchdown pass (13-0).
The second quarter was the same story. McLane struggled with the ball, and couldn’t produce any yards or points. After McLane’s third turnover of the night, Roosevelt had the ball with great starting field position. This is when Terrik Perry scored on a five yard touchdown before halftime. He sped to the corner of the end zone with ease (20-0).
The second half saw a change in quarterback for McLane. Herbert Johnson was replaced by Garial Rojas. After McLane committed their fourth turnover of the night, Roosevelt scored again. Willie Fairman scored on a four yard touchdown run. The run was set up by a huge 70 yard run by Terrik Perry (27-0). The door was closing for McLane.
The fourth quarter was the nail in the coffin for the Highlanders. Willie Fairman broke the game open with a huge 80 yard touchdown run (34-0). McLane managed to not concede to a shutout and scored a late touchdown. Garial Rojas accurately connected with Robert Lara who leaped for a 23 yard touchdown catch in the corner of the end zone (34-6).Then, Rough Riders David Holman ran it up the sideline for a 28 yard touchdown to increase the lead (41-6). McLane answered back when Herbert Johnson re-entered the game, tossed two great passes and finished off his own drive with a seven yard touchdown pass to Tomas Martinez (41-12). McLane attempted an onside kick with 10 seconds left in the game. The ball rolled to none other than Willie Fairman, and he returned the onside kick for a game ending touchdown (47-12). Roosevelt advances to play The Chavez Titans next week with a final score of 47-12. Willie Fairman finishes the game with nine carries for 136 yards and three total touchdowns.
McLane had no answer for Roosevelt’s pass rush, and struggled all the way until the fourth quarter. They committed four turnovers and switched quarterbacks twice. James Brown III was contained in the game due to the abandonment of the running game. McLane was down early in the game, which caused panic and minimalized the running plays. If McLane would have committed to more runs and short easy passes, the game may have had a different outcome.
Roosevelt will play Chavez next week. They lost to Chavez in the first week of the season, but the team is completely different from that first game. Roosevelt has the potential to win the division 4 tournament, but will face greater challenges than McLane. This first win will boost their confidence and hopefully they can keep that momentum rolling through next week. This team has speed, and will post a great challenge to whomever they face.
Round 1 Results:
Centennial vs Edison in Round 2
(12)Clovis East 27
Clovis- S. Allen: 19 car, 134 yds, 3 TD’s
Buchanan- C. Dunu: 30 car, 135 yds, 2 TD’s
(7)Clovis West 30
CW- K. Harshaw: 127 rushing yards, 2 TD’s
Tulare- R.Harris: 27 car, 230 yds, 5 TD’s
Memorial- C.Paz: 6 rec, 129 yds, 1 TD
Kingsburg- E.Brooks: 6 rec 162 yds, 1 TD
Redwood- Plays Lemoore in round 2
(8)Golden Valley 14
Fresno- Plays Hanford in round 2
North- Plays Mission Oak in round 2
South- Plays Madera in round 2
Kerman- A. Flores: 28 car, 217 yds, 3 TD’s
Roosevelt- T.Perry: 19 car, 217 yds, 1 TD
(7)Madera South 49
M South- Plays CVC in round 2
CHS- N.Portillo: 20-30, 254 yds, 5 TD’s, 2 int’s
Mendota- L. Mojarro: 4 rec, 128 yds, 2 TD’s
Sierra- M. Waters: 6 rec, 78 yds, 2 TD’s
(11)Dos Palos 6
Caruthers- E. Clark: 2 TD passes to C. Perez
Fowler- V. Jimenez: 5 rec. 111 yds, 1 TD
(5)California City 16
C.City- D.Walker: 2 TD’s
(6)Frazier Mountain 14
(3)Sierra Pacific 38
S.Pacific- Will play Avenal in round 2
Featured game of round 2: Division 3: South Rebels @ Madera Coyotes
(Scores, Stats, and Rankings courtesy of Maxpreps.com, and The Fresno Bee)
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