Friday, October 7, 2022

Football Roundup (Sept. 22, 2022)

Pierce 56 – Piedmont 35

Pierce’s Rudy Tapia

A frantic first 15 minutes of the game in which both teams scored three times finally settled down midway through the second quarter and turned the Bears’ way as they went on to garner their second win of the preseason last Friday night at Gregg LeMaster Field in Arbuckle.

According to Coach Anthony Tapia, the Highlanders caught his team off guard on their opening possession scoring on a 63 yard reverse option pass, but Pierce was able to respond immediately when Rudy Tapia broke loose for a 53-yard touchdown run on the succeeding possession.

While Piedmont regained the lead with another 50-plus yard scoring play, the Bears answered by marching down the field on the ensuing possession, capped by a Manuel Lopez one-yard run.

However, it didn’t take long for the Pierce offense to get the ball back however, as the Highlanders fumbled the kickoff back to the Bears.

From there, Drew Burnum turned a quarterback keeper into a 29-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.

Burnum had his best night running the ball to date, gaining 62 yards on six carries and scoring twice.

But Piedmont wasn’t going down easily, and responded by returning the subsequent kickoff for six points of its own.

Ultimately, Pierce did gain control of the game in the second half, adding two more Lopez touchdowns to its total while limiting the Highlanders’ opportunities.

Tapia said that the Bears rushed for nearly 500 yards and were led by Lopez, who for the fourth straight game eclipsed the 100-yard mark totaling 168 yards on 25 carries in addition to scoring three touchdowns.

Backfield mate David Aguirre seems to be hitting his stride as well, finishing with 16 carries for 125 yards, as is Rudy Tapia, who rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, linebackers Luke Myers and Joey Saavedra stepped up again, with Myers recording eight tackles and two sacks, while Saavedra accounted for six tackles and a sack.
Also applying pressure on the Piedmont quarterback were Daniel Bustamante and Joel Velazquez who each had a sack to their credit.

For Coach Tapia, the non-conference match-up against an unfamiliar opponent turned out to be a valuable experience and bring out the best in his team as he explained, “It was a great win for us. They had some exceptional athletes and I’m glad we got to see that type of speed, but our guys just played tough tonight.”

After evening its record at 2-2 for the season, Pierce plays its final preseason game at home Friday night when the Paradise Bobcats (1-2) come to town.

Maxwell 26 – Los Molinos 32

Finding themselves down 26-7 at home after three quarters, the Panthers staged a furious rally in the game’s final quarter, but couldn’t quite close the gap and as a result suffered their second straight Cascade Valley setback.

Maxwell’s Dillon Dry

Although Maxwell struggled with the run for most of the first three periods, it got its first points of the game in the second quarter when Dillon Dry scored on a keeper from 22 yards out.

But that was it until Dry got the ball rolling again in the fourth period with a four-yard plunge into the end zone.

Dry had a big game for the offense, completing 13 of 24 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns in addition to running for 44 yards and scoring twice.

As he’s done consistently all season long, Rudi Gonzalez had an impressive performance, hauling in five of Dry’s passes for 146 yards, including one that went for a 71-yard touchdown.

Maxwell then put its final points of the night on the board when Dry connected with Berto Lara, who made good on a 29-yard scoring play.

Despite having one more chance as the game drew to a close, time ran out on the Panthers.

For the defense, Isaac Iniguez and Angel Iniguez both intercepted passes, while Cale Kuska recorded two sacks.

In a telephone interview, Coach Lane Davis said his team’s performance in the second half was a positive way to end the game, but there were other factors that need to be improved upon.
“We caught fire and rallied, even recovered two onside kicks, which was good,” Davis said, “But we probably should have made our adjustments a little earlier, and I take responsibility for that, but penalties were also an issue for us.”

This week the Panthers (1-3, 0-2) hope to get back on track when they head to Palo Cedro on Friday night to face winless Redding Christian. ■

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