CHOWCHILLA — For the Madera South Stallions to have a chance to upset the Chowchilla Redskins, the Stallions had to play almost perfect football.
However, that’s what makes good teams even better is their ability to force teams to make mistakes and the third-seeded Redskins forced three fumbles and picked off a pass to roll to a 49-7 victory over the 11th-seeded Stallions on Friday at Chowchilla’s Henry Massaro Stadium in the Div. IV quarterfinals.
“This is playoff football and we didn’t play well tonight,” head coach Dane Cook said. “That’s a good team, but we didn’t play our best football. We didn’t respond well to adversity.”
The Stallions headed into Friday’s game with consecutive wins for the first time this season. In wins over Madera and Liberty, the Stallions gained more than 500 yards of total offense and scored 112 points.
However, facing one of the best defenses Chowchilla has put on the field, the Stallions were limited to just 183 yards.
Meanwhile, the Redskins scored on six straight possessions to start the running clock in the fourth quarter. Chowchilla gained 417 yards of total offense and averaged more than nine yards per carry.
“We made a lot of mistakes and they had some fluke stuff happen,” Cook said. “We got hurt on the perimeter. I thought we did pretty well inside. They attacked us on the perimeter and we were just depleted out there.”
Despite the loss, Cook was still positive about the season and looks forward to next year.
“We did some good things this year,” he said. “This is just one game out of 11. We beat Madera two years in a row and went to the quarterfinals three years in a row. We got better as the year went on. We play in a tough league. We take our lumps. I give our kids and coaches credit that we keep playing hard. We improved as the season went on. That’s attributed to the kids and the coaches. This is just one out of 11 games.”
Quarterback Jonah Johnson rushed for 46 yards and threw for 97 yards to lead the offense.
Chowchilla took the opening kickoff and drove 65 yards on seven plays to take the early lead. Justin Cantrell scored from the wildcat for a 7-0 lead with 8:40 left in the first quarter.
After a trade in possessions, the Redskins forced a Madera South fumble and turned it into points. Cantrell, from the wildcat again, went around the right end and weaved through the Stallions defense for a 35-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter.
After a Madera South punt, Chowchilla used a 33-yard run from Asa Shields for a five-yard touchdown run from Carlos Iniguez. Iniguez got the hand off and was stuffed on the right side, but then went around the left side into the end zone for a 21-0 lead with 22 seconds left in the quarter.
Cantrell picked off Johnson and Chowchilla put the game away with a fluke play. Chowchilla quarterback Cody Woolsey sent a long pass to the middle of the field. Madera South’s Maurice McClain jumped up and batted the ball away from the receiver. However, the ball found its way into the hands of Chowchilla’s Bernardo Bustillos, who ran the rest of the way for a 76-yard touchdown catch-and-run and a 28-0 lead two minutes into the second quarter.
The Redskins closed out the half with a 17-yard touchdown run from Asa Shields and a two-yard run from Reyes for a 42-0 halftime lead.
The Stallions tried to get things started to open the second half. Johnson gained 19 for a first down and McClain gained nine on a pass play. Dionicio Rodriguez picked up the first down, but a run for a loss and two incomplete passes forced a Madera South punt.
The Redskins then went on their longest drive of the game for their final score. Shields closed the eight-play, 88-yard drive with a four-yard run with 2:54 left in the third quarter for a 49-0 lead to invoke a fourth quarter running clock.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Jared Eller recovered a Chowchilla fumble at the Redskins’ 30-yard line.
Johnson started the drive with a 19-yard gain, but Madera South was called for a personal foul. Johnson followed with a 22-yard run to the four-yard line. Jaylan Neal got the hand off on an end around and found the end zone for a 49-7 lead with seven minutes left in the game to close out the scoring.
The Redskins travel to Visalia on Friday to face the second-seeded Golden West Trailblazers in the Div. IV semifinals.