Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera South placekicker Anthony Vaca celebrates his game-winning extra point in Thursday’s Div. V playoff victory over Mission Oak.
TULARE — With two steps back and two steps to his right, Madera South kicker Anthony Vaca made sure to repeat what he’s done all season after a Madera South touchdown.
Vaca calmly put his right foot into the ball and lifted it between the uprights to send the 10th seeded Stallions to the Div. V Central Section quarterfinals with a 35-34 overtime victory over No. 7 Mission Oak-Tulare at Bob Mathias Stadium on Thursday.
“I tried to avoid all the people yelling and I’m going to do this for my team and put it in,” Vaca said. “It was nice to get that in. Everyone was jumping on me and it felt good.”
The Stallions got the game-tying touchdown from Marvin Brewer with four minutes left in the game and forced the Hawks into a 37-yard field goal, which ended up wide left.
After Mission Oak scored the first touchdown in the overtime period, it took Madera South quarterback Isaiah Tyler just two plays to answer Mission Oak’s touchdown and tie the game at 34. Vaca’s extra point gave the Stallions a quarterfinal date Friday in Oakhurst against No. 2 Yosemite, who defeated Firebaugh 54-14 on Friday.
“It’s everything for the kids,” head coach Matt Johnson said. “It’s a life experience for the kids at Madera South where they kept believing and fighting. We had to bring it all tonight. There were moments where they were cracking, but they just rallied back.”
Tyler led the Stallions’ offense with 164 yards rushing on the ground with three touchdowns. He also threw for 116 yards and another touchdown to Jaden Cisneros.
“We hadn’t won a road game all year,” Tyler said. “We faced adversity. We know what we’re capable of and we’re not done, yet.”
“Kudos to Mission Oak for battling,” Johnson said. “I thought in the beginning, I felt we brought our game tonight. They kept fighting. I blew some calls on defense to let them back in the game. When we play teams that are like us, in a divisional-type game, there are good things that can happen. That doesn’t mean we’re going to run the table, but it kind of gives us a different vibe. When we match-up with that kind of set-up, good things can happen.”
Johnson was especially proud of his offense, which gained more than 350 yards and had just one turnover.
“Having Anthony Gallegos back was great,” Johnson said. “Having him back this week really galvanized our offense to start clicking again. Having my sidekick around was encouraging for me. Our offense had a better showing. They kept us around when we were failing on defense.”
After both teams faced a three-and-out to open the game, Madera South got on the board first. Tyler found a wide-open Vaca in the secondary for a 33-yard gain to the Hawks’ 22-yard line.
Tyler scored two plays later from 17 yards out through the middle of the Mission Oak defense. Vaca’s extra point opened a 7-0 lead.
The Stallions’ defense of Justin Webb and Jesse Ford forced a Mission Oak punt.
Two Madera South penalties halted the next drive. Vaca was forced to punt, but Mission Oak muffed it. Adrian Figueroa recovered the ball at the Madera South 45.
Tyler gained 15 yards on the first play of the drive, but the Stallions were forced to punt.
Tackles by Bryce Walters and Anthony Arce forced another Mission Oak punt.
The Stallions faced a fourth-and-seven, but Mission Oak was called for having 12 players on the field. On fourth-and-two, Tyler broke loose for a 29-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead with 9:23 left in the half.
Mission Oak answered with a six-play, 66-yard drive to cut the lead in half. After a Madera South three-and-out, Mission Oak drove down the field with a 13-play, 83-yard drive.
The key play in the drive was an 11-yard pass play on third-and-10. Mission Oak gained 18 yards on a fake punt run and 15 more yards were added by a penalty.
Seven plays later, Mission Oak scored from five-yards out to tie the game at 14 with 1:19 left.
Madera South came right back. Tyler opened the drive with a 40-yard run to the Mission Oak 25-yard line.
Tyler then found Cisneros on a post pattern in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown with 51 seconds left in the half.
Mission Oak scored on a 77-yard touchdowns catch-and-run to tie the score at 21 with 6:36 left in the third quarter.
After a Madera South three-and-out, Mission Oak went on an eight-play, 56-yard drive to take the lead. The key play was a three-yard gain on fourth-and one. Mission Oak scored on a 32-yard catch-and-run for a 28-21 lead with 1:36 left in the third.
Madera South drove to the Mission Oak goal line on the next drive. After Tyler had to leave the game briefly, Christian Marroquin came in and the offense didn’t miss a step. Tayte Grantham gained 14 on third-and-four. Then, Marroquin ran the ball three straight times for 18 yards to the one-yard line. However, he fumbled on fourth down and the Hawks took over.
After an initial first down, Madera South got tackles from Webb and Ford to force a punt.
Madera South took over at the Hawks’ 39-yard line. Tyler found Brewer for an 11-yard pass completion to open the drive. Tyler found Brewer, again, for 12 yards on third-and-one.
Brewer then bulled his way, carrying three Mission Oak players for an 18-yard gain to the three-yard line. Brewer got his number called again and scored from three-yards out. Vaca’s extra point tied the game with 3:38 left in the game.
“I knew I couldn’t give up,” Brewer said. “My brothers were counting on me. I lost the Edison game with a fumble. I knew I owed them something so I gave it my all. I wanted to get the touchdown for us. I lowered my pads and did what I had to do.”
Mission Oak began a potential game-winning drive at its 32-yard line and immediately got a 15-yard penalty on the Stallions to the Madera South 37-yard line.
On third-and-four, Mission Oak completed a pass for four yards. Then, the Madera South defense took hold.
After another first down, Elgar Garcia stuffed the Mission Oak quarterback for a gain of two. Marroquin stuffed Mission Oak for a loss of one and Walters tackled Mission Oak for another loss of one with three seconds left. The Mission Oak field goal attempt went wide left.
In the overtime, the Hawks got the first possession and immediately lost five yards with a false start. Mission Oak completed a pass for 14-yards and gained five on fourth-and-one.
On third-and-10 from the 11, Mission Oak started to scramble and found his receiver in the end zone for the touchdown to give the Hawks a 34-28 lead. However, the ensuing extra point was chunked and fell short.
Tyler opened the ensuing Stallions’ drive with a 14-yard gain to the 11. He scored off the left side on the next play for the game-tying touchdown.
“I just wanted to put it away,” Tyler said. “We knew they couldn’t stop us from the 25-yard line. We finally took advantage of it.”
Vaca nailed the extra point and the Stallions advanced.