Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South quarterback Isaiah Tyler breaks into the open field during a long first quarter touchdown run during Friday’s Div. V quarterfinal playoff loss to Yosemite. Tyler rushed for 140 yards to lead the Stallions.
OAKHURST — The Yosemite-Oakhurst Badgers football team scored touchdowns on its first two possessions of the second half and pitched a second half shutout for a 35-21 playoff victory over the Madera South Stallions.
The 10th-seeded Stallions scored touchdowns on their first three possession of the game, but couldn’t get anything going the rest of the way Friday night in the Div. V quarterfinals. In their final five drives, they gained 114 yards while they gained 218 yards on their first three drives.
Meanwhile, the second-seeded Badgers scored on four straight possessions in the second quarter into the second half to get the victory.
“We couldn’t get them off the field in the first half,” Madera South head coach Matt Johnson said. “We were snakebit on some of those long situations. They found a way to keep getting first downs. We had some moments, but we couldn’t come up with the big play when we needed it.”
The Badgers were seven-of-10 on third downs and accumulated 432 yards of total offense.
While the Stallions’ defense was focusing on tailback Nicholas Harper, they neglected to see the quickness of Holden Eames, who scored three touchdowns and gained 107 yards on the ground with just six carries.
The Stallions’ defense contained Harper, pretty much, holding him to 72 yards on 16 carries. However, it was Eames and the playmaking ability of quarterback Jadyn Carter that killed Madera South. Carter was 13-of-18 passing for 181 yards and a touchdown. He had four completions of 20 yards or longer and his escapibility led to numerous big plays for the Badgers.
Meanwhile, the Stallions tried to stay in the game with their rushing attack. Quarterback Isaiah Tyler and running back Tayte Grantham both rushed for more than 100 yards. Tyler gained 140 yards and scored the first touchdown of the game. Grantham gained 115 yards, including a 54-yard run to set up the Stallions’ second touchdown. Madera South gained more than 300 yards on the ground, but threw the ball for just 13 yards.
“I’m so proud of how the guys played,” Johnson said. “We clearly see where we belong. Yosemite is a good football team. I think we played them toe-to-toe and they made a few more plays than us tonight. With this kind of experience, when we get into a situation, these guys will believe more and more. This will serve as a building block for next season.”
Like their previous week victory over Mission Oak-Tulare, the Stallions came out scoring in the first quarter. In fact, it took just three plays for Tyler to find the end zone.
He opened the game with a 21-yard quarterback keeper. After he lost two yards, he kept an option, again, for a 43-yard gain through the teeth of the Yosemite defense for a touchdown just a minute into the game.
Yosemite pinned itself at the two-yard line after muffing the ensuing kickoff. On third-and-one, Carter eluded pressure and found Eames for a seven-yard gain. On third-and-11, Carter, again, escaped trouble and lofted the ball down the field to Matthew Reyes for a 32-yard gain and another first down.
After a roughing the passer penalty, Eames found the end zone. He went to the left on an end-around. He reversed his field and went down the right sideline for a 29-yard touchdown run to tie the game with 5:35 left in the first quarter.
Madera South came right back with a 54-yard gain by Grantham. Grantham took the hand-off around the right side and beat most of the Badgers’ defense before getting taken down at the 16-yard line.
Two plays later, Cristian Marroquin, on an inside run, scored from 14 yards out for a 14-7 lead with 3:59 left in the first quarter.
The Stallions’ defense held when Devon Ybarra tackled Matthew Wellborn for an eight-yard pass reception on third-and-13.
The Stallions then went on and eight-play, 80 yard drive for another touchdown.
Grantham gained 10 to open the drive. Tyler followed with 12 yards and Grantham gained another 10. Marvin Brewer and Marroquin each rushed for seven yards and a first down.
Marroquin added six more yards and Grantham took the ball to the five with 10-yard gain. Grantham got the carry on the next play and was stacked up at the two. However, his teammates pushed him into the end zone for the touchdown 42 seconds into the second quarter for a 21-7 lead.
Carter threw a 10-yard pass completion to Wellborn on fourth-and-four to keep Yosemite’s drive going. On third-and-13, Carter found Stephen Baker for 29 yards and a first down to the 12-yard line.
Two plays later, out of the wildcat formation, Eames ran though the middle of the Stallions’ defense for a 12-yard touchdown.
Tyler completed a 13-yard pass to Jesse Ford on third-and-six to keep the next drive alive.
Tyler gained six on third-and-nine and the Stallions went for it on fourth-and-three. Unfortunately, Brewer gained a yard and the Stallions turned the ball over on downs.
On third-and-five, Carter hit Wellborn for a 10-yard gain and then hit Baker for 17 more.
On first and goal, Carter scrambled and then ran into the end zone for a five-yard touchdown to tie the score at 21 with five seconds left in the half.
The Badgers opened the second half with a 10-play, 79-yard drive for the go-ahead touchdown. The key plays were a 21-yards pass to Eames on third-and-nine and a nine-yard pass completion on third-and-eight.
Carter found Wellborn in the end zone for 29-yard pass completion for a 28-21 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
After the Stallions went three-and-out, Yosemite needed just three plays to find the end zone, again.
Harper gained 17 yards to the 39-yard line and Eames went around the right side with blockers in front and outran the Madera South defense for a 61-yard touchdown run for a 14-point lead with three minutes left in the third.
Madera South tried to gain momentum, but faced a first-and-22 after a penalty. However, Yosemite was hit with back-to-back personal foul penalties and the Stallions had the ball at the Badgers’ 41-yard line.
Grantham kept the drive alive with a three-yard run on fourth-and-two. However, on third-and-12, a bad snap resulted in a Badgers’ fumble recovery.
After allowing an initial first down, the Madera South defense stiffened. Isaac Morales-Garcia stuffed Yosemite for no gain. Bryce Walter held the Badgers to no gain on a pass completion and Carter threw incomplete on third-and-10.
After a punt, the Stallions got a 28-yard gain by Tyler to start the drive. Grantham gained five more on third-and-two.
On the next play, Tyler gained 12 yards, but was stripped of the ball. Yosemite recovered and ran out the clock to end the Stallions season.