Liberty Hawks pick way to semifinals
The Liberty Hawks football team has made a tradition out of playing football on Thanksgiving morning in preparation for a semifinal playoff game.
After a 41-21 victory over No. 8 seed Kerman in the Div. IV quarterfinals, the Hawks will host No. 4 seed Golden West-Visalia after the Hawks practice on Thanksgiving morning for the seventh year in a row.
Liberty senior cornerback Joseph Castenada picked off Kerman quarterback Evan Sagariballa on the Lions’ seventh play of the game and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown to get the Hawks rolling.
However, three big Kerman plays helped keep the Lions in the game, though the Hawks scored on four straight possessions to turn a 14-14 game into a 34-14 lead in the third quarter.
Liberty answered Kerman’s big plays with Castaneda’s 56-yard interception return for a touchdown and Chad Wallace’s 50-yard touchdown pass reception from Zach Richey.
Richie Brandt led the Hawks with 75 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns. Wade Wallace moved into ninth place all-time with 52 yards rushing for 1,083 yards this season. Eleven different Liberty ball carriers gained 219 yards and averaged 4.3 yards per rush.
Coyotes crush Rebels in Div. III quarterfinals
The Madera Coyotes only needed one half to dominate their Div III quarterfinal opponents last week on the way to a 56-28 victory over sixth-seeded South-Bakersfield.
Actually, the boys in blue only needed the first quarter.
With 35 points in the opening quarter and 21 more in the second, third-seeded Madera looked absolutely unstoppable as quarterback Nathaniel Nelson completed five passes for five touchdowns, Kristopher Bueno caught three of them for 189 yards, and running back Jesus Jimenez blew up nine runs for 111 yards and two scores — all in the first half.
Running back Jesus “Chuy” Jimenez opened the game with a statement run after Madera received the kickoff.
On the second play of the game, Jimenez dashed to the right side of the field, broke through a hole set up by his offensive linemen, knocked aside a tackler, and exploded all the way for a 62-yard touchdown that set Memorial Stadium’s audience on fire with a 7-0 lead.