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Cotas 4 TDs lead Sierra past Grace Davis
Sierra High defenders Jermaine Ruffin (23) and Tyler Clark (22) converge to bring down Grace Davis running back Ray Vega. - photo by Photo by WAYNE THALLANDER

Anthony Cota scored four touchdowns to help lead Sierra High past Grace Davis Friday at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.

The 6-1, 210-pound junior running back, however, was quick to acknowledge the efforts of his offensive line following the Timberwolves’ 40-14 non-league victory.

“They did a great job driving people back,” said Cota, who also had four-TD outing a few years back at the freshman level.

He also gained 210 yards on 30 carries and hauled a 28-yard pass from Jayson Manuta off a razzle-dazzle pass play in the third quarter.

Sierra (1-1) needed some time to settle down against the Spartans, who, like Oakdale, operates out of a Wing-T offense.

Jermaine Ruffin, the Timberwolves’ senior free safety, came up with a first-quarter interception, with quarterback Anthony Perea then connecting Zach Penirian on a 45-yard scoring toss. But that play was erased on a penalty.

Sierra reeled from a bad snap exchange followed by an interception that very nearly ended up as a Davis score.

The Spartans (0-2) had first-half problems mirroring that of the Timberwolves. They, too, were hurt by turnovers, in particular, fumbles, and penalties.

Sierra found a spark in Jordan Lewis, who broke loose on a 28-yard misdirection play early in the second quarter. He was stopped shy of the end zone.

Two plays later, Cota scored from a yard out.

Wiggins and Tim Brown kept the Spartans’ returner pinned down in poor field position on the ensuing kickoff. Sierra’s defense did its part, preventing Davis from advancing any further while taking advantage of some good field position.

From there, the Timberwolves followed a familiar recipe, with return man Tyler Clark advancing the punt to Spartans’ 21, Lewis putting together another nifty run, and Cota scoring his second TD on a 6-yard run.

In the second half, for the exception of a breakdown on special teams – Davis’ Markell Perkins reeled off an 82-yard kickoff return in the third quarter – Sierra took control of the game.

Much of that had to do with the play of linemen Will Ward, Jesus Alvarado, Manuel Mora, Colton Osborne, and Bret Wilson, to name a few, springing loose Cota and Perea, who picked up 22 yards on eight carries and found Lewis on an 11-yard touchdown toss late in the third.

Cota, who scored on a 20-yard run early in the second half, closed out with a 10-yard TD run midway in the fourth. That last score was set up by back-up quarterback Guillermo Nunez, who had a 60-yard pickup on the drive.

Ruffin also blocked a punt late in the third, leading to Perea making a lateral pass to Manuta, who, in turn, hooked up with Cota coming out of the backfield. A few plays later, Perea scored on a 3-yard run.

“They played us hard, but we were able to wear them out,” Sierra coach Jeff Harbison said.