Already without leading rusher Kimoni Stanley, Sierra was forced to test other parts of its depth chart in a 46-13 loss to Kimball on Friday night.
Stanley was out with a sprained ankle sustained in the Timberwolves' loss at Manteca last week. On Friday, center Aydan Horn limped off with a sprained ankle, and slot/defensive back Marcelo Morales was helped off the field with an apparent leg injury in the second quarter.
With their two top rushers and the anchor of the offensive line unavailable, the Timberwolves (1-3) had to go their passing game to get the offensive moving. That became more challenging to pull off in the second half as the swirling winds got stronger at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
Ultimately, Sierra was outgunned by a potent Kimball attack that was coming off a 62-56 win over Patterson.
“Football is a tough sport, man,” Sierra coach Chris Johnson said. “People get hurt, but we had guys step up. We had a lot of sophomores out there. What we told them was, all you can do is get out and fight. Our kids played hard, they were just outmatched. That's a fast team over there with a lot of speed. What do you do?”
His Timberwolves were up for the task at the start and trailed 14-13 after the first quarter. Quarterback Ryan Borgeson (8 of 17, 81 yards, TD, INT) got them on the board with a 6-yard run.
Sierra then caught a big break on the next play from scrimmage, as Ryan Torres forced a fumble recovered by Ben Wheeler. The Timberwolves made Kimball (3-1) pay for the miscue, scoring on Zion Bell's 12-yard touchdown catch in the back of the end zone. Lorenzo Reyes' kick gave Sierra a 13-8 lead.
The rest of the game belonged to the Jaguars, who were led by running back Alonzo Jackson (25 rushes, 184 yards, three TDs) and quarterback Nicholas Coronado (14 of 19, 221 yards, three TDs, INT). Mason Rivera caught five of those passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns and had a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown negated by a penalty.
Sierra was outgained 404-179 in offensive yardage. Kimball led 22-13 at halftime and broke it open in the third quarter, highlighted by Rivera's 50-yard catch-and-run score.
The Timberwolves did not have the firepower to keep up.
“Losing a kid like Marcelo Morales hurt, he's a game breaker, too,” Johnson said. “Not making excuses about anything. Kids gotta step up and just keep swinging.”
Sierra did have some notable performances. Standout defensive end Christian Threadgill had two sacks, a batted ball at the line of scrimmage and a forced fumble that was scooped up by Lorenzo Reyes. Tyler Looney added an interception that ended Kimball's final drive of the game.
Wheeler was tasked with replacing the Sierra's all-time leading rusher for the night and did admirably, rushing 23 times for 83 yards. He was also productive defensively, adding a sack to go with the fumble recovery.
“The kid is tough,” Johnson said. “For a kid his size, he gives it everything he's got.”
The competition only gets stiffer for the Timberwolves in the finale of their pandemic-shortened season. Next Friday, April 16, they head to California Interscholastic Federation Division IV-A state champion Escalon, pending results of the next round of COVID-19 tests.
“I think a lot of people are in the same boat,” Johnson said. “There are a lot of tough circumstances and we haven't had a whole lot of time to physically prepare and coach the little things, which is starting to wear on some people.
“These kids get to play, and that's the most important thing about this year. Hopefully we get one more next week.”
Kimball 14 8 16 8 — 46
Sierra 13 0 0 0 — 13
K — Mason Rivera 36 pass from Nicholas Coronado (Rivera pass from Coronado), 9:53.
S — Ryan Borgeson 6 run (run failed), 6:14.
S — Zion Bell 12 pass from Borgeson (Lorenzo Reyes kick), 1:51.
K — Jerome Nance 80 pass from Coronado (pass failed), 1:06.
K — Alonzo Jackson 1 run (Rivera pass from Coronado), 10:58.
K — Jackson 4 run (Jackson run), 8:38.
K — Rivera 50 pass from Coronado (Jackson run), 6:29.
K — Jackson 5 run (Coronado run), 9:52.