Games such as the one played at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium Friday are labeled “defensive struggles,” but the defenses weren’t doing the struggling.
The high-paced offenses of Sierra and Enochs showed rust in their Week Zero showdown, though both had their shining moments.
In the end, Enochs came through for two fourth-quarter scores to upend the host Timberwolves, 19-10. It was the second straight season that Enochs defeated Sierra on its own turf behind a second-half surge.
Running back Gabriel Lindsey Turner scored the go-ahead and insurance touchdowns for Enochs: a 9-yard reception with 8:19 left and a 17-yard run with 1:34 remaining.
“Anytime we hold a team to under 20 points we expect to come out on the winning side of it,” Sierra coach Jeff Harbison said.
Running back Anthony Cota rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries and had an interception on defense to lead Sierra.
Enochs overcame five fumbles (two lost), two interceptions and a blocked field goal by Sierra lineman Will Ward by winning the possession battle. Sierra was outgained 379-240 yards, but what ultimately hurt was failing to put up points on two trips to the red zone.
Late in the second quarter, quarterback Anthony Perea (15 of 26, 130 yards) led the team to the Eagle 9 and had 1 minute, 30 seconds to get the team into the end zone. On second and 8, Perea found Zach Penirian on the flats, but Tomas Alvarez was able to jar the ball loose on the tackle and Matt Hackett was there to recover it for Enochs.
The Eagles threatened to score on their final drive of the half but was thwarted by Tyler Clark’s interception at the 8. Clark appeared to be on his way to taking it the length of the field with no time left but was stopped on the Enochs 49-yard line.
And in the third quarter, Sierra had a chance to stretch a 10-6 lead with a 21-yard field goal, but John Waggy’s chip shot sailed wide left.
“Enochs played really tough defense on us tonight, but if we get down that deep we have to score,” Harbison said.
Sierra had two chances to retake the lead in the fourth quarter after Enochs QB Tyler Munoz (13-of-18, 159 yards, TD, 2 INTs; 16 rushes, 51 yards) connected with Lindsey-Turner for the go-ahead score.
The Timberwolves went three-and-out on the following drive but were able to get the ball back thanks to cornerback Tim Brown’s head’s-up pass deflection on fourth-and-2 in Timberwolf territory. Enochs, however, ate up 4 minutes, 35 seconds off the clock.
Sierra’s comeback attempt was short-lived. Perea got the momentum going by hitting Penirian for a 14-yard gain but threw a pick to Zach Dahlen on the next play. Dahlen was due for an interception after dropping two earlier in the game.