By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Sierra secures third-straight postseason appearance
Sierra running back Julius Muniz brings a defender to the ground Friday in Sierra’s 53-6 victory over Weston Ranch. - photo by Photo by WAYNE THALLANDER
WESTON RANCH — The Sierra Timberwolves had one opportunity to close out their season with a win and continue into the Sac-Joaquin Section postseason, and they didn’t forfeit the chance, jumping out to a seven-touchdown first half lead on their way to a 53-6 win Friday over Weston Ranch.

Sierra (5-2 Valley Oak League, 6-4 overall) wasted no time distancing themselves from the Cougars, scoring on five of its first six possessions, three coming from sophomore running back Anthony Cota. With a postseason berth at stake, Sierra rolled up 391 yards of total offense – in the game’s first 24 minutes.

“After such a rough start to our season, we are just happy to be in,” Sierra head coach Jeff Harbison said. “Now we are looking forward to playing in week 11. Weston Ranch has some players over there and we knew that coming in.

“We could not come in here and take them lightly.”

Weston Ranch could find no answer for the Timberwolves on defense, surrendering scores through the air, on the ground and even on special teams. Sierra was able to close the door on the Cougars’ season when Cota scored from 48 yards out on fourth-and-17 via a direct snap from punt formation.

“They came out clicking,” Weston Ranch head coach Mike Hale said. “They are definitely a different team than what I’ve seen on film. That group is right up there with the other top-notch teams in our league.

“They came like a machine tonight on offense, and we couldn’t do anything to stop it.”

Cota tallied 144 yards on 13 carries, resting the entire second half without getting a carry. Quarterback Adrian Valencia tossed for 159 first-half yards, before surrendering the helms to back-up Tony Perea. Perea controlled the second half, totaling 96 yards on just eight carries and scoring on runs of eight and 35 yards.

The Cougars did find limited success moving the ball in the second half, improving on a stagnant first-half showing. Weston Ranch (2-5, 2-8) finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, as Cameron Turner hauled in a 45-yard strike from E.J. Allen.

The single touchdown performance was Weston Ranch’s lowest offensive output since a 36-0 loss to Manteca back on Oct. 1. The Cougars had won two-of-three coming in to the contest, but will have to regroup after the third-consecutive losing season in Hale’s tenure.

“We are still in the building process, but I definitely think we took a step in the right direction as far as developing players,” Hale said. “As far as character guys, we are trying to turn the corner in that department with our guys.

“We are laying our foundation and I’m already excited about next year.”

The Timberwolves will now wait to find out their first-round opponent, with brackets being released tonight. The Timberwolves will undoubtedly be on the road for their first-round action, but landing a good seed could definitely improve Sierra’s chances of advancing.

“We had a good week of practice; we all wanted to win and everybody wanted to make sure we got in there,” Cota said of the postseason berth. “We all were excited about going to playoffs, but we also knew that this was a game we had to win.

“Now, we come out with a hard week of practice, and I’m going in expecting to win.”