Armijo forced four turnovers Friday night, and Sierra battled back from all but the last one as the visiting Royals escaped Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium with a 35-30 non-league win.
Armijo (4-0) of Fairfield scored on a 12-yard pass from Camarri Hayes to Andreas Garcia with 5:25 remaining in the game to jump ahead, 35-30. The Timberwolves (2-2) were driving when Jeremiah Hill forced and recovered a fumble in Royals territory with 1:37 left to preserve the strange road win.
The junior varsity game was delayed more than 90 minutes due to transportation issues for Armijo, and it seemed as if the first quarter of the varsity game would never end. First, Sierra standout running back Anthony Grady got tangled up with Royals wide receiver U-gene Jackson and Grady was ejected. Then Sierra’s Jessie Flores – who had three first-quarter tackles – was concussed and had to leave the game, and Jackson picked up his second unsportsmanlike penalty of the period and was ejected.
Those delays as well as numerous officiating conferences pushed the end of the game to after 11 p.m.
“Our guys were up to the challenge and we went toe-to-toe with them,” Timberwolves coach Jeff Abrew said. “After losing our best offensive player and best defensive player in the first quarter, I really felt our boys rose to the occasion. We were in control of that game, and then we had some self-inflicted penalties and turnovers that really cost us in the end.”
“But our boys competed well. We showed a lot of heart tonight against a big, athletic team over there, and our guys were getting after it. I was really proud of their effort but at the end of the day we want to win games and we’re not very happy so we are going to come back Monday and get ready for Modesto.”
Sierra got on the board first on a 22-yard Trevor Sutton field goal with 7:36 left in the first quarter. The Royals answered later in the quarter with an 80-yard pass from Willie Nickson (11of 19 passing, 247 yards, four touchdowns) to Jackson and in the closing seconds of the period Josh Seals pulled in a 10-yard pass from Zak Willson (11 of 23, 290 yards, three touchdowns; seven carries, 28 yards, touchdown) to give The Timberwolves 10-7 lead.
Willson scored on a 4-yard run with 3:22 left in the half only for Nickson to strike twice before halftime on a 45-yard pass to Evan Wortham and a 30-yard pass to Garcia (three receptions, 88 yards, two touchdowns) to put Armijo ahead 21-16 at halftime.
The Timberwolves scored twice in a little more than two minutes in the third period to take a 30-21 lead. Sutton (four receptions, 148 yards) broke multiple tackles shortly after catching a pass from Willson and then rambled 83 yards for a touchdown with 10:37 left in the quarter. Following an interception by Evan Greenwood (four tackles), Brock Felt plunged in from 3 yards out to spot Sierra to its nine-point lead with 8:05 showing on the clock.
Less than two minutes later Nickson threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Wortham to draw Armijo within 30-28.
Samuel Jefferson led the Timberwolves with nine tackles. Felt and Frankie Teicheira added six stops each with five for Mario Juarez and four for Tim Sarginson.
Sierra’s Tali Vaipuna made four receptions for 92 yards.
The Timberwolves travel to Modesto next Friday at 7 p.m.
Armijo – 7 14 7 7 – 35
Sierra – 10 6 14 0 – 30
S – Trevor Sutton 22 field goal, 7:36
A – U-gene Jackson 80 pass from Willie Nickson (Andres Orozco kick), 3:08
S – Josh Seals 10 pass from Zak Willson (Sutton kick), 26.1
S – Willson 4 run (kick fail), 3:22
A – Evan Wortham 45 pass from Nickson (Orozco kick), 1:52
A – Andreas Garcia 30 pass from Nickson (Orozco kick), 51.1
S – Sutton 83 pass from Willson (Sutton kick) 10:37
S – Brock Felt 3 run (Sutton kick), 8:05
A – Wortham 42 pass from Nickson (Orozco kick), 7:22
A – Garcia 12 pass from Camarri Hayes (Orozco kick), 5:25