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TWolves thump Sonora
Sierra senior Stephen Thayer breaks for big yardage Friday against Sonora. The Timberwolves beat the Wildcats 28-7. - photo by Wayne Thallander
Sierra High walked into the locker room during Friday’s Valley Oak League showdown with Sonora clutching a 14-7 lead, but that lead would expand behind an impressive effort from quarterback Adrian Valencia for a Timberwolves 28-7 win over the visiting Wildcats.

Valencia would help put Sonora away with 95 yards rushing in the second-half and a pair of touchdowns. Sierra’s defense did the rest, ceasing the success on the ground of Sonora quarterback Ryan Emerald, holding him to just 17 second half yards after a big first half.

“We changed up our stunts a little bit and pulled out a couple of different blitzes to contain (Emerald),” Sierra head coach Jeff Harbison said. “He is a tremendous athlete and we had our work cut out with him tonight.”

Sonora was not as lucky when it came to halting the opposing quarterback’s impact, surrendering all four of Sierra’s touchdowns to Valencia, who finished with 140 yards on the ground and another 131 through the air.

“I just came out and tried to help us do what we had to do,” Valencia said. “I don’t think our coaches expected me to run for that kind of yardage, but the line just opened up holes for me and I was able to get through.”

Valencia punched in the game’s first score from a yard out and then pulled Sierra to a 14-0 lead with a 3-yard score. Sonora promptly raced 70 yards and scored on an Emerald pass to Austin Davis to clip the Timberwolves’ lead to 14-7.

The Wildcats (3-2, 5-3) picked off a Valencia pass late in the second quarter, but a pair of Sonora infractions backed them into a punt. The opportunities that they had in the first-half could not be found over the final two quarters, forcing Sonora to deal with the fact that the blown opportunities early proved fatal.

“Going into halftime I felt that we should have been up, but we had a couple of penalties that cost us,” Emerald said of Sonora’s chances. “But Sierra is a good football team; they kept coming and just would not quit playing.

“I wish some of our guys didn’t, but it is what it is.”

The Wildcats’ chances were stifled for good when Valencia took a carry 41 yards to the Sonora 3-yard-line with seven minutes remaining. He would score two plays later, signaling the end of Sonora’s chances and living up Sierra’s hopes at a third straight trip to the postseason.

“I’ll tell you what, it was our defense that came out and played some discipline football,” Harbison said. “They played assignment football which you have to do against an option team and this is the result, seven points on the scoreboard.”

The Timberwolves finished with over 300 yards rushing, with Stephen Thayer rushing for 84, and Anthony Cota picking up 50 on just eight carries. Wideout Grant Widmer hauled in four passes for 79 yards, including a one-handed 68-yarder along the Sierra sideline that sent the Timberwolves’ faithful into a frenzy.

Sierra will have to stay focus on the task at hand, closing out the regular season with trips to winless Lathrop and one-win Weston Ranch. The Spartans will be first on the list when the two programs meet up Friday.