The Sierra High Timberwolves received a wake-up call of sort in Friday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff opener against Rosemont.
In the 28-8 victory, No. 3 seeded Sierra (10-1) had trouble handling the No. 13 Wolverines early on.
“They came out firing on all cylinders,” said Timberwolves coach Jeff Harbison. “They’re a big, strong team.
“They executed really well on that first drive and our defense responded.”
Sierra didn’t surrender a single point from that moment on. “Giving up eight points is a great accomplishment for our kids,” Harbison added.
Next up for the Timberwolves is No. 6 seeded Inderkum of Sacramento at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
Rosemont (6-5) went 61 yards on its opening drive, incorporating a balanced attack to the 12-play drive. Quarterback Tyler Masterson went often to his big target – in this case, 6-foot-5, 222 pound senior tight end Anthony Fernandez – while relying on the running of Marcel McClain and DeShawn Allen.
McClain capped the drive with a 5-yard scoring run. On the two-point conversion, Masterson connected with McClain.
The Wolverines also made big stops on defense. The Timberwolves marched deep into their territory when quarterback Jake Pruitt connected with Jordan Lewis on a 46-yard pass play.
Sierra drove down to Rosemont 6 only to be denied a score. Eddie Ortiz delivered the big fourth-down stop.
The Wolverines couldn’t muster much from deep in their end zone, punting the ball away to Jordan Lewis, who fielded the ball from midfield, found daylight, and scooted past the coverage for the score. Joshua Gonzalez’s extra point kick made it 8-7.
“Jordan’s punt return sparked us and got us going,” Harbison said.
On defense, safety Guillermo Nunez came up with the first of his two interceptions. “After (the first interception) our intensity our picked up,” he said.
From there, Pruitt, who also had a 16-yard run, found Bryson Sanders and Dakota Conners on pass plays, setting up Anthony Cota’s 10-yard run.
The record-setting senior running back finished with 134 yards on 23 carries, in turn, becoming the school’s all-time single season rushing leader, surpassing Jarrod Daniel’s 1,813 yards in 13 games back in 2009.
Up 14-8, the Timberwolves scored twice in a four-minute span in the third quarter.
Justin DeHart returned the second-half kickoff to the Rosemont 38. Moments later, Pruitt, who was 10-of-15 passing for 134 yards, found Nunez on a 16-yard scoring strike.
DeHart also snuffed out a razzle-dazzle play for a big loss.
“We had seen it on film. We were well prepared for those types of play,” Harbison said.
Nunez along with Garrett DeVillanueva later broke up a double reverse, flea flicker.
Sierra closed out the scoring midway in the third on Nunez’s 4-yard run.
The Timberwolves forced four turnovers during the game. DeVillanueva had a fourth-quarter interception and Jesus Perez emerged with the ball on a second-quarter fumble.