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Sierra capitalizes on WR mistakes to make playoffs
FB--Sierra-Weston Ranch pic 1
Sierra running back Marcos Castillo holds onto the ball as Weston Ranchs Malik Vega-Tatum tries to pry it away. - photo by Photo by WAYNE THALLANDER

STOCKTON — In terms of the postseason, the Sierra High Timberwolves are wait-and-see on what’s next.
They took care of their regular season business on Friday with a hard-fought 16-9 Valley Oak League win over the Cougars to clinch an at-large berth for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
“We’ll go wherever (the selection group) sends us,” said Sierra quarterback Mark Vicente. “It won’t matter if we’re first or last seed.”
Weston Ranch (1-6 VOL, 4-6) saw its slight chances dissipate with a fumble late in the game.
“Turnovers will kill you,” Cougars coach Seth Davis said. “We had our chances.”
Sierra (3-4 VOL, 6-4) caught the first big break of the game. Punter Abraham Velasco with help from teammate Joseph Denham pinned the Cougars inside of their own 5 late in the first quarter.
A penalty by Weston Ranch in the end zone resulted in to a safety.
Early in the second, the Timberwolves returned the favor when the punter was cited for having a foot out-of-bounds markings of the end zone for a safety.
“Our defense played solid, especially in that first half,” Sierra coach Jeff Harbison said.
Ditto that for Davis, who also praised his Cougars for their defensive prowess in the first two quarters.
The Timberwolves finally got their offense on track in their second possession of the third quarter.
Vicente had a 17-yard gain to kickoff that drive. Jacob Peterson also two big carries, setting up Vicente’ 15-yard touchdown run.
Eriq Kurys’ extra point kick made it 9-2.
On their next possession, the Timberwolves opened up with a big play. Vicente found Jesse Babauta on a 40-yard pass play.
Marcos Castillo powered his way for positive chunks of yards, with Peterson finishing things off with a 4-yard scoring run.
The Cougars, playing before their homecoming crowd, came right back behind the play of quarterback Malik Vega-Tatum, who found his passing groove by connecting on six straight passes.
He also picked up big yards with his open-field running.
Vega-Tatum found James Walker all alone on his 40-yard scoring bomb midway through the fourth.
Weston Ranch had one last chance, advancing the ball to the midfield, but then committed the costly turnover.