Riverbank High’s Angelo Novi Stadium was a busy place this past Saturday, despite worries of rain coming southward all day, with two of the local youth football teams advancing in the playoff tournaments.
First up, the Futures team, the youngest players, received a forfeit from the Salida Steeler Jags, to advance to the next round, because the visitors couldn’t field enough players.
In the night cap game, the Jr. Bruin varsity team, the 13- and 14-year-olds, took a nail-biting win from the Modesto Jets, and also advance to the second round playoffs next Saturday. The team they’ll play in the Central Valley Gridiron Youth Football League contest was to be determined by a first round playoff between the sixth and seventh seed teams, but the result hadn’t been posted as of press time for The News.
The final three minutes of the varsity game on Saturday were tough for onlookers on both sides of the stadium.
With about four minutes left on the scoreboard, the Jr. Bruins mounted a sustained drive that ended in a 10-yard ramble by quarterback John Wallace, when he rolled around the left end of his line, on the far side of the field, so it was hard for home fans to see if he was progressing.
The play ended with his dive over the goal line. The point after attempt was unsuccessful, leaving the scoreboard showing 18-15 in favor of Riverbank.
In the final three minutes, the Jets had several drives against the home team defeated by strong defensive play. That was combined with serious penalty calls which kept the Jets in a disadvantageous position on the field.
The last sequence was the defensive series that clinched the win for Riverbank.
An estimated 50-plus yard pass and run play on the part of the Jets seemingly put them close to the end zone, but an offensive pass interference call brought the ball back to the original line of scrimmage. An unsportsmanlike penalty against the Jets then moved the ball another 15 yards further back, almost to their own goal line.
The defense held, and, with a game-saving gang tackle, the Jr. Bruins regained possession of the ball, with about 20 seconds remaining on the clock, stopping the advance of the Jets.
Jr. Bruin defenders Jesse Pulido, Jerome Williams and Jose Valencia pulled down the Jets quarterback on his final attempt to gain a first down.
Riverbank didn’t even have to take up their offensive formation, as the clock wound down and time expired, clinching the win.
The other Jr. Bruin teams weren’t as successful with their games.
After the Futures received their forfeit, the Starts, 7- and 8-year-olds took a loss against the Steeler Jags and the Rookies, 9- and 10-year-olds, were shut out by their Salida counterparts.
The Jr. Bruin JV team, 11- and 12-year-olds, also lost in shutout fashion to the Stockton Jets, with all three teams being knocked out of playoff action.