Kimball beats Sierra

Kimball High senior Willie Clifton (center) heads to the end zone for the first touchdown of the night against Sierra High Friday night at Don Nicholson Stadium.

The Kimball High football team took care of business on Friday, taking down the visiting Sierra Timberwolves of Manteca 56-14 in a game that the Jaguars controlled from the start.

The Jaguars (7-1, 3-1 Valley Oak League) are looking to close out the regular season with a favorable position in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, having been ranked 11th in the section going into Friday’s game and sitting at the top of the Division 4 rankings on Calpreps.com, which the section will use to decide where teams will stand at the start of playoffs.

Kimball’s only loss was to league leader Central Catholic last week, and Jaguars’ head coach LaTe’f Grim said this week’s game served as a tuneup for the team’s next biggest challenge of the regular season next week at Manteca High.

“We just tried to work on some execution,” Grim said. “Make sure all the guys got in and played tonight. The biggest thing is we wanted to come out of here injury-free and we did. We’ve got the big game next week against Manteca.”

Both Kimball and Manteca are 3-1 in the VOL going into next week, so Grim and his team wanted to make sure everything about their game is solid. The Jaguars’ 321 yards of offense including 147 yards on eight of 13 passes for senior quarterback Nicholas Coronado, with sophomore quarterback Dalton Anderson also completing a 7-yard pass, and 167 rushing yards, with Coronado covering 69 yards on four carries and senior Mason Rivera running the ball twice for 53 yards. The Jaguars also scored two touchdowns on kickoff returns.

The Kimball defense was solid as well, holding the Timberwolves to 156 yards of offense.

“Right now we’re just working on doing the little things and continuing to fix those things so we can hit full stride going into the playoffs,” Grim said, adding that the Jaguars will learn as much as they can about Manteca beforehand to prepare. “You’ve just got to watch the game film and look at the tendencies that they have and we’ve got to come out next week firing on all cylinders. You’ve got to put points up to beat that team.”

In Friday’s game against Sierra, the last home game of the regular season at Don Nicholson Stadium, the Jaguars wasted no time taking control of the game. Kimball was up 14-0 in the first quarter having run only three plays, including a 66-yard touchdown for senior Willie Clifton on a pass from Coronado on the second play after the opening kickoff.

After Sierra went three-and-out the Jaguars scored again right after they got the ball back as Rivera made a 45-yard touchdown run. Senior kickers Jordan Claire and Allyson Thompson each made a point-after kick.

Kimball’s defense grabbed two interceptions on the Timberwolves next two possessions, with senior Fabian Navarez catching one and Rivera catching the other. The Jaguars then drove 59 yards in four plays, including Coronado’s 31-yard pass to senior Eric Gordon to put Kimball up 20-0.

Coronado passed to Rivera for a 9-yard touchdown to open the second quarter. Sierra fumbled the ball on the following kickoff, and junior Travis Marieiro made the recovery and ran the ball back to the Sierra 19-yard line. A pass from Coronado to Marieiro put the Jaguars on the 1-yard line, and Coronado punched the ball in from there. Thompson made the kick to put Kimball up 33-0 just over a minute into the second quarter.

After another three-and-out series for the Timberwolves, Kimball scored on the next play after the punt on Coronado’s 67-yard run. Claire made the kick to put Kimball up 40-0.

Sierra put together a 14-play, 74-yard drive after that, scoring on a 17-yard pass from senior quarterback Victor Serna to sophomore Izayah Houston., with senior Seth Villanueva making the kick to cut Kimball’s lead to 40-7.

Kimball answered with Marieiro’s 97-yard kickoff return, and Clifton ran in the 2-point conversion to make it a 48-7 game at the half.

The game went to a running clock for the second half, and Sierra used up nearly the entire third quarter on an extended drive that got the Timberwolves within field goal range, but Villanueva’s kick went wide right. The Jaguars lost the ball on a bad snap on the next play, and it took Sierra three plays to cover 10 yards, including Serna’s 1-yard touchdown run, to score again. Villanueva’s kick made it a 48-14 game at the start of the fourth quarter.

Kimball again answered back right away, with sophomore Darius Doyle scoring on an 85-yard kickoff return. Sophomore Dalton Anderson passed to Marieiro for the 2-point conversion to make it a 56-14 game at the end.

Sierra does not have a junior varsity team, so the Jaguar JV team played Escalon, with Escalon taking the 27-8 win.

Also on Friday, Mountain House defeated Pacheco 33-28 in Los Banos, Lodi beat Tracy 42-35 in Lodi, Lincoln defeated West at West High 54-6 and Big Valley Christian beat Millennium 41-0 in Modesto.

Contact Bob Brownne at brownne@tracypress.com, or call 209-830-4227.

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