Tigers upset Panthers
No. 1 Porterville falls 20-7 in quarterfinals
Four interceptions, two fumbled kickoff returns, players running into each other and a defense unable to stop the run spelled disaster for top-seeded Porterville High School as they were upset 20-7 by eighth-seeded Wasco in Friday’s CIF Central Section Division IV quarterfinal game at Jacob Rankin Stadium.
Everything that could go wrong for the Panthers (8-3), did go wrong.
In the first quarter, Porterville recovered a Wasco (9-3) fumble on their own 5-yard line but on the ensuing drive sophomore quarterback, Hector Nava Jr. threw an interception to a Wasco defender on the Tigers’ 10-yard line.
Porterville got a fourth down stop on their own 31-yard line to start the second quarter, but once again their drive came to an end with an interception thrown by Nava Jr. The same defender to pick Nava Jr. off back-to-back, was the same rusher who ended up scoring a 17-yard touchdown run for the first score of the game. But then on the following kickoff, a Panthers player mishandled the ball and coughed it back up to the Tigers.
Porterville had a chance to score at the very end of the first half with the ball on their 3-yard line but on the quarterback keeper, Nava Jr. ran straight into junior offensive lineman Brandon Rose — essentially summing up how bad of a start Porterville was off too.
The third quarter started off with another Nava Jr. interception that led to a Wasco scoring drive. And another fumbled kickoff return — this time by Porterville junior Javier Benevidez after being hit hard by a Wasco player — was recovered by the Tigers, setting up Wasco’s final touchdown run of the game. The Panthers were able to block the final extra point attempt by the Tigers which was one of the few positives for them.
“Every time you’re late,” PHS head coach Michael Machado
began in his post game talk with the team. “Every time you don’t feel like lifting. Every time you cut a rep. Every time you don’t think it’s important. Every time you go through the motion, you allow these situations to have the potential to happen. It is what is, they beat you. Straight up, they just beat you. They beat you. Weight room was more important to them the last 10 months than it was to us. They beat you. It is what is. You got to execute. Just because you’re the one seed doesn’t mean they got to beat you by three (touchdowns) or anything.”
Nava threw his final interception at the end of the third quarter but on the final Porterville drive in the fourth quarter, Nava completed a 58-yard pass to senior Hunter Alcantar and then a 17-yard pass to senior Demario Ennis. That set up a 1-yard touchdown by Ennis. Junior Nick Ward kicked the extra point for the final points of the game.
Machado thanked his seniors for the work they put in not only this year but last year as well. He
commended them for returning and helping to build the program from a 3-7 team that lost to rival Monache High 35-9 and missed playoffs, to one of the top teams in Div. IV this season.
“It was hard to come back into the weight room after getting beat 35-9, right,” Machado said. “It wasn’t that easy but you did it. And I commend you for that. You guys are a great team when you leave here because you made that decision to commit for 10 months to try and do something special. And you did do something special. It wasn’t in the cards. No big deal. We’ll be back.”
The future remains bright for Porterville with a talented incoming senior class and several sophomores and freshmen that played on varsity this season.
Wasco High School’s defenders jump on a loose ball after tackling Porterville High School’s Isaiah Ellis Friday, Nov. 9, during the second half of a quarterfinal game against Wasco High School in the CIF Central Section Division IV playoffs at Jacob Rankin Stadium in Porterville.
Porterville High School’s Demario Ennis dives to score the team’s first touchdown Friday, Nov. 9, at the end of the second half of a quarterfinal game against Wasco High School in the CIF Central Section Division IV playoffs at Jacob Rankin Stadium in Porterville.