Tigers up­set Pan­thers

No. 1 Porter­ville falls 20-7 in quar­ter­fi­nals

Porterville Recorder - - FRONT PAGE - By NAYIRAH DOSU ndosu@porter­villere­corder.com

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.

RECORDER PHOTO BY CHIEKO HARA

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.

RECORDER CHIEKO HARA PHOTO BY

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.

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