Hil­mar’s 2-headed mon­ster paves way for sec­tion ti­tle

The Modesto Bee (Sunday) - - Sports - BY SHAWN JANSEN [email protected]­ced­sun-star.com

Isaac Sharp and Justin Rent­fro re­fer to them­selves as a two-headed mon­ster.

The Hil­mar High back­field duo took turns ter­ror­iz­ing the Ripon Chris­tian de­fense on Fri­day night as the No. 2 seeded Yel­low­jack­ets (11-2) routed the Knights 57-14 to win their sec­ond con­sec­u­tive Sac-Joaquin Sec­tion Di­vi­sion VI cham­pi­onship at Joe De­bely Sta­dium at Tur­lock High.

All Sharp and Rent­fro did was com­bine for seven touch­downs as the Yel­low­jack­ets picked up their eighth sec­tion cham­pi­onship in school his­tory.

“We’re deadly,” Sharp said. “It’s so awe­some. From the be­gin­ning of the year, we al­ways thought of our­selves as the twoheaded mon­ster. It’s fi­nally good for peo­ple to start notic­ing.”

The No. 4 seeded Knights (12-1) had Sharp and the Yel­low­jack­ets’ of­fense bot­tled up in the first quar­ter, pre­vent­ing Hil­mar from pick­ing up a first down on its first two pos­ses­sions.

The Yel­low­jack­ets were lucky to get out of the quar­ter with a score­less tie af­ter putting the ball on the ground three times on a fum­ble, mis­han­dled punt re­turn and a botched pitch.

“I still felt we saw some things that we could do,” said Hil­mar coach Frank Mar­ques, who won his fourth sec­tion ti­tle as a head coach. “Again it’s that ner­vous en­ergy that we have early.”

Bryan Mil­lan pro­vided the first spark for the Yel­low­jack­ets with a fly sweep that gained 31 yards on the first play of Hil­mar’s third pos­ses­sion.

Three plays later, Sharp elec­tri­fied the crowd with a high­light run. Sharp took the ball on a sweep around the left side. He was bumped into the back­field af­ter the hand­off.

He then raced around the left side and came to a quick stop to avoid a tackle by Ripon Chrisian’s Max Steele.

As Sharp came to a stop, he put his left hand down on the turn and some­how kept his balance.

He got back to his feet and raced up field through a gap­ing hole and ran 34 yards for a touch­down to give Hil­mar a 7-0 lead with 9:31 left in the first half.

“My hand went on the ground so I thought I was go­ing to fall,” Sharp said. “But ob­vi­ously, I kept my foot­ing and I ran through a cou­ple holes and it was right there.”

Be­fore the Knights could re­cover, Sharp struck again with a 31yard touch­down run just 101 sec­onds later to ex­tend the lead to 14-0 with 7:50 left. The rout was on. Af­ter be­ing held to neg­a­tive-7 yards on his first four car­ries, Sharp broke off runs of 34, 31 and 24 yards on three con­sec­u­tive car­ries in the sec­ond quar­ter. He fin­ished with 121 yards on 10 car­ries.

Rent­fro started pound­ing his way, pun­ish­ing Knights de­fend­ers as he added a 9-yard touch­down run to ex­tend the lead to 21-0 with 4:21 left in the first half.

Sharp struck again just be­fore the half, haul­ing in a 36-yard touch­down pass from Treven Crow­ley to give the Yel­low­jack­ets 28 sec­ond-quar­ter points and a 28-0 lead at the half.

“The three ath­letes we have, Sharp and Mil­lan give us speed and Rent­fro gives us power,” Mar­ques said. “It’s fun call­ing the of­fense with so many weapons. Our of­fen­sive line has played su­per as well.”

Af­ter rip­ping his jersey in the first half, Rent­fro switched from No. 32 to No. 25 in the sec­ond half, which was his older brother Cody’s num­ber. Rent­fro added touch­down runs of 22 and 40 yards in the sec­ond half and fin­ished with 142 yards on nine car­ries.

“This means ev­ery­thing,” Rent­fro said. “Could you ask for a bet­ter high school ca­reer? Three years of var­sity and two sec­tion cham­pi­onships.”

Mean­while, the Hil­mar de­fense com­pletely shut down the Knights rush­ing at­tack, in­clud­ing their dy­namic run­ning back Michael Kamps. The se­nior en­tered the game with 1,585 rush­ing yards and 28 touch­downs.

Hil­mar held Kamps to just 54 yards rush­ing on 11 car­ries.

The Knights were forced to throw and Hil­mar safety Cole Bai­ley came away with two in­ter­cep­tions.

Ripon Chris­tian fi­nally got on the board in the sec­ond half when Sean McGovern re­turned a Crow­ley fum­ble 57 yards for a touch­down to cut the Hil­mar lead to 34-7 with 8:22 left in the third quar­ter.

McGovern also hauled in a 20 touch­down from Cade Al­ger late in the third quar­ter.

The Yel­low­jack­ets an­swered both Knights scores. Rent­fro scored on his 40-yard touch­down and Sharp took a hand­off on a kick­off re­turn and sprinted 79 yards for a touch­down to give Hil­mar a 50-14 lead with 1:54 left in the third quar­ter.

The fourth quar­ter was played with a run­ning clock.

Hil­mar will now wait to see who its next op­po­nent will be in a North­ern Cal­i­for­nia Re­gional Bowl Game next week.

“This is pretty spe­cial,” Mar­ques said. “We were ju­niors last year and to get back here again and win means a lot. I love th­ese kids, ev­ery one of them. They’re just a great group. The hard­est part will be the last game – when­ever that is – be­cause then they’ll leave. It’s re­ally a spe­cial group.”

JOHN WEST­BERG jwest­[email protected]­bee.com

Hil­mar play­ers Justin Rent­fro, right, and Nick Aguil­era cel­e­brate by dous­ing coach Frank Mar­ques af­ter win­ning the Di­vi­sion VI CIF Sac-Joaquin cham­pi­onship game over Ripon Chris­tian at Tur­lock High School on Fri­day night.

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