Central Catholic of Modesto will be playing next week in the CIF NorCal Division IV Bowl Game after becoming eligible with a win over Hilmar in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship game.
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On a Hilmar sideline filled with signs there was one that was hoping that the “wrecking ball” would be brought by the Yellow Jackets against Central Catholic of Modesto and its hopes of a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship but instead it was Matt Ringer who led the Raiders to a 24-10 victory at Lincoln High School in Stockton on Saturday afternoon.
In a game that had importance for both Division III and Division IV in Northern California it was the Raiders who will be an easy selection to the NorCal Division IV Bowl Game next week while the Yellow Jackets losing will leave a spot in the NorCal Division III game that would have been theirs if they had pulled off the upset and become bowl eligible.
With their running game dominating the game early and often, it was the Raiders’ passing game that got the game’s first points as sophomore Hunter Petlansky found a wide open Jared Rice for a 30-yard touchdown in the final minute of the first quarter.
Ringer then took over in the second quarter as the Raiders’ “wrecking ball.” He scored on a four-yard run and then again on an incredible 41-yard run as the Raiders increased their lead to 21-0 with 3:39 left in the first half. Ringer finished with 182 rushing yards in the first half and the two touchdowns while finishing the game with 243 rushing yards.
“I don’t know how many yards he had but he just leaned on people and that’s what we do best,” said Raiders’ head coach Roger Canepa after the game.
The Yellow Jackets were unable to get a first down until the final minute of the first half and trailed 24-3 at the halftime break before putting together a second-half rally that came up short.
Jonathan O’Brien cut the lead with a 10-yard touchdown run in the first minute of the fourth quarter and after a quick three and out by their defense, the Yellowjackets drove down and had first and goal at the five-yard line but were unable to cut the deficit to a one score game as they turned it over on downs.
“We just won a section title and we are going to enjoy it before going back to work on Monday,” said Canepa after the game. “It’s exciting! It’s hard to get back here.” The Raiders will be hoping they will be back to Lincoln High School next week as they are now 4-0 in the playoffs over the last three years at the home of the Trojans.