Football: Tigers make statement
Lopsided victory over Sierra on Friday sends Woodlake into league with three wins
By Patrick Dillon
WOODLAKE – The Tigers enter East Sequoia League competition this Friday against the Lindsay Cardinals with three non-league wins for the first time since 2015. Their most recent victory came Friday, Sept. 7, against the Sierra Chieftains 63-0.
“I hate to speak negatively about an opponent, but they have a little bit of a downturn in football right now,” Woodlake head coach Jeff Johnson said.
Defense for the Tigers (3-1) has played a big role in getting their wins. In the four games played they have only allowed a total of 48 points. The win over Sierra (0-4) was Woodlake’s first shutout of the season. Even in Woodlake’s only loss they held the defending D-V Valley champions Caruthers Blue Raiders to their fewest points of the season at 21. Coach Johnson believes that the defensive side of the ball will be a deciding factor when they take on the Lindsay Cardinals this Friday.
“Coach Martinez, our defensive coordinator has these boys dialed in,” Johnson said. “They watch a lot of film, they know what to expect, and it has freed up that hesitation and allows them to go make a play on the ball.”
Of course, a team must score points to win, and the Tigers have done just that. In those same four games they have scored 149 total points. The only time they have scored less than ten points was in their 21-6 loss two weeks ago.
Damian Hernandez at quarterback has been a big part of what the Tigers have been able to do so far this season, including last Friday. He went 11-16 for 127 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“He has a sense of urgency to get better every single day,” Johnson said.
Additionally, the Tigers have Victor Rojas in the backfield at running back. He rushed seven times for 89 yards and three scores.
With the Tigers putting the game away at halftime with a 36-0 lead some underclassman got the chance to log some playing time.
“We did a good job of getting guys in positions they don’t usually play by the second quarter,” Johnson said.