Football: Coach Scharton leads Redwood to opening win
Rangers kick off football season with 28-25 win against Scharton’s former school
By Krissy Hetherington
Special to the Sun-Gazette
VISALIA – On Friday, Aug. 30, Redwood hosted their season opener at the Mineral King Bowl, outscoring the Dinuba Emperors 28-25. A large crowd as well as packed student sections from both sides, gathered to watch Redwood head coach, Kevin Scharton face off against his former team. This rivalry brought television worthy attention which led to even more energy and excitement in the air.
The first quarter consisted of back and forth possessions. Both teams getting close to scoring position but neither being able to capitalize. Scharton described the game as “a chess game [with] constant adjustments to each other, but when it’s all said and done, we have to do what we do and make them adjust to us and complement our offense.”
Scharton was convinced that Dinuba was going to rely on their throwing game against Redwood. He wasn’t wrong. Their quarterback Josh Magana threw the ball 42 times throughout the night. Redwood’s defense was hungry and determined to interfere.
The first touchdown of the game was a result of a good drive by Redwood accompanied by key mistakes by the Emperors. A penalty on Dinuba put Redwood in scoring position at the 5 yard line. Senior Ranger running back James Richardson took advantage of field position, running in Redwood’s opening touchdown of the season. Junior Reid Terry converted the field goal, making the score 7-0.
On Dinuba’s next possession, Magana missed the snap as the ball travelled over his head. Both teams hurried for the ball which finally ended up in Redwood linebacker Kaleb Wright’s hands, as he recovered it in the end zone for another Redwood touchdown. The following kick was good and the score was now 14-0.
During Redwood’s next possession, the rushing attack continued to take over. It ended with Richardson rushing for another touchdown with about two minutes left in the first half, which gave the Rangers a 21 point lead.
Dinuba wasn’t ready to give up. As expected, they came out fighting hard. To start the quarter, senior signal caller Magana was able to connect on an 11-yard pass to Gabriel Moreno in the end zone. They opted to settled for one on the conversion, but the kick was blocked by Redwood’s Hudson Walker, resulting in a score of 21-6 with a little under eight minutes remaining in the third quarter. Neither team scored again until the final period.
In the fourth, Ranger running back Caden Shafer was a force to be reckoned with. On their next scoring possession, he was able to run for several first downs which led to Richardson’s third touchdown with seven minutes left in the game. Redwood’s final touchdown of the game pushed the score to 28-7. There wasn’t much time left for Dinuba to attempt to comeback.
In an effort to put points on the board, Dinuba began to let the ball fly. Their quarterback was able to connect on consistent passes which ended with the Emperor’s second touchdown of the game. Magana was able to connect on a 17 yard pass to Moreno. The two point conversion pass failed as the scored came out as 12-28.
Next Dinuba possession, Redwood slowly watched their lead slip away as Magana threw yet another successful pass into the end zone. The 6 yard catch was by Brian Campbell. Dinuba attempted to keep the momentum as they attempted yet another 2 point conversion but the run failed, 18-28.
Dinuba didn’t want to give up but neither did Redwood’s defensive line as they saved the game from 5 points of extra points.
Dinuba’s final touchdown came with a 1:30 left on the clock and a QB sneak by Magana. With the score standing at 25-28, Redwood secured the victory on the next, and final possession.
The Emperors put up a strong fight but it wasn’t enough against Redwood and Scharton’s new offensive, defensive, and special teams plans. Redwood’s defense was able to hold Dinuba from a first down the entire first half.
Richardson tallied 3 touchdowns and received a “Player of the Game” award from one of the hosting shows, Friday Night Rivals, “I couldn’t have done this without my team, we executed well, and my defense held it down…”
Caden Shafer played a key role with his 94 total yards rushed helping lead Redwood to success on offense, “Since they already knew what we run and we’ve done film on them, it came down to who wanted it more and worked harder…Without my linemen we wouldn’t have been able to come out on top, teamwork makes the dream work, that’s what it came down to.”
Redwood’s next game is next Friday against Tulare Union at the Bob Mathias Stadium at 7:30. As for Dinuba, they play home against Reedley next week.