Football: Turnover ends Aztecs’ hopes of come-from-behind win
Farmersville quarterback throws five interceptions in two point loss to Granite Hills, fall to 0-18 over two seasons
By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
PORTERVILLE – For a Farmersville team that is staring down the barrel of two straight winless seasons, they packed a punch on the road against the Granite Hills Grizzlies, but still came up short 29-27.
Truth be told the Farmersville Aztecs (0-8) could have put their heads down and waited for their all to familiar defeat. But they didn’t. Players were cheering on the sideline and telling each other they could win the game. And in the fourth quarter they almost did.
In the fourth quarter Granite Hills’ (2-5) senior quarterback David Ramirez decided to take a shot for the end zone to all but end the game from 30 yards out. The Grizzlies’ trusty receiver Max Jimenez was running underneath the pass, the Aztecs picked it off with 7:48 to play.
Sophomore quarterback for Farmersville, Rudy Navarro shook off the three picks he had thrown up to that point and led his team for a potential game tying drive. Freshman Anthony Salinas ripped through the defense on a shallow route when Navarro hit him in stride, despite being well covered. Salinas churned his legs to create some space between him and the defense and got down to the Granite Hills 32-yard line.
Then Salinas found his way into the end zone when he managed to dodge some tacklers and sneak into the end zone to cut the Grizzlies’ lead 29-27. Because of a penalty their two point try got pushed back to the 18-yard line. Navarro took a shot to the corner of the end zone but threw off his back foot, making for an easy Granite Hills interception.
The game was just under six minutes from being over and Farmersville had all their timeouts to make a defensive stand and get the ball back. Fortunately, they did. But on a night when Navarro was handing out interceptions like they were going out of style, it was all for not.
With under two minutes left the Aztecs were charged with marching down the field for at least a field goal try. Things were looking impressive when Navarro hit open receivers, and when they got a personal foul penalty that landed them on the Granite Hills side of the field. But all of the Aztecs hopes of winning their first game in almost two seasons came to a halt.
Granite Hills’ Eduard Castro stepped in front of the pass to all but end the game with the two point lead, and give Navarro his fifth interception on the night.
Now the Aztecs have to welcome the Lindsay Cardinals (5-2) to town on Friday, Oct. 18. Lindsay is coming off an impressive one point win on the road against Corcoran, 22-21. That gives them a 2-1 advantage in the East Sequoia League. Their only loss in league is to Woodlake, who thumped them at home 50-20.
If it was not for the five turnovers the Aztecs might have had a fighting chance. All game long they responded to adversity. In the first quarter they took a one point lead 7-6. But when Granite Hills went down and scored in two plays, Navarro and company improvised to retake the lead. Salinas made some shifty moves to get open when Navarro had to roll out of the pocket to buy some time. He made a courageous throw into the back of the end zone, all the while being knocked out of bounds. Salinas toe tapped inbounds, although he only needs one foot in high school.
After exchanging possessions a few times Granite Hills made a momentum changing play when Farmersville snapped the ball over the punter’s head. Farmersville jumped on it in the end zone but that ultimately led to a safety and Granite Hills getting the ball. It was on that possession that Ramirez hit Jimenez in the middle of the field to get down to the one. Grizzly running back Carlos Corona scored his second touchdown and collected one of his 77 yards on the ground.
Farmersville got momentum back in the third quarter when Navarro threw a drive killing interception to Nicholas Mosqueda on a promising drive that could have tied up the game. Mosqueda returned it all the way back to the Farmersville 33-yard line but on the next play Noah Svoboda stripped the ball away and returned for a 67-yard touchdown.
But as they had all night the Aztecs gave points right back when Navarro threw a pick six to Mosqueda to give them a 29-21 advantage.