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June 28, 2022

Vikings Junior Midgets on fire

All four Hollister Youth Football teams will go to the
post-season for the first time in the league’s 18-year history.
GILROY – All four Hollister Youth Football teams will go to the post-season for the first time in the league’s 18-year history. Two of them are entering the postseason with a full head of steam, while the other two backed in.

There may be no Peninsula team hotter right now than the Junior Midget Vikings, who pulled off a big upset on Saturday in Gilroy, defeating the Gilroy Browns 35-24 in an incredible come-from-behind win. Down 13-0 at the half, their comeback was sparked by Taylor Griffith’s 60-yard return of the second half kickoff that put the Vikings on the scoreboard. Unfazed, Gilroy marched downfield and scored again to take a 24-7 lead. But the Vikings offense put together a great drive, scoring on Tim Lango’s 50-yard breakaway run to narrow the margin to 24-15. Things still looked grim at the start of the 4th quarter with the Vikings facing 4th down and 15 yards to go to keep their drive alive near midfield. But the Vikings pulled off their biggest clutch play of the year, with Abel Jacquez taking the ball in the backfield from quarterback Ronnie Fhurong, who ran downfield and got under a bomb from Jacquez on the halfback option, carrying it into the end zone to cut the margin to just one point. On the ensuing kickoff, Taylor Griffith was again up to his heroic antics, catching a Gilroy fumble in midair and running it back 20 yards for a score to give Hollister the lead 29-24. But there was still time for Gilroy to come back downfield, but the defense held and got the ball back, taking possession after Danny Murphy and Anthony Flores sacked the Gilroy quarterback on 4th down. From there, Abel Jacquez punched the ball in from six yards out to seal Gilroy’s fate. The Junior Midgets will enter the playoffs as a No. 3 seed.

The Hollister Cowboys (Midget Division) made the playoffs with an 8-6 win. The game was for survival as only the winner would go to the postseason, and Hollister proved equal to the challenge. The Cowboys went up 8-0 early in the game on Matt Murphy’s 45-yard TD run. Isaiah Zamorez added the two-point kick, which as it turned out, would provide the margin of victory. The Cowboys held Gilroy scoreless virtually the entire game as the two teams locked in a defensive struggle. The Cowboys played their most inspired defense all season, Ian Sanchez, Manuel Grimaldo, Jonathan Sanchez and Joshua Huaracha stopped Brown runners in their backfield all day long. Drew Blake stopped one Gilroy drive with a big sack, and Joshua Basquez turned in perhaps the biggest play of the day by stepping in front of a Gilroy pass and returning his interception ten yards. Late in the game, the Gilroy offense finally put together a drive and got first and goal. Hollister’s defense stopped them for three plays, put they finally scored on an end-run on 4th down. They needed a two-point conversion kick to tie the score, but Huaracha and Zamorez rose up to block the kick, preserving the victory and a postseason opportunity for the Cowboys.

Not all of the Hollister teams fared as well on Saturday, although all will be in the post-season. The Junior Pee Wees team, who seemed invincible for most of the year, lost for the second consecutive week, and this time they were beaten decisively by Gilroy. The team had an early morning game, a rarity for them, and it seemed that the defense was missing just a step as Gilroy scored four times in the first half to take a 27-0 lead. Speedburner Bruce Sotelo got all of those scores, as he outran Hollister’s entire defense on three plays from scrimmage and a punt return.

Late in the third period, Hollister’s Isaac Ramos broke a 61-yard run, scoring to narrow the gap to 27-7. Moments later, Trevor Fabing picked off an errant Gilroy pass and ran it 20-yards to paydirt, and suddenly the Vikings were back in the game. But Gilroy drove for one more score to put the game out of reach, bumping Hollister into a third seed for the playoffs, while Gilroy claimed the second spot.

– Tom Vivian contributed this report.

This weekend’s Division II Pop Warner playoff schedule involving Hollister teams:

Sat. at South Valley Junior High in Gilroy-Junior Pee Wees vs. East County at 10 a.m.; Midgets vs. East County at 2 p.m.

Sat. at McClymonds High School in Oakland-Junior Midgets vs. East Bay East at 10 a.m.

Sun. at Woodside High School in Redwood City-Pee Wees vs. East County, 12 p.m. $6 for adults.

Sat. at Andy Hardin Field-Mitey Mites Super Games-Hollister vs. Morgan Hill Silver at 7 p.m. Games involving teams from Oak Grove, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, Cambrian Valley, Almaden Valley, Gilroy, Redwood City begin at 9 a.m.

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