RALLS — The Jackrabbits are bridesmaids no longer.
After three consecutive years as runner-up, Ralls broke through Friday on the shoulders of those playing their final game at Doc Mize Jackrabbit Stadium.
Zaiah Riojas, escorted by his grandma during the senior-night festivities, did a little bit of everything in the Jackrabbits’ 27-13 win over Sudan. In addition to a game-high 141 rushing yards and a score, he caught a 15-yard TD and secured a late interception that set up a back-breaking drive.
Doing it with his classmates was the cherry on top.
“It’s love for all the seniors,” Riojas said. “There’s only six of us; that’s all we need. There’s not a lot of seniors, but it’s all love.”
Fellow senior Mathias Zavala added 101 yards and a TD as Ralls won its third consecutive game. The Jackrabbits (8-2 overall, 4-1 district) bounced back from a loss to Hale Center to grab a share of the District 3-2A Division II championship and the No. 1 seed ahead of next week’s playoffs.
“We’ve had great senior leadership,” fourth-year Ralls coach Xavier Rangel said. “They’ve been here throughout the summer, sacrificing their time in two-a-days just like everybody else. Overall, just seeing them happy and excited and knowing that work paid off for them, (I’m) happy for the community just being able to hold that gold ball up.”
Zavala broke a scoreless stalemate late in the second quarter, and Riojas made one of two Ralls catches to create a 13-7 edge at halftime. Then Riojas started the second half with a bang.
He set up the Jackrabbits at the Sudan 19 following a 68-yard kickoff return. Four plays later, Riojas was in the end zone again.
“He’s just a leader,” Rangel said. “Great-character kid that comes to work, loves football. He’s always out here just playing catch or doing all the extra things, footwork-wise, to make him a better player. He’s just a tough, gritty kid like a lot of our kids. Great for him to have a great game today.”
The Hornets (8-2, 4-1) had their eight-game winning streak snapped and will settle for the No. 2 seed. Sudan answered to pull within 19-13 but were limited on offense most of the night. The Hornets’ only other score came on a 70-yard kickoff return by Alan Flores.
It perhaps was unsurprising, given Sudan was operating with freshman quarterback Caleb Groetken, who was thrust into duty following an injury to usual starter Trent Wilson last week.
“There’s no doubt we weren’t as effective as we have been offensively,” Hornets coach John Cornelius said. “Trent’s got so much experience, and you see his name in the paper every week for what he does for our team. I’m not going to lie to say that that didn’t make a difference, but I’m proud of Caleb. Caleb came out and competed. That’s hard to be thrown into your first varsity start in that type of ballgame.”
Up by 14, Ralls all but iced the game with a 16-play drive in the fourth quarter. Despite coming away empty, the Jackrabbits took 9 minutes, 2 seconds off the clock. The team finished with 357 yards as six different rushers carried the ball.
Along with a defense that surrendered 10 first downs and 157 yards, Ralls is heading into the postseason on a high note.
“After that Hale Center loss, I guess we just needed a loss to stay up,” Riojas said. “After that loss, our confidence stayed up. Our heads didn’t go down.”
Sudan’s Castillo upbeat after chilling injury
Friday’s contest paused with 8:23 remaining following an injury to Sudan lineman Jeremiah Castillo. Medical personnel tended to the junior before he was taken away by ambulance. The game resumed after about a 35-minute delay.
Cornelius said Castillo showed encouraging signs before leaving the field.
“He was conscious and had all his movement and was even cracking some jokes,” Cornelius said. “We feel good about where he’s at, but our hearts and prayers are with him right now.”
DISTRICT 3-2A DIVISION II
Ralls 27, Sudan 13
Sudan 0 7 6 0 — 13
Ralls 0 13 14 0 — 27
RAL — Mathias Zavala 28 run (Cason Laminack kick), 3:48
SUD — Alan Flores 70 kickoff return (Caleb Groetken kick), 3:38
RAL — Zaiah Riojas 15 pass from Gunner Hitt (kick failed), 0:19
RAL — Riojas 5 run (run failed), 9:12
SUD — Josh Cervera 9 run (kick failed), 5:46
RAL — Justin Zavala 1 run (Riojas run), 0:28
First downs: (S) 10; (R) 21
Rushes-Yards: (S) 27-131; (R) 64-357
Passing: (S) 26; (R) 22
Comp-Att-Int: (S) 4-15-1; (R) 2-7-0
Punts-Avg: (S) 4-35; (R) 1-35
Fumbles-Lost: (S) 1-0; (R) 2-1
Penalties-Yards: (S) 6-40; (R) 11-85
RUSHING: Sudan, Josh Cervera 10-65, Marcello King 11-47, Caleb Groetken 5-31, Team 1-(-12). Ralls, Zaiah Riojas 21-141, Mathias Zavala 12-101, Justin Zavala 18-71, Fabian Castillo 7-35, Caden Cargile 2-12, Andrew Morales 1-0, Team 3-(-3).
PASSING: Sudan, Groetken 4-14-1—26, King 0-1-0. Ralls, Gunner Hitt 2-7-0—22.
RECEIVING: Sudan, Salvador Juarez 4-26. Ralls, Riojas 1-15, J. Zavala 1-7.
RECORDS: Sudan 8-2, 4-1; Ralls 8-2, 4-1.
Source link : https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMisAFodHRwczovL3d3dy5sdWJib2Nrb25saW5lLmNvbS9zdG9yeS9zcG9ydHMvaGlnaC1zY2hvb2wvMjAyMi8xMS8wNS9yYWxscy10eC1oaWdoLXNjaG9vbC1mb290YmFsbC1qYWNrcmFiYml0cy1kb2MtbWl6ZS1zdGFkaXVtLXN1ZGFuLWRpc3RyaWN0LWNoYW1waW9uc2hpcC1nYW1lLXNjb3JlLzY5NjEwNTcxMDA3L9IBAA?oc=5
Publish date : 2022-11-05 11:06:19