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Dillashaw delivers knockout blow

Purchase these photos at www.uniondemocrat.com. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat TJ Dillashaw retained his bantemweight title in front of a hometown crowd on Saturday at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
SACRAMENTO — It takes a true champion like TJ Dillashaw to accomplish the astounding feat he did on Saturday night.

UFC 177 originally featured a highly-anticipated rematch between Dillashaw and Renan Barao, but after a dramatic turn of events led to Barao’s late scratch from the main card Friday, the fight schedule was changed.

UFC newcomer Joe Soto, a former Bellator champ, fought in place of Barao and got his shot at the bantamweight title against Dillashaw at Sleep Train Arena.

Soto entered the championship tilt riding a six-fight win streak.

“It was a tough one, man,” Dillashaw said. “To switch my opponent at the last minute like that, it was a real stressful situation that I just had to man up and do. I think that’s the positive I took out of it, you know. It could have been a negative-negative, but for me to start my legacy as a champ, I’ll take fights on one-days notice.”

Wildcats find pass attack in loss at Oakdale

Sonora junior slotback Wyatt Faughnan avoids a pair of Oakdale defenders in the Wildcat endzone on his way to a 40-yard gain Friday. Maggie Beck / Union Democrat
OAKDALE — After the first half of Friday night’s season-opening football game, Sonora trailed Oakdale 21-0 and head coach Bryan Craig told his Wildcats at intermission they would discover a lot about themselves in the next two quarters.

What the Wildcat players figured out, was that they don’t quit, their combined heart was the size of their hometown, they were tougher than they thought and they could throw the football — and throw it well.

Sonora, long known for its smash mouth, physical ground attack, went to the air again and again Friday night for the majority of their yards.

Ziehlke scores 5 TDs in Frogs win over Sierra Ridge

Bret Harte gets fired up before taking the field to play Sierra Ridge on Friday night in Angels Camp. JESSE JONES / UNION DEMOCRAT
Led by first-year junior quarterback Michael Ziehlke, the Bret Harte Bullfrogs used their feet to defeat the Sierra Ridge Rams 47-30 Friday night at Dorroh Field.

This may of been his first start but Ziehlke played like an established veteran, made good decisions and then let his legs and athleticism take his team to paydirt.

Calaveras scores 48 in loss at McNair

STOCKTON — The Calaveras Redskins and McNair Eagles were like two heavyweight boxers, matching each other blow-for-blow. 

It was McNair, however, who landed the knockout punch and defeated the Skins 55-48.  

Despite a career-high six rushing touchdowns by senior Connor Hamilton, Calaveras could not produce any last second heroics.

Wildcat Kiriluk a leader before being a captain

Sonora senior fullback/linebacker Serge Kiriluk wanted to become a better football player in 2013. He wanted his team to get better. 

The only way to do that he figured was to step up and take matters into his own hands.

BH grad Miller a step away from Majors

Trevor Miller is one step closer to fulfilling his dream of pitching in the majors.

Miller was promoted from Double-A Jackson Generals to the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers on Tuesday night after the Generals fell 8-2 to the Chattanooga Lookouts in Tennessee.

Summerville's Quirie rescued from Liberian life

Humphrey Quirie has experienced what most high school students never will during their lifetimes.

The Summerville Bear senior was born in a rural West Africa village of Peter Town, Liberia.

Liberia, during that time was in the midst of civil unrest, and Humphrey had to experience all that chaos firsthand.

Sonora gridders work for playoff return

Sonora senior linebacker/fullback Serge Kiriluk (above) looks into the backfield for a ball carrier during practice last week. JESSE JONES / UNION DEMOCRAT
Sonora football and playoffs are words used almost every year to describe the Wildcats, except for the last two. For consecutive seasons, the Wildcats have finishes 4-6 and watched postseason from the outside looking in, something that doesn’t sit well with head coach Bryan Craig and his staff.

“We have to get back to playoffs, it’s unacceptable not to be in the playoffs,” Craig said. “It’s an automatic here, that’s what we do. We play good football and we get ourselves into the playoffs. All of us, including the players and coaching staff, we all worked hard in the offseason to get ourselves ready.”

Sonora’s Francis inducted into Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame

From left: Jill Mortensen (daughter), Brian Mortensen (son-in-law), Payten Mortensen (granddaughter), Rick Francis, Kimberly Francis (daughter) and Pattie Francis (wife). Courtesy photo
Rick Francis is a year retired from being the head coach of the Sonora Wildcats boys basketball program, but his success on the hardwood is still being recognized.

Francis, 64, was one of 32 individuals inducted into the 2014 Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame Sunday at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.

New schemes have Frogs hopeful in ‘14

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Bret Harte senior running back Logan Lowe charges upfield on a carry during practice last week. JESSE JONES / UNION DEMOCRAT
Bret Harte didn’t find much success on the gridiron last year, but that had more to do with execution and the Bullfrogs instability at the most important position on the football team.

The Bullfrogs started two quarterbacks and were never able to find an established signal-caller until late in the year.

Jake Bailey took over the reins at quarterback after a player quit mid-season in 2013, and showed promise, but he graduated this summer.

Head coach Jon Byrnes, who is entering his second year, will be hand over the keys to the Bullfrog offense to Michael Ziehlke, a 6-foot-4, 165-pound junior.

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