The Hilmar High School Yellowjackets buzzed by the Summerville High School Bears with a 47-3 victory in the opening CIF Sac-Joaquin Section football playoffs match-up at Thorsted Field Friday night.
Many of the Summerville players shed tears at the game’s end, but Coach Sean Leveroos said they had achievements to be proud of, especially for the team’s 16 graduating seniors.
“This is not the way we wanted this story to end. This group of boys taught the coaches as much as any group we’ve ever had and the lessons they taught us we’ll learn to get better from it,” Leveroos said. “It was a great bunch of kids to get to come and spend time together and I’m excited to see what kind of men they become.”
Thorsted Field was brimming with fans before the start of the game, the anticipation high for the first playoff match of the season. On each respective play, the opposing teams battled for vocal supremacy of the stadium. But more often than not, the Hilmar fans dominated the vaulted seating, controlling the development of the game from its outset.
Far too often, and to the displeasure of the Summerville High Schools fans, a gigantic yellow flag emblazoned with the bumblebee mascot swayed and fluttered from the hands of a Hilmar cheerleader, announcing yet another touchdown.
Within the first minute, Hilmar had already forced their first touchdown into the endzone. But the debilitating plays of the first quarter did not end there. On their opening possession, Summerville fumbled on their own side of the field, opening up opportune field position for the Yellowjackets to gain yet another touchdown before even 6 minutes had transpired.
The Hillmar kicker missed the point after attempt, but still, Hilmar continued their onslaught on the defensive end.
A flurry of flags from both teams left Summerville with a fourth down attempt near Hilmar’s 30-yard line, but an arching pass was intercepted in yet another turnover, resulting in a more than 60-yard return by Hilmar.
This time, the Hillmar kicker put the the football through the uprights on a 35-yard attempt.
In the waning minutes of the first quarter, Summerville was down 16 points to zero. There was only one second remaining when the Yellowjackets launched a cyclonic pass through the air, and a HIlmar receiver and Summerville cornerback both launched themselves into the air to catch it.
They fell down together, but the Yellowjacket player came up with it.
The start of the second quarter, and it was 0-23, Hillmar.
But Summerville admirably denied the shutout to Hillmar, with senior Kyle McCarver booting in a 32-yard field goal in the first minutes of the second quarter.
Not to be denied themselves however, Hilmar matched the field goal with another touchdown of their own.
The second quarter offered brief glimmers of opportunity for the Bears: a lengthy reception here, a powerful, attritional run there, and the occasional fierce tackle to beat back the Hilmar offense. But still, it wasn’t enough to gain them an effective foothold toward gaining the lead.
As was indicative of the course of the game, after losing the ball to an interception, the Bears gained it back on a fumble. But following that possession, they were unable to gain a first down.
Another touchdown run passed by the Summerville defense and the second half ended with the same unevenness as it had begun, Summerville 3, and Hilmar 37.
The second half seemed to reflect the foregone conclusion that the Yellowjackets had adequately secured victory.
The scoring frequency began to diminish, with only one field goal and one touchdown completed by the visitors in the third quarter. Summerville continued to battle for pride however, limiting Hilmar’s ability to make any of the impressive gains they had achieved in the first half.
The game came to a brief standstill in the final minutes of the third quarter, which required McCarver to be stretchered off the field and administered by team medical staff.
The fourth quarter showed little action from both ends, with no points scored. Summerville High School had ended their season with a difficult loss, but remained proud of a season that saw them reach a playoff berth. Though some the players appeared disconsolate, they marched from the field together, embracing and congratulating each other on a hard-fought season.