GALT — Five opportunities knocked on the Galt High football team’s door in the second half of a Sierra Valley Conference game against Bradshaw Christian.
But the visiting Pride took pride in their defense at the right time. That led Bradshaw Christian to a 34-7 win over Galt on the Erv Hatzenbuhler Field at Warrior Stadium on Friday.
Bradshaw Christian, which led 27-7 at halftime, received the opening kickoff in the third quarter, but on its first offensive play the Pride fumbled the football and Galt (0-2 in the SVC, 4-3) recovered at the Pride’s 38-yard line.
After a bad snap that led to a loss of 18 yards and pushed the ball to the Pride 48, Galt started moving the football. Quarterback Robert Bulahan Jr. completed back-to-back passes to wide receiver Isaac Madrigal of 6 and 21 yards to the Bradshaw Christian 21. But two plays later, Bradshaw Christian defensive tackle Galo Acuna recovered a Warrior fumble.
“Dumb mistakes,” said Galt coach Tim Cobleigh. “Let’s protect the football and get better in protecting the football.”
Galt’s defense, too, stepped up and forced a Pride punt on the following series.
“They stepped up and played some football in the second half,” Cobleigh said. “I know that the kids are discouraged. These tough teams make us tougher, too.”
A mixture of Bulahan Jr. passes to tight end Marcelo Lopez of 24 yards and running back Kenny Tran producing a run of 10 yards and hauling in a 4-yard pass moved the ball to the Pride 21 later in the third quarter. On fourth-and-6, Pride defensive back Jaylen Patterson picked off a Bulahan Jr. pass in the end zone and ran it back to the Bradshaw Christian 40.
One play later, Galt defensive tackle Nathan Flores recovered a Pride fumble at the Bradshaw Christian 40. On a seven-play, 25-yard drive that moved the ball to the Pride 15, Galt failed to convert on fourth down and turned the ball back over to its opponent.
In the first minute of the fourth quarter, Galt outside linebacker Blake Beck forced a Bradshaw Christian runner to fumble the football and recovered it at the Pride 29. Despite getting help with a pass interference call against the Pride that moved the ball to the 14, three incomplete passes and a loss of yards on a running play forced the Warriors to turn the ball over for a third time on loss of downs.
Bradshaw Christian (2-0 in the SVC, 5-2) then marched from its own 12 to the Galt 39 before the Warriors’ defense forced the Pride into another turnover.
On their second to last offensive drive of the game, Galt was back inside Bradshaw Christian territory at the 36. But Pride linebacker Evan Zeppieri picked off a Bulahan Jr. pass. Now the ball spotted at their own 42, the Pride tacked on their final touchdown when running back Nate Grant ran 58 yards for a score.
The Warriors’ final possession of the game was in their own territory. That drive, too, ended on a turnover on fourth-and-17 from their own 37.
Galt scored its only touchdown of the game in the first quarter that gave the Warriors their only lead, 7-6, of the game. After completing five consecutive passes to wide receiver Pharoh Tapia, Lopez and Tran, Bulahan Jr. scored when he scrambled out of the pocket, looked for a receiver down the field and opted to run down the Galt sidelines for a 9-yard run. Ethan Reece booted the Warriors’ extra-point with 2:36 left in the quarter.
“We’ve got three more games in league, and that’s when we’re going to take it to them,” said Cobleigh of the Warriors
Before the Warriors’ touchdown, Zeppieri, one of the Pride’s running backs, scored on a 1-yard run 7:20 into the quarter. The extra-point boot hit the crossbar for a 6-0 score.
In the second quarter, Bradshaw Christian scored three touchdowns for its 27-7 halftime lead. Quarterback David Carr completed a 27-yard pass to Patterson to make it 14-7; Carr completed the 2-point conversion pass to Dakari Bell. Zeppieri scored on a 6-yard run with 5:25 left to make it 21-7. Grant capped the scoring with a 3-yard run with 1:39 in the quarter.
Liberty Ranch 29, Union Mine 13
In an SVC game in El Dorado on Friday, Liberty Ranch (1-1 in the SVC, 3-4) expanded its 8-0 halftime lead to knock off Union Mine (1-1 in the SVC, 4-3), the defending conference champions.
Aidan Carr scored the Hawks’ first touchdown on an 8-yard run in the first quarter. In the second half, Carr scored again. Liberty Ranch running back Isiah Ricci scored two touchdowns. Union Mine scored its two touchdowns in between the Hawks’ scores but couldn’t get the lead.
Liberty Ranch recovered a fumble, and safety Elijah Freeman had an interception in the game to silence the Diamondbacks.
“Defense was very consistent,” said Liberty Ranch coach Anthony Linebaugh. “We stuck with the game plan, kept things simple and executed.”
Contact Mike Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.