And when the turf finally started cooling down at Hughes Stadium and at Gustine High, it was the Jesuit and Central Catholic players who were doing the celebrating.
The Marauders of coach Dan Carmazzi took advantage of several Nevada Union turnovers and downed the Miners, 27-16, in the Div. I section semifinals. One of the those turnovers was a fumble into the end zone as Nevada Union was going in for an apparent touchdown. Another was a fumble deep in Miner territory that set up one of Jesuit's touchdowns.
Chris Buck starred for the Marauders with an 80-yard touchdown run and two other touchdowns on short runs. Jim Henderson had an interception and a fumble recovery to help lead the defense.
Another reason for Jesuit's win was that it was able to prevent any long touchdown runs from any of Nevada Union's running backs.
Nevada Union entered the game at No. 8 in the most recent state overall top 20. Jesuit has been looking up at both the Miners, Grant of Sacramento and Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills in the local rankings all season. The Marauders didn't break into the state rankings until two weeks ago and next week they should be in the top 10.
Jesuit will play Lincoln of Stockton (12-1) in the Div. I section final next Friday at UOP's Memorial Stadium. The Trojans shook off two weeks of unimpressive outings to start the playoffs with a resounding 41-0 romp past Turlock in the other section semifinal. Quarterback Brian Korinek got the Lincoln offense rolling early with a 40-yard touchdown run, but it was the Louis Rankin show for the rest of the night.
Rankin, a senior speedster who's now receiving Div. I college scholarship offers, finished with a reported 166 yards and five touchdowns.
Central Catholic and Gustine were both 12-0 heading into their showdown, although the Raiders were still a strong favorite as they won the Div. IV title last year but were shuffled downward a division this year due to realignment. Central Catholic completed its dominant season with a 49-21 win over Gustine.
Justin Moye threw for one TD and ran for another early in the game to get the romp going. Another big play for CC was a long punt return touchdown by Ryan Cuhn.
We said at the beginning of the season that Central Catholic might be even more than a lock than De La Salle to win a divisional state crown this year. We know it wasn't easy for the Raiders to live up to that statement, so congratulations are in order to coach Mike Glines and his team for actually going out and doing it.
Note: We hope you liked the short free story about the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Please consider a premium subscription to calhisports.com. We plan similar coverage throughout the school year for boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball, softball and track. We also have nearly one month to go to wrap up all of our football coverage, including our exclusive, prestigious all-state teams and the naming of our Mr. Football State Player of the Year.