REEDLEY – Selma High football fans probably winced late in the first half Friday night when underdog Immanuel scored on a long pass to move to within three points.
They needn’t have worried. Selma imposed its will in the second half to score 14 unanswered points to pull away for a 31-14 Central Sequoia League victory.
The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Bears (6-2 overall, 1-2 CSL). It was the third consecutive league loss for the Eagles (3-4, 0-3).
“I was impressed with Immanuel’s coaches and players,” said Selma Coach Matt Logue after emerging from the Bear dressing room following the game. “They only have 17-18 players, but it’s amazing how tough they are. I think in the second half maybe we wore them down.”
Despite the victory, Logue was far from content.
“It’s the same old (thing),” Logue said. “We made too many mistakes. We made some bad plays on the ball in the first half and allowed a few long passes. We have a long way to go because down the road in the playoffs those things will come back to bite you."
Selma righted itself just in time. Leading 17-14 at the half, the Bears trekked 63 yards on four running plays to score on quarterback Junior Ramirez’s 41-yard touchdown run with 10:13 left in the third quarter. That put the defending league and Valley champs up by 10.
“We wanted to gain yards on each play and stay on our blocks and get first downs and touchdowns,” Selma right tackle Martin Lucio said. “Our coach said he didn’t care about technique, just stay on your blocks.”
The offensive line of Lucio, Rocky Ortega, Josiah Cuevas, Alexis Reynaga and Angelo Atkinson created enough daylight for Ramirez to rush for 245 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries.
“We knew they weren’t a bad team, but we were (fresher) and we wanted it more,” Atkinson said.
Immanuel’s last gasp came early in the fourth quarter with the Eagles still trailing by 10. However, facing a third-and-18 from their own 8, an Immanuel receiver took his eyes off the ball and dropped a sure first-down pass.
Following a short punt, Ricky Mota made Immanuel pay with a 35-yard TD run with 11:25 left to cap the scoring.
“We had the mindset of being physical all along – maintaining our blocks and finishing them,” Logue said. “It’s like when we played Dinuba (a 35-10 loss) we were often close, but we were one block away. I’ll have to look at the film to see how well our line did.”
The statistics said pretty well, as Selma out-gained Immanuel 498 to 270 and averaged 9.1 yards per carry.
Immanuel had its moments, as Simonian completed 9-of-20 for 199 yards and two touchdowns and Gurrola caught five passes for 128 yards.
“We didn’t hold back, but we made too many mistakes,” Immanuel receiver/cornerback Derek Wood said. “They were a little fresher and we just fell short."
Mota also intercepted a pass for Selma, which hosts Exeter (5-3, 1-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.