SELMA – Staring at the specter of a 1-3 league record, the Selma High football team did what it has all season – fought back. 

The Bears, en route to a 26-21 homecoming victory Friday night against Exeter (6-2, 1-2), rejected the Monarchs’ attempt on a fourth-and-one running play on their own 34-yard line. Then, taking possession down 21-20 with 2:14 left, Selma covered the distance in five plays to score on a 6-yard Junior Ramirez keeper with 25 seconds left.

Ramirez (274 total yards, four TDs — 195 passing, 84 rushing) did a flying chest bump with Chris Romero after his score. Moments later, the game ended near mid-field after two short Monarch pass attempts. 

Ramirez scored the winning points, but the defense made the key play on the fourth-and-one.  

“It was up to the defensive line and we knew we had it in us,” said two-way Bear lineman Martin Lucio who led the team with five tackles. “But there’s still work to do.”

Selma called a timeout before the Exeter fourth-down play, then halted bullish Monarch running back Tyler Reaser in his tracks. 

“I just told them to sell out,” Bear coach Matt Logue said. “To get in a gap and make a play.”

Trailing 21-14 with 10:09 left in the game, Ramirez scored on a 6-yard run to put the Bears within a point. Logue gambled with a 2-point conversion, but Ramirez was stopped short.

Roughly seven minutes later Selma seemed to fritter away its last chance, fumbling on Exeter’s 27-yard line, with the Monarchs recovering. That's when the Bear defense responded.

The offense chipped in, too. Ricky Mota’s gritty 24-yard TD catch with a defender draped over him with 2:46 left in the third quarter tied the game at 14. Ramirez scrambled to make the throw to an ad-libbing Mota. 

"They tell me to help out when Junior is scrambling and so I did," Mota said. "I saw the ball in the air and knew I had to make a play on it." 

Exeter bounced right back to score, though, on a 30-yard run to go ahead 21-14.

Exeter coach Keirsten Lamb did not agree with the officials on a fourth-and-five pass interference penalty on his team that continued a Selma drive, only to lead to the Bear fumble.

“I thought our kid was getting yanked down,” Lamb said. “But our kids battled all night. It was a tough game." 

Next up for the Bears (7-2 overall, 2-2 league) is visiting rival Kingsburg (6-3, 2-2) at 7 p.m. Friday.

“Throw out all the other nine games we’ve played,” Logue told his team afterward. “All that matters is (this) week."

Notes: This is rivalry week for Selma. There are dress-up activities etc. for students during the week ... Brianna Collado was named homecoming queen at Friday's game and Gibby Gonzalez homecoming king.  

 

John Murphy can be reached at 583-2413 or jmurphy@hanfordsentinel.com.

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