KINGSBURG - For the first time in three years, the Kingsburg Vikings defeated the Selma Bears 49-14 on Friday night to bring back the fire extinguisher trophy to its campus.
It was the 86th meeting between the two squads and Kingsburg’s 47 points were the most scored against Selma since the 2012 season when the Vikings defeated the Bears 57-34 under former head coach Dave Steele.
“This was a long time coming,” Kingsburg head coach David Wilson said. “This is my fourth year, I’m 0-3 against these guys. It meant a lot to beat them. I've got a lot of respect for [Selma coach Matt] Logue, he’s a great coach, but nothing was going to stop us this week. We were pretty motivated.”
Quarterback Jett Jackson said it felt great to break the three-year losing streak against Selma.
“Selma played tough,” Jackson said. “They came out ready to go as always in this rivalry. I think it’s the 86th meeting. Selma and Kingsburg is always going to be to a good game.”
The dual-threat Jackson made plays up and down the field against the Bears defense. Through the air, Jackson completed 14-of-21 attempts for 191 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. On the ground, Jackson rushed for a game-high 97 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. His rushing score came on a 33-yard scramble in the first quarter.
The Vikings ended the regular season at 8-2 overall and 4-1 in Central Sequoia League play. The win over Selma also clinched Kingsburg a share of the CSL title with Dinuba (8-2, 4-1) and Central Valley Christian (8-2, 4-1). The Vikings overall and league record this season is the best during Wilson’s tenure.
The Bears finish the 2018 campaign at 4-6 overall and 2-3 in league play. Selma needed a win against the Vikings to compete in the playoffs and the Bears fell short of their postseason goals. It’ll be the first time that Selma won’t play in the postseason during Logue’s tenure as head coach.
“It’s been a rough season,” senior receiver Ivan Valdez said. “Ever since week one and our quarterback [Ricky Mota] went down, so we knew it was going to be tough. As a team, we just wanted to stick together, just keep grinding and grinding, but unfortunately it didn’t go the way as we planned.”
In his final game as a Selma Bear, Valdez was the big play target for quarterback Joey Ramirez with three catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns. The senior also intercepted Jackson in the end zone late in the second quarter.
In the first quarter, Valdez’s first touchdown cut Kingsburg’s lead to 14-7 with 16 seconds left. The touchdown play was a 40-yard reception that happened on 4th-and-3.
The second quarter provided action on both sides and started with Valdez scoring his second touchdown - a 59-yard reception - to tie the score 14-14 with 7:01 to go until halftime.
With 36 seconds left in the first half, Kingsburg regained the lead 20-14 after Jackson tossed his first passing score of the night for 30-yards to Kaden Tate.
On the ensuing drive, Vikings cornerback Alfred Carpenter intercepted a pass from Ramirez and returned it to the end zone. The defensive touchdown and a two-point conversion put Kingsburg up 28-14 at halftime.
Carpenter’s pick-six would be a play that gave the Vikings momentum for the rest of the night. In the second half, Kingsburg’s offense went on to score three more touchdowns and its defense would shut out the Bears.
“I didn’t know what coverage we were in, so it was kind of just luck,” Carpenter said about his defensive score. “I saw the guy coming out. I bit on it and I caught it. I thought I was going to get tripped up, but I got it. I took it.”
As for Selma’s young quarterback, Ramirez ended his first varsity season throwing for 579 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also scored five touchdowns on the ground.
Ramirez started the season in the program’s junior varsity squad and was promoted to varsity during the week leading up to the third game of the year against Sunnyside. The sophomore would go to start for the rest of the season.
“The first season was tough,” Ramirez said. “I’m just trying to learn right now, I’m just trying to get better. I’m still young right now, so I’ll keep working hard and get ready for next year.”
With a year of varsity experience under his belt and going into the offseason as the starter, Ramirez said he’s motivated for next season.
“We've got a lot of young talent, our guys are good,” Ramirez said. “Sometimes, we just have to keep our heads in the game. We’re just young right now. We’ll be in the weight room this offseason getting stronger and hopefully come back stronger next year.”
Kingsburg earned the No. 3 seed in CIF Central Section Division III playoffs and will host No. 14 Hoover in the opening round on Friday. The No. 3 seed is the highest the Vikings have been ranked in its division during Wilson’s coaching tenure. In Wilson’s first season as coach in 2015, Kingsburg was the eighth-seed, followed by being ranked as the No. 6 seed the following two seasons.
Kickoff for the Vikings’ opening round playoff game is scheduled for 7 p.m.