The Central Sequoia League matchup between the Kingsburg Vikings and Dinuba Emperors came down to the wire.

Down 42-41 after scoring a touchdown on their first play of overtime, the Emperors decided to go for the victory. A two-point conversion attempt was knocked down by Kingsburg’s Daniel Ortega in the endzone to secure the win for Kingsburg.

“It is always tough against Dinuba, they are a real formidable opponent year in and year out,” said David Wilson, Kingsburg High head coach. “We are just resilient. This is a resilient group of guys. These guys refused to lose, they refused to have any excuses to change outcome of the game. I couldn’t be prouder of our team and coaches. It is fun for our community, and you have to take your hat off to Dinuba they are a good football team. We made plays when we needed to and proud of everybody.”

Kingsburg took a 7-0 lead after one quarter of play after a two-yard touchdown run from Trace Jackson. Dinuba tied the game early in the second quarter, before taking a 14-7 lead when Casimiro Barragan threw a touchdown pass to Isaiah Martinez.

The Vikings scored late in the second quarter when Micah Spomer connected with Ortega for a touchdown pass that tied the game at 14-14 at halftime.

Dinuba retook the lead in the third quarter on a 24-yard touchdown run from Hector Gonzalez. Kingsburg responded once again and tied the game at 21-21 with 6 minutes, 11 seconds left in the third quarter when Max Warkentin connected with Ortega on a 60-yard touchdown pass.

Dinuba scored the next two touchdowns and held a 35-21 lead with just over four minutes left in the game. Kingsburg did not give up.

“I told the team that no one is going to hand you a league championship, you are going to have to go take it,” Wilson said he told his team down 14 points. “I knew our team had it in them and I just told them to keep fighting and stay resilient.”

After a four-yard touchdown run by Spomer cut the Dinuba lead to 35-28 with 4:04 left in the game, Kingsburg would have one final possession to try and tie the game.

With 26 seconds left in the game, Warkentin connected with Connor McFall on a seven-yard touchdown pass to the back corner of the endzone which tied the game at 35-35 after Ortega connected on the extra point. This sent the game into overtime.

Kingsburg had the ball first, as both teams would have one possession starting from the 25-yard line. Kingsburg scored after Spomer took a wildcat snap and ran in a touchdown from 14 yards away to give Kingsburg a 42-35 lead after an extra point by Ortega.

Now it was the Emperors turn to try and keep the game going. On their first play of overtime, Barragan connected on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Mikey Olvera. This made the score 42-41.

Warkentin finished the game 8-for-15 for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson had 15 carries for 82 yards and the one touchdown, while McFall had five catches for 199 yards and two touchdowns. Ortega had two catches for 64 yards and the one touchdown reception.

Kingsburg host Hanford West High School on Friday, Oct. 22 in Kingsburg. They then will end the regular season traveling for a game against the Selma Bears on Friday, Oct. 29 in Selma.

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