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EXETER - The Selma Bears continued its success of running the ball and stopping the run on Friday, defeating the Exeter Monarchs (4-4, 1-2 CSL) in a 58-18 rout in a Central Sequoia League game.

The Bears dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage by rushing for 348 yards while allowing the Monarchs to run for six yards on the ground. This season, the Bears are averaging 289 rushing yards per game while their defense is allowing an average of 46.2 yards on the ground.

“That’s kind of what we’re all about on both sides of the ball,” Selma coach Matt Logue said. “If you could do those two things, you got a chance to be in a lot of football games.”

The Bears improved to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in CSL play with two games left in the regular season. The Kingsburg Vikings (8-0, 3-0 CSL) are the only other undefeated team in league play.

In a game that was originally slated to serve as Selma’s home opener in its newly renovated stadium, the matchup was moved to Monarchs Stadium due to ongoing construction.

Like they have all year, the Bears continued to thrive as the road warriors by having a fast start with a 37-6 lead at halftime. Selma scored 21 points in the first quarter with a 41-yard connection between quarterback Joey Ramirez and Aaron Blancas, followed by Blancas returning an interception for a touchdown, and Adam Rodriguez finding the endzone on a 1-yard run.

The Bears added to their 21-6 lead with 16 second quarter points after Zach Zarate scored on the ground twice and Todd Weaver tackling Monarchs’ running back Nathaniel Heath in the endzone for a safety. Zarate had touchdown runs from 3 and 4 yards out.

In the first half, Selma ran for 224 yards while the Emperors were held to -9 yards on the ground.

With a comfortable 31-point lead, Selma continued to have an efficient night running the ball by gaining 124 yards in the second half. In the third quarter, Zarate scored his third touchdown of the night on a 11-yard run and Ramirez ran for 23 yards to the endzone to extend the Bears lead to 51-6.

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Selma put its reserves in the third quarter, which gave an opportunity for backup running back Duran Delgado to to carry the ball and score a touchdown. Delgado found the endzone on a 2-yard run for the Bears’ final touchdown of the night. Delgado rushed for 51 yards on eight carries.

Zarate rushed for a team-high 83 yards on seven carries while Rodriguez carried the ball 14 times for 75 yards, and Aaron Moreno ran for 78 yards on eight rushing attempts. Blancas and Ramirez each had 22 yards on two carries. Aaron Olivares had 15 yards on three carries. Nine different players carried the ball for Selma.

“Our o-line, I continue to try to praise them as much as possible,” Logue said. “Everything we’re doing right now is going through them. We only had to throw the ball twice tonight and when you can do that and score as many points we’re scoring, a lot of good things are happening up front.”

With two games remaining in the regular season, the Bears control their own destiny of winning a league title, but will need help of possibly securing the top seed in the Central Section Division IV playoffs. As of press time, MaxPreps has Selma ranked No. 4 in the Division behind Washington Union (7-1, 2-0 NSL), Templeton (7-1, 2-0 OL), and Kennedy (8-0, 4-0 SSL).

For the program to win its first CSL championship since 2016, the Bears will have go through Central Valley Christian (5-3, 2-1 CSL) and rival Kingsburg. If the Bears defeat CVC and the Vikings top Hanford West this week, the rivals will play for a CSL championship at Reedley High School on Nov. 1.

Before the 87th rivalry meeting takes place, Selma will face a CVC offense led by running back Jaalen Rening, who Logue considers to be one of the top players in Valley.

“He’s definitely the big difference maker on the team and he’s the guy that we have to stop and they have some big, big linemen,” Logue said. “We haven’t beat them a lot of times and we have to play over there, which is always tough.”

Up next

Kickoff between the Bears and Cavaliers is set for 7:30 p.m. this Friday. CVC is coming off a 65-0 dominating win over Hanford West on Saturday. In last year’s meeting, Selma fell 49-7 to CVC. The Bears are seeking their first win over the Cavaliers since 2016.

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The reporter can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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