REEDLEY - Fresh off a first round bye and two weeks removed from a disappointing loss, the Selma Bears bounced back in the quarterfinals on Friday.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Bears’ offense picked up and continuously put points on the board en route to a 42-7 playoff victory over the 10-seeded Wasco Tigers (6-6, 3-3 SSL) at Reedley High School. Selma (9-2, 4-1 CSL) entered the CIF Central Section Division IV playoffs as the No. 2 seed while Wasco, a 10th-seeded squad, were coming off a 14-13 upset victory over No. 7 East Bakersfield in the first round.
Playing against a Tigers team that operates a double wing offense, Bears head coach Matt Logue said his defense needed to play disciplined heading into the matchup.
“We talked all week that we have to win this game on defense and got to win it on first downs,” Logue said. “They really try to chunk you and chunk you and get little bits and pieces at a time and always have manageable third and fourth downs. Our defensive guys did a great job of buying into the game plan and I thought we played extremely physical and really dominated the game up front.”
A 1-yard touchdown run from Zach Zarate started a 21-point first quarter for the Bears. Following Zarate’s score, Wasco fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Selma recovered at the Tigers 36-yard line, which led to a touchdown connection between quarterback Joey Ramirez and receiver Aaron Blancas on the next play.
On the Bears final drive of the first half, Brandon Johnson caught a tipped pass from Ramirez for a 32-yard touchdown with 25 seconds on the clock.
The Bears continued to roll on offense in the third quarter starting with Ramirez throwing his third touchdown of the game to Aaron Moreno on a 50-yard play. Zarate scored his second touchdown from 5 yards out on the Bears next possession.
With Selma leading 35-0 at the end of the quarter, a running clock was implemented for the fourth quarter. After Aaron Olivares scored the Bears final touchdown on a 3-yard run, the Bears played their reserves on both sides for the remaining 9:34 of the game.
Selma lost the shut out after Tigers quarterback Jacob Villanueva rushed for a 15-yard touchdown with 46 seconds left to play.
The Bears turned the ball over on downs three times in the red zone, which were the only miscues for the orange and black. The Bears failed to convert a fourth down on the Tigers’ 12, 5, and 11 yard lines.
You have free articles remaining.
“It’s the little things that coach always talks about,” Ramirez said. “The little things are going to kill us and if we eliminate those mistakes, it’s going to help us a lot.”
Offensively, the Bears outgained the Tigers 457-156 while averaging 8.2 yards per play. Selma played a clean game offensively by not allowing a sack, not giving the ball away, and not attempting a punt.
Ramirez completed 6-of-12 passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
“We were just ready,” Ramirez said. “A lot of guys were hungry to come out.”
Other than his two touchdowns, Zarate rushed for 39 yards on nine carries. Olivares was heavily involved, carrying the ball 16 times for 134 yards while Moreno gained 116 yards on 10 carries. Moreno’s and Johnson’s touchdown receptions were their only catches of the game. Blancas hauled in three catches for 41 yards and a touchdown.
“We prepare for every team, we know where to go and we just do our job,” Zarate said about the offense.
Up next for the Bears is the 6-seeded Kennedy Thunderbirds at Tom Flores Stadium at Sanger High School this Friday. The Thunderbirds defeated No. 3 Templeton 28-21 in the quarterfinals last week.
“It’s a good environment,” Ramirez said about Tom Flores Stadium. “I’ve been to a couple of Sanger games and the crowd is always rocking. Hopefully it’s like that for us ...It's going to be fun.”
The winner advances to the Division IV championship game against No. 1 Washington Union or No. 4 Porterville on Nov. 29.