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Sports roundup: Sluggish start dooms Crusaders

Kings Christian got off to a slow start and fell 48-35 in a Central Sierra League game against Laton at Kings Christian High School on Friday.

LEMOORE — Kings Christian dropped to 1-3 in the Central Sierra League after a 48-35 home loss against Laton on Friday.

The Crusaders got off to a bad start when they allowed the opening kickoff to go 70 yards the other way for a touchdown. Offensively, they struggled to get going with a 25-yard field goal missing wide.

Laton (5-2, 2-2 CSL) scored again and failed on both 2-point conversions, which made it a 12-0 game after the first quarter.

Kings Christian (2-5, 1-3 CSL) then got a spark from freshman running back Luke Vickers, who finished with 76 yards on 17 carries, and found themselves at Laton’s 25-yard line. Quarterback Steven Shuman then found senior running back Julien Pierce for a 25-yard touchdown pass.

Pierce had a team-high 101 rushing yards and 55 yards receiving with three touchdowns. Pierce has scored a touchdown in five of the seven games this season. He also had an interception and forced a fumble on the defensive side of the ball.

Shuman completed 4-of-9 passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball 12 times for 73 yards.

But the Mustangs continued rolling on offense and scored two more times before halftime, while also completing both 2-point conversions to make it 28-7.

The Crusaders found a little more rhythm to start the second-half, but couldn’t find a way to stop the Mustangs’ offense. After Pierce’s interception, Shuman found sophomore receiver Christian Adams wide open over the middle of the field for a touchdown. But Laton answered back with two of its own scores and led 42-19 entering the fourth quarter.

Kings Christian outscored Laton 16-6 in the fourth quarter, including a highlight play when Pierce sacked Laton’s quarterback, caused a fumble and defensive end Jonah Bennett recovered the ball for a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough. A failed onside kick attempt allowed Laton to run out the clock.

Will Blanken had a team-high eight tackles and a sack, Onkar Bajwa had six tackles and two sacks and Bennett had six tackles.

The Crusaders hit the road for their next league game against undefeated Mission Prep (7-0, 4-0 CSL) on Friday at 7 p.m.

Girls golf

HANFORD — There was no doubt about who owned the East Sequoia League 18-hole tournament at Kings Country Club on Monday. It was all Sierra Pacific.

The Golden Bears improved to a perfect 4-0 ESL record by shooting a 517, which blew away the rest of the field. Lindsay was a distant second with a score of 620 — more than 100 strokes behind Sierra Pacific.

No. 1 Sam Coons shot a 93 and the low round for her team. From there, the scores were tight all around for the Golden Bears. No. 5 Subreen Nahal had the second-lowest score with a 104, No. 4 Ally Martinez shot a 105, No. 2 Megan Ulibarri carded a 106 and No. 3 Makayla Cawley shot a 109. No. 6 Chloe Capello’s score didn’t qualify, but it was still a low 112, a testament to Sierra Pacific’s deep lineup.

Strathmore came in third carding a 631 and Granite Hills was fourth with a 682.

The Golden Bears, as they have all season long, are sitting at the top of the ESL standings with the ESL championship tournament next Tuesday at River Island Country Club.

With a win there, the team will claim its fifth consecutive ESL championship. They also need to shoot a 560 or better to qualify for the Division III Valley championship at Lemoore Golf Course.

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Noe Garcia can be reached at (559) 583-2431 or Follow Noe on Twitter at @noecarlosgarcia.

Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for The Sentinel

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