Win gives 'Jacks FRL crown
Westwood High School's football team used a second-half surge to drop Loyalton 34-28 last Friday and captured sole possession of the Feather River League title. The Lumberjacks (8-2, 5-0) came from behind to upend the Grizzlies and earn a No. 2 seed in the Northern Section Division VI Playoffs.
Down 20-14 at the half, Westwood's Pat Graves scored on a three-yard run, and Daniel Gardner hit Josh Tilford on a 24-yard pass to cap a 13-play drive and give the Lumberjacks a lead they never relinquished.
"It feels good,' Westwood head coach Brian Johnson said. "Loyalton was every bit as good as we thought they would be. They were big and physical and posed problems for us. But we were just a little bit better. Both of us came out to play.
"We put together three long drives to take the lead, and defensively, we had to make some adjustments.
"It was a good team win. The offensive line did a great job battling a much bigger defense, and our defense had to make changes on the fly. We gave up 28 points, but Loyalton had to earn them, and luckily we were able to outscore them. I'm proud of how the guys hung in there and battled to the end."
Seeded No. 2 in the Northern Section Division VI Playoffs, Westwood will face off against No. 3 Maxwell at home Friday, Nov. 9. Game time is set at 7 p.m.
A win puts the Lumberjacks up against top-seeded Big Valley (9-0) or No. 4 Happy Camp (6-3) for the Division VI championship on Friday, Nov. 16.
"Maxwell has very good size and speed. They're going to be tough, and then if we beat them, we'll probably face Big Valley. It's not going to be easy to win a title this year."
Maxwell (8-2, 3-1) finished second in the North Valley League behind Hayfork. It outscored opponents 261-75 during the regular season.
The Panthers can score through the air and on the ground. Players to look out for include Nikc Corbin (WR/DB), Kirk Troughton (RB), Cory Madron (QB), Adolfo Ocampo (RB), A.J. Azevedo (WR), Ray Davis (TE), Juvenaql Rolon (LB). Matt Overton (DL) and Samuel Rivera (DL).
"At the begining of the season, we broke the season down as a team," Johnson said. "In the preseason, we wanted to settle in as a team and put things together for once league started. Then once it got underway, we set out to win a title. In the playoffs, we want to be realistic. We're going to face, hopefully, two very good teams. We have to remember we've come a long way since we put on those pads.
"We beat Fall River and Loyalton in two big games with a lot on the line. Winning both of them, I think we came out of those game s knowing we can beat anybody. Our guys were beaten up in those two games, but they didn't give up."
Johnson said his team is jelling at the right time.
"We're coming together. Our offense and defense are really clicking and the special teams unit is playing real well. With all those things happening for us, I think it gives us an edge going into playoffs," he said.
Fall River finished second in the FRL at 4-1 and Loyalton took third at 3-2.