Injuries have ravaged the Sonora High football team, which played without five starters on Friday evening.
No one was the wiser, though, as the bandaged-and-bruised Wildcats ran wild on Hilmar, the two-time defending Trans-Valley League champion.
Quarterback Jake Gookin had 178 yards and two touchdowns as Sonora won this battle of former No. 1 teams, 20-13, at Dunlavy Field. The No. 4 Wildcats rushed for 369 yards and three touchdowns, including a score by Jack Camara. Camara finished with 106 yards on 16 carries.
Quarterback Tristan Crowley played for the third-ranked Yellowjackets after leaving last week’s stunning loss to Gustine with a sprained ankle. On Monday, coach Frank Marques said the left-handed senior was questionable for the showdown with Sonora.
Crowley played, and played well. He threw two touchdowns to keep the Hilmar within striking distance.
It’s the fourth time in four years that this budding non-conference rivalry has been settled by 10 points or less. Sonora has won all four meetings.
Kane Rodgers had 66 yards on seven carries, but was double-teamed throughout by Hilmar.
Sonora and Hilmar are headed in opposite directions going into league play.
The Wildcats are the three-time defending Mother Lode League champions. They have won two straight following a messy 0-2 start to the season. Sonora hosts small-school No. 1 Calaveras next week. Calaveras whipped Union Mine Friday.
Meanwhile, Hilmar has lost two straight after beginning the season with victories over Beyer and Lathrop, a pair of large-school opponents. The Yellowjackets host Livingston next Friday before its TVL-opening clash with Escalon on Oct. 6.
To contact reporter James Burns, email email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @jburns1980.