The win may not have come as smoothly as Ridgeview hoped, but the Wolf Pack is one step closer to defending its CIF Central Section Division III title.
Thanks to some big stops on defense and a 148-yard rushing performance by Darius Smith, the No. 6 Wolf Pack defeated No. 11 Delano 28-20 on Friday in the first round of the Central Section Division III playoffs.
"Our kids played hard. It was a tough, physical game," Ridgeview head coach Dennis Manning said. "Offensively, we struggled tonight. For whatever reason, we didn't come out crisp, we got a lot of penalties, and did a lot of things that were uncharacteristic of our team.
"But we are lucky to win. You gotta give a lot of credit to Delano. I think they played great. It's always tough to play small towns with a lot of pride and they brought it tonight."
The Wolf Pack (6-5) will now be the underdog as it advances in the bracket to face No. 3 Fresno-Washington Union in the quarterfinals on Nov. 22. Ridgeview lost to Washington Union 26-0 in Fresno on Oct. 4. The Panthers had a first-round bye this week.
"We were on about three cylinders tonight and Smith made some big plays and that kept us in it," Manning said.
"We just weren't consistent like we usually are. We need to fix that because Washington Union is going to be a really tough game next week. It will be a big challenge for us and the kids are looking forward to playing them again."
Despite holding a 28-14 lead early in the fourth quarter, Ridgeview wasn't able to maintain that cushion. After Delano cut the lead to 28-20 with ten minutes left, the Tigers (3-8) got the ball back and began driving. That drive was halted by an interception by Ridgeview's Cristion Brown with 4:47 left and it seemed like Ridgeview could cruise to a win, but the Wolf Pack fumbled the ball away moments later.
Delano started driving again, but was faced with a do-or-die, fourth-and-short at the Wolf Pack 5-yard line with 2 minutes left. That's when the Wolf Pack made its biggest stop of the night, holding up the Tigers at the line of scrimmage and forcing a turnover on downs to secure the win.
Ridgeview quarterback Lawrence White had a big night, rushing for 71 yards and one touchdown, and passed for another score.
Tiger quarterback David Ibarra connected on 16-of-29 attempts for 289 yards and three touchdowns. Jose Ayon was targeted most often, reeling in eight passes for 174 yards and two scores.
-- JOELLE MILHOLM
Tehachapi 33, North 7
TEHACHAPI -- The No. 6-seeded Warriors scored four straight touchdowns to open the game en route to a victory over the No. 11 Stars in the first round of the Division II playoffs.
Skylar Valencia had 171 yards rushing before halftime and finished with 207 yards on 25 carries with four touchdowns to set up a rematch with SEYL champion Garces in next week's quarterfinals.
"We came out ready to play. We had confidence and we were prepared, but now we have to get ready for next week," said Valencia.
Tehachapi (8-3) rushed for 350 yards, with Ray Hackleman contributing with 55 yards and Chris Rhodes 41 yards on the ground. David Carter also had a 1-yard touchdown.
The Warriors had two fumble recoveries to help set up scoring drives. One of the turnovers was recovered by David Carter in the first half and the other by Micah Fjeld in the second half.
"North is a good football team. We were able to get some turnovers and some defensive stops, and fortunately, we were able to capitalize on that," Tehachapi coach Steve Denman said.
North (4-7) was the victim of misfortune on its first series when running back David Reyes, the Stars leading rusher this season, went down with a leg injury on his second carry. Reyes did not return.
Standout tackle Jarred Dorton and quarterback Steven Twiss also had injuries that hampered North's offensive efficiency, but both players fought through the pain to finish the game.
"We were banged up in this one. Not having David hurts us because he is dynamic on both sides of the ball. But we had some guys step in and go to work," North coach Chad Brown said.
"The scoreboard doesn't show how hard our guys came out and played. We were dramatically better than the last time we played (Tehachapi) and we came out with a different attitude."
The Stars put together an impressive series on their final drive of the second quarter when Twiss threw a 5-yard TD pass to Michael Zuniga in the end zone.
The drive was set up by a 26-yard reception from Kyle Hood and a 17-yard run by Anthony Lazcano.
Lazcano led North with 104 yards on 24 carries.
"I had a special group of seniors this year and this team worked very, very hard," Brown said.
"They had a good year and put up a good fight against a good Division II team. I couldn't be more proud of them."
Chavez 34, Bishop 10
Mario Garibay had 125 rushing yards, 68 receiving yards and three touchdowns to help the Titans victory in the first round of the CIF Central Section Division IV playoffs.
It was the first football playoff win for the school, which opened its doors in 2003.
"It's been a long time coming," Titans coach Sergio Barajas said of the school's first win. "I'm really proud of these guys because they kept fighting and got the win for everybody. It's our sixth time in the playoffs, so this means were headed in the right direction and this is really for everybody that's involved: from the families to the administration and the teachers; this was for them."
The No. 7-seed Titans went into the fourth quarter trailing 10-7, but two plays into the quarter Garibay got Chavez the lead again with an 11-yard TD run.
Then the Titans took control, outscoring the No. 10-seed Broncos 27-0 in the final quarter.
"Early on we felt very good of our opportunities because we had an extra week of practice but things really tightened up," said Barajas. "In the second half, I just told them to not be afraid to be great, and they really just stepped up."
The Titans rushed for 316 yards, but the defense's performance was a huge factor in the team's win, allowing only 214 total yards from scrimmage, forced two turnovers and did not allow a single point in the second half.
Chavez will play next week against No. 2-seed Central Valley Christian.