The first half saw the outcome of the game remain very much in doubt early on, as both teams scored once in the 1st quarter and twice in the 2nd quarter. In the 1st quarter, the Yellow Jackets drew first blood with 8:21 on the clock as Molina threw a 13-yard pass to junior running back Dylan Torres for the touchdown. However the extra point was no good, leaving the score at 6-0. The Pirates would respond with 3:29 to go as quarterback Roberto Zendejo scored on a 7-yard run of his own. The PAT failed, making it a 6-6 tie after one quarter of play.
In the 2nd quarter, the Pirates took their first lead of the game as running back Michael Cox scored on the ground with a 3-yard run. The 2-point conversion failed, however, leaving the score at 12-6 to give the Yellow Jackets an opportunity to take back the lead. They would do just that as senior running back A.J. Mejia scored on a 3-yard rushing touchdown. This time the PAT was good, giving the Yellow Jackets a 13-12 lead. Runge’s final score of the game came with 14 seconds to go until halftime as Molina found junior Severo Salas on a 14-yard pass. The ensuing PAT was no good, leaving the score at 19-12. The Pirates would tie it up on the ensuing kickoff just before the half expired as kick returner Dillon Rhodes received the kick and took it 55 yards and into the end zone for the touchdown. The extra point was no good, leaving the score knotted up at 19-19 as both teams went to the locker room for halftime.
The second half saw the Pirates shut out the Yellow Jackets for the remainder of the game. Oddly enough, the lone scoring of the 3rd did not come from the Pirates’ offense but from their defense as they came away with a safety with 1:33 to go in the quarter, taking a 21-19 lead as the 4th quarter drew near. In the 4th quarter, the Pirates scored thrice on the ground to put the game out of reach. The first came with 11:09 on the clock as Zendejo scored on a 5-yard run, with Angel’s kick being true. The final two scores of the game came on the legs of running back Zach Custer, as he busted loose on a 47-yard run with 6:06 left and again on a 48-yard run with 1:54 to go. Following both of Custer’s scores, the kicks were both no good, leaving the score at 40-19 at the end of the night.
Statistically, the Pirates amassed 360 yards of total offense, with all but two yards coming from their ground game. The Yellow Jackets, despite the loss, gained 274 yards of total offense, with a balanced mix of 166 rushing yards and 108 passing yards. When it came to penalties called, the Yellow Jackets were penalized 3 times for 25 yards and the Pirates were penalized 6 times for 40 yards. Wallace noted that Molina’s departure from the game really changed things for the Yellow Jackets. “Losing him, not only is he starting quarterback and team captain, you remove a lot,” said Wallace. “We’re going to have to simplify what we do. We’ll focus on certain sets and let our kids play.”
This week, the Yellow Jackets will welcome the Agua Dulce Longhorns for their annual Homecoming game and the start of District 16-A Division II play. “We’re gonna take it one game at a time,” said Wallace. “We’d like to start district off with a win. We’re gonna keep our kids focused and have them step up and make plays.” Kickoff in Runge is set for Friday, September 23 at 7:30 PM.