FOOTBALL: Dinuba holds off Tulare Union, Orosi suffers first loss

Immanuel blanks Hanford West to keep TCC title hopes alive, Reedley also maintains a shot despite road cross-division defeat

Dinuba High linebacker Paul Huerta (42) wraps up a Tulare Union ballcarrier as teammate Pedro Hernandez (74) moves in to clean up during the Emperors’ 35-28 Homecoming Night football victory over the Tribe on Oct. 20. (Jorge Lozoya)
Dinuba High linebacker Paul Huerta (42) wraps up a Tulare Union ballcarrier as teammate Pedro Hernandez (74) moves in to clean up during the Emperors’ 35-28 Homecoming Night football victory over the Tribe on Oct. 20. (Jorge Lozoya)
Jon Earnest
Published October 23, 2023  • 
11:00 am

DINUBA – A big night by senior two-way standout Julian Ramirez helped power the Dinuba High football team to not only a Homecoming Night victory, but an opportunity to improve its postseason seeding.

Ramirez rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns, adding three tackles for a loss and a quarterback sack as the Emperors (5-4, 2-2 West Yosemite League), built a big lead and held off Tulare Union by a 35-28 score on Homecoming Night at Dinuba High Stadium on Oct. 20.

Senior running back Diego Tuttle paced the ground-oriented attack with 149 yards and two touchdowns, while Matthew Guido chipped in with 81 yards on just five attempts as Dinuba’s offense worked the clock and controlled the flow of the game.

Tulare, meanwhile, kept close with an air-based attack that finished with 306 passing yards from sophomore quarterback Jordan Crisp, who also added a short touchdown run. Sophomore Franklin Lockard had 90 receiving yards and two scores while freshman Demaje Riley added 109 yards and a TD, with each player catching seven passes.

But in the end, the victory keeps the Emperors with a chance to move up in the Division Ii postseason playoff seeding with one more victory this Friday, Oct. 20, against Mission Oak. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. The Mustangs (4-5, 1-3) lost a 35-34 heartbreaker to Hanford High on Oct. 20 in Tulare.

Woodlake 22, Orosi 21 – At Orosi, the Cardinals’ perfect season ended as the visiting Tigers scored a tying touchdown and decisive two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter.

Orosi (8-1, 5-1 East Sequoia League) led 21-14 into the final period when quarterback Vincent Duran threw a touchdown pass with two minutes left in the game. The visitors then went for two points and got it when Duran ran it in for a one-point lead. Woodlake then turned away one final Orosi possession to improve to 4-2 in league and 4-4 on the season.

The Cardinals had grabbed a 21-7 lead in the third quarter on rushing touchdowns by Andrew Camarillo (213 yards on 21 carries) and Jason De La Cruz (59 yards on 10 carries, 2 TDs). But Duran threw the first of his two TD passes in the second half to set the stage for the dramatic finish.

Orosi finished the night with 291 total yards, 267 on the ground but managed just a De La Cruz TD run in the first half while settling for a 7-7 halftime tie. Justin Villatoro collected an interception for the Cardinals, who limited the visitors to 223 total yards, just 80 on the ground.

Orosi still can clinch a share of the ESL championship with a win over visiting Orange Cove in the “Battle for the O” game on Friday, Oct. 27. Varsity kickoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Immanuel 29, Hanford West 0 – At County Line Stadium in Reedley, the Eagles (5-4 overall) improved to 3-1 in the Tri-County Conference Sequoia Division race by blanking the visiting Huskies (0-8, 0-3). Immanuel can still get a piece of the TCC title if Reedley High knocks off unbeaten Exeter on Friday, Oct. 27.

The Eagles got a pair of rushing touchdowns from junior running back Shane Spomer (68 yards on 15 carries) while senior John Viscarra (64 yards) and sophomore Seth Hutchinson (40 yards) added rushing touchdowns. Junior Balton King gained 83 yards on 14 carries as the Eagles’ ground game finished with 229 yards on 47 attempts, nearly 5 yards per attempt.

Immanuel led just 7-0 at half, thanks to a short TD run by Spomer in the first quarter, but took control in the third quarter sparked by the defense. An interception by Hutchinson was followed by a long pass from quarterback Jake Horn to Nicolas Coleman, and Hutchinson capped the drive with a 23-yard TD run. Another interception ended a potential Hanford West scoring threat.

Midway through the fourth, a Kase Degroot interception set up Immanuel’s third TD, a short run by Spomer who then added a two-point run for a 22-0 lead. Viscarra capped the scoring with a 24-yard TD run late in the final quarter. The defense held Hanford West to just 85 total yards and forced four turnovers.

The Eagles close out the regular season with a cross division game at home against Central Valley Christian (8-1) in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on Friday, Oct. 27.

Kingsburg 38, Reedley 16 – At Kingsburg, the Pirates (2-7, 2-1 Tri-County Sequoia) were outgained 426-313 by the host Vikings in the cross division matchup. Reedley trailed just 17-10 at halftime before Kingsburg (7-2, 2-1 TCC King Canyon) pulled away with three second half touchdowns.

Senior running back Demetrius Vargas rushed for 90 yards on 12 carries, including a 53-yard TD run early in the second quarter to close the RHS deficit to 14-10. Earlier, Jose Magallon kicked a 26-yard field goal. The Vikings made it a one-touchdown lead on a 33-yard field goal seven seconds before halftime.

Kingsburg got second half touchdowns from Ryan Martinez (TD receptions of 16 and 11 yards) and Dennis Gagnon (2 yard run). The Pirates’ remaining points came on a 49-yard scoring pass from Will Bacon to Jaiden Guajardo. Bacon completed 12 of 27 passes for 157 yards, 73 to Guajardo on four catches. Bacon also rushed for 63 yards on 10 carries.

Reedley hosts unbeaten Exeter (9-0, 3-0 TCC Sequoia) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27 on Senior Night at Sal Gonzalez Field. If the Pirates can pull out a victory, they’ll grab a piece of a three-way tie for the league title with the Monarchs and Immanuel, as well as secure a postseason berth in the Central Section playoffs.

Orange Cove 50, Farmersville 0 – At Orange Cove’s, the Titans (5-4, 3-3 East Sequoia) stormed out to a 27-0 halftime lead and cruised to a shutout of the visiting Aztecs (1-8, 0-6) on Homecoming Night at Titan Stadium.

Orange Cove got four rushing touchdowns from Isaac Angulo,  three scoring  passes from quarterback Oscar Alvarez and the defense held the visitors to 123 yards.

Orange Cove travels to Orosi in the annual “Battle for the O” game against the Cardinals. Kickoff is at 7:15 p.m. Last year, the Titans dropped a 16-14 decision at home..

Minarets 35, Parlier 0 – At O’Neals, the Panthers (1-8, 0-6 Northwest Yosemite League) were limited to 135 total yards and lost three fumbles, one returned for a touchdown by the host Mustangs (5-4, 2-4).

Parlier, outscored 285-58 in its six league losses, will close out the season at home against Riverdale High in a 7 p.m. start on Friday, Oct. 27. The Cowboys (2-7, 1-5) lost by a 49-0 score last week against Liberty-Madera Ranchos.

Jon Earnest