SANGER – The Sanger West High Hornets have had a breakthrough year in their second season of varsity football play, collecting their first three victories this fall as the program continues to grow.
But the visiting Roosevelt High Rough Riders reminded the young squad that it’s still a fledgling program, as senior quarterback Jackson Kloster threw for 376 yards and a school record six touchdowns in a 56-25 drubbing at Tom Flores Hall of Fame Stadium on Oct. 20. Sanger West fell to 3-6 on the season, 2-4 in North Yosemite League play.
“We’re still trying to build this program, and trying to build that culture and build that competitive atmosphere,” said SW coach Rob Thompson, whose squad has victories over Del Oro and league rivals Hoover and Madera South. “It’s gonna take a couple of years, but we just get back out there on Monday.”
Roosevelt, meanwhile, continued its progress under first-year coach Josh Kloster, a former Hall of Fame multi-sport standout at Lemoore High and ex-Fresno State player.
“It’s been a process, but they’re actually playing pretty good football right now,” he said of his team. “We’re able to run the ball, we’re more disciplined than we’ve been here in a long time with Xs and Os. We’re moving the ball pretty methodically down the field.”
Kloster’s son Jackson and a set of explosive receivers played a big part in the rout, with the 6-foot-3, 205 pound senior riddling the Hornets with strikes to speedy seniors Jeremy Young and Deavion Fields. Young was spectacular, snagging 12 catches for 196 yards and four touchdowns including a 45-yarder. Fields and Jeremiah Romero also had scoring catches.
“They just continued to work hard and get better every week, and it’s showing on the football field,” Josh Kloster said of Roosevelt (5-4, 3-3), which can go above the .500 mark with a win over Fresno High this week.
The Hornets, meanwhile, showed increased offensive explosiveness behind junior quarterback Brendan Hall and some big-play receivers. Hall, a transfer, threw for three scores, one a 70-yard catch and run to Daray Bland in the first quarter. A 60-yard pass and run to Tay Moreau also set up a short TD pass to Aden Rodriguez in the second quarter.
“To get a couple of [league] wins this year is obviously a victory, and we’re still celebrating those little victories as we go along,” Thompson said. “We’re not the big established programs quite yet, so those are what we kind of hang our hat on. But we’re clearly not there yet. We’ve got to tackle better and we’ve got to play defense.”
Sanger West closes the regular season Thursday, Oct. 26, at 7:30 p.m. against first place Sunnyside High. The Hornets then will see where they in Division IV (their base division) or Division V postseason seedings.