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Foresthill defeated in section title game again

By: Garrett Johnston / Special to the Journal
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The Foresthill Wildfires lost their CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. VI title game to the Brookside Christian Knights 60-26 on Saturday afternoon at the Grape Bowl in Lodi.
It marked the second time in two years that Foresthill has made it to this section championship game. Unfortunately, in both cases they have fallen short of winning the section title.
Last year it was a 62-6 rout at the hands of Bradshaw Christian.
This year it was a tale of two halves.
The first half started well for the Wildfires (10-2). Although Brookside Christian struck first on a 65-yard drive to make it 6-0, the Wildfires responded emphatically with a 1-play, 58-yard touchdown drive on a strike from senior quarterback Tommy Sawyer to Ryan Corkrean that tied the game at 6-6.
Sawyer had an impressive first half, going 6 for 10 passing for 218 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown as well.
But Brookside’s running game was relentless, highlighted by touchdown rushes from Jacob Matuska and Cameron Chew.
The halftime score was 20-18 with Brookside Christian leading after the Wildfires missed a late first-half 2-point conversion.
They would never get any closer. The second half saw the Knights’ rushing game and pass-rush attack bury any chances of a Foresthill comeback.
The Knights outscored the Wildfires by a 40-8 margin during the decisive final half.
As good as Sawyer’s numbers were in the first half, the Brookside Christian pass rush put the clamps on him in the second half.
“They brought a whole lot more pressure in the second half than the first half,” Foresthill coach Jim Herlehy said. “That was an issue. We had seemingly all the time in the world in the first (half) and in the second half that wasn’t there.”
The Knights began rushing more players than the Wildfires had blockers and the Foresthill line could not hold the constant onslaught.
On defense, the Wildfires struggled to keep up with Brookside Christian’s running attack led by senior Darius Henton with 153 yards on 17 rushes and two touchdowns.
“He’s the heart of our team,” Brookside Christian coach Latef Grim said. “As he goes we go. Everybody just continues to feed behind him.”
Even in defeat Foresthill senior Wes Archbold, playing in the final high school game of his career, had a big-picture perspective.
“I had fun,” Archbold said. “It’s been a good senior year for the most part. We played a heck of a game.”
“We played a really good team. That’s all we can ask for.”
For coach Grim, the section title is a rewarding prize.
“This one means more than anything,” he said. “This is a group of kids that like being around each other.”
Herlehy, finishing his eighth season as the Wildfires’ head coach, was also reflective after the game.
“The final outcome wasn’t what we wanted but I’m very proud of the season that we’ve had and I was very proud with the game we played today,” Herlehy said.
“This is our second 10-2 season in a row and I think that we’ve established ourselves as a team that’s going to be reckoned with for years to come.”