FIREBAUGH — Dos Palos High had never lost a football game to Firebaugh heading into Thursday’s matchup, and still hasn’t after a 33-28 Broncos victory.
The win clinched a playoff spot for Dos Palos at 5-5. The Central Section allows all teams into the playoffs since most divisions don’t fill a 16-team bracket, but DP has a rule requiring a .500 record to go.
Running back Kailan Hill carried the team, rushing 32 times for 264 yards and four touchdowns.
“Kailan was huge. Kailan pretty much saved us from checking in our gear tomorrow,” said Dos Palos quarterback Christian Escalante, who spent most of the night handing the ball to Hill. “his uncle is Kenny James, so it kind of runs in the family.”
DP’s other touchdown came on a 20-yard Isaac Suarez run. Hill gave the Broncos the lead for good on a 1-yard plunge with 9:34 remaining. Firebaugh’s next drive stalled on the DP 46-yard line, one of the few defensive stops by either team.
Two plays into DP’s next drive, Escalante launched a pass over the middle which was picked off by Firebaugh’s Carlos Ramos, giving the Eagles hope.
Firebaugh quarterback Markus Espinoza hit Christian Patlan for a 41-yard pass on the next play, putting Firebaugh at the 9-yard line.
Two runs and two incomplete passes later, Dos Palos forced a turnover on downs with 2 minutes left, giving DP the win. Dos Palos (5-5) played the game without leading receiver Jerry Warren, who injured his ankle in last week’s win over Avenal, to finish second in the West Sierra League.
Playoff brackets come out this weekend.