Caleb Fiedor stood in the end zone shaking his head.
The Golden Valley receiver didn't try to hide his frustration after a 17-10 loss to Sonora Friday night.
"I felt like early on, we had these guys," Fiedor said. "I felt we just kept hurting ourselves. They're a good team, but
I think we're a much better team."
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Big penalties at cruical times and turnovers negated a strong defensive effort as Golden Valley dropped to 1-2.
The biggest penalty of all will carry over to next week.
Quarterback Jeremy Jacobo was ejected after throwing a punch while playing defense. Jacobo will be forced to sit out Thursday's game against Modesto.
"Obviously he made a poor decision," GV coach
Jon Betschart. "He shouldn't have retaliated like that. It hurt our team. We have to learn from it and move on."
Jacobo's penalty came after Golden Valley's defense had stopped Sonora's offense on third down with just over six minutes left in the game.
When Golden Valley finally did get the ball back, it was down to its third quarterback, Matt Martin.
Sergio Gutierrez was one of nine injured GV players on the sideline.
Martin's second pass was tipped and intercepted by Sonora's Chance Carter.
It was a gutsy effort from a GV team that dressed just 28 players.
"We battled," Betschart said. "We played great defense.
I was real proud of our effort."
Senior Fabian Miramontes accounted for all of the Golden Valley scoring through the first three quarters.
Miramontes tied a school record when he drilled a 47-yard field goal that gave GV a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Sonora answered with 14 points in the second quarter, including a Carl Segerstrom's 26-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The third quarter was a disaster for the Golden Valley offense.
GV ran just three offensive plays and turned the ball over twice in the quarter.
But GV quickly got back into the game when Fiedor hauled in a Jacobo pass and raced 74 yards for a touchdown to pull Golden Valley within 17-10 with 9:52 remaining in the game.
Fiedor finished with six catches for 167 yards.
"I was able to run by my guy all night," Fiedor said. "Even the touchdown, I had to come back for the ball a little bit.
"We still have to work on our timing."
Golden Valley appeared to have momentum on its side when it forced Sonora to go three-and-out on its next possesion.
However, GV was penalized for roughing the punter to give Sonora a first down.
A couple minutes later Jacobo's penalty gave Sonora another first down and Golden Valley ran out of chances.
Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 38-5-2462 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.