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Tigers are State-bound

The Wasco High Tigers continued their march through the playoffs, punching their ticket to the State Championship game. Wasco beat Southern Section champion Cerritos High School 7-6 Friday night, capping a playoff run that saw the Tigers roaring back in the second half for the third straight game.

The Tigers were down early, as Cerritos scored first, taking a 6-0 lead. The point-after was blocked by Jacob Robledo, which turned out to be the difference in the game.

But, in the second half, the offense, led by quarterback David Manzo, started grinding out yardage, with the longest play from scrimmage the whole night for Wasco being a 32 yard pass that set up Wasco's score. It was Hami Lopez, who is the younger cousin of Ram Lopez, scored on a one-yard run, tying the game at 6-6. The extra point was good, giving the Tigers a 7-6 lead.

Cerritos looked like they were going to threaten in the final minutes, beginning a drive on their own 4-yard line. They drove the ball down deep into Tigers' territory, but the Tiger defense came up big again, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Ram Lopez with 28 seconds to go in the game.

Wasco will now head to Pasadena City College to play the Northern Champion, Petaluma- St. Vincent de Paul, for the state championship on Friday afternoon, with the kickoff scheduled for 4 p.m.

It was Wasco's first regional championship in school history, and it was truly a team effort. "It doesn't feel real," said Head Coach Chad Martinez. "We have done so much. We have had so many ups and downs this season, it's been a rollercoaster."

Ram Lopez, who has come up with big plays three weeks in a row, said, "Our defense pushes through until the very end. Sometimes our big, key players, and even our small players have to make big stops. I just had to push through all the way to the last whistle to make that last stop."

The Wasco defense was the star of the game, limiting the Dons to just 38 yards in offense in the second half. On the offensive end, Hami Lopez had a team high 68 yards rushing, with Ram Lopez gaining 48 yards, and big Michael Dominguez adding 42 yards.

The game on Friday meant much to the team, and the community as well. "Wasco loves football, and the football team loves Wasco," said Martinez. "We have had so much support from the community. It means a lot that they came down here, so this championship is not only ours, it is for the entire community of Wasco."


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