Sanger trifecta: Perfect regular season, league title, mileston win for coach

Arron Mosby and Christian Graney had interception returns for touchdowns of 90 and 80 yards, respectively, and the Sanger Apaches came out firing Friday night in a 56-21 win against the Panthers that capped an undefeated season and outright County/Metro Athletic Conference title.

Graney’s pick-six saw 27-year Apaches coach Chuck Shidan leaping for joy along the sideline, as Sanger (10-0, 5-0) bolted to a 42-0 lead in the second half en route to giving the coach his 200th career victory.

“It’s been a great year,” said Shidan, whose overall record now stands at 200-110.

He received a hug from each of his assistant coaches as the final seconds ran off the clock.

Sanger is the likely top seed for the section Division-II playoffs. Seeds and matchups will be announced Saturday.

He’s the best coach in the Valley, in my opinion.

Sanger assistant coach Nikko Motta, on Chuck Shidan

“We needed a 10-0 record for a good seed, and, you know – league champs” Shidan said before players whisked him away in celebration.

The Apaches broke the game open on Jalen Cropper’s 75-yard punt return for a touchdown for a 21-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

Andrew Azua scored on runs of 4 and 55 yards and Cropper added his own on a 39-yard keeper out of the wildcat. Senior quarterback Jacob Tijerina had touchdown passes of 22 to Graney and 50 yards to Ricky Moreno.

Memorial (5-5, 2-3) broke through in the third quarter on a 32-yard TD pass from Alec Trujillo to Max Coyle.

“Oh man, it means everything for us,” said Sanger assistant Nikko Motta, a former Apaches lineman who later starred at Fresno State Bulldog.

“We knew what was at stake. We all came out here for coach Shidan. He wanted this. He’s the man. … He’s the best coach in the Valley, in my opinion, and it shows right here.”

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