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.”