Colfax edges Sierra, advances to 2nd round (VIDEO) |

Colfax edges Sierra, advances to 2nd round (VIDEO)

Tim Rawlins
John Hart/ | The Union

In an offensive explosion at Robert O. Marson Field in Colfax, it was the Falcons’ defensive play at the end that made all the difference.

With just four seconds left in the game and the Colfax football team clinging to a five-point lead, Sierra snapped the ball from the Falcons’ 10-yard line. The Timberwolves’ quarterback, Jake Pruitt, was flushed from the pocket and forced to throw a rushed pass to the end zone. The pass found only grass, and the Falcons charged the field in exuberance, celebrating a thrilling 42-37 come-from-behind victory in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV playoffs.

“It was do or die,” Colfax head coach Tony Martello said. “They had to make the play, or we were going to lose, and they made the play. It showed a lot of character.”

On a cold and crisp but windless night, the contest between No. 8 seed Colfax and No. 9 seed Sierra quickly became a shootout between two impressive offenses.

Sierra was first to get on the board, scoring on a Jake Pruitt to Hunter Johnson 14-yard pass midway through the first quarter. Pruitt was amazing all night, evading the relentless Colfax pressure to throw for 422 yards and five touchdowns.

Colfax answered right back with a touchdown of its own, coming when quarterback Michael Wilson found Chris Harshman on a curl route for a 10-yard touchdown.

Colfax took its first lead of the game in the second quarter. After a beautifully placed punt pinned the Falcons on their own 3-yard line, Wilson ran a play-action pass that fooled the defense just enough for him to find Chas Reisinger near the sideline. Reisinger hauled in the pass, turned upfield and out-ran the Sierra defense for a 97-yard score.

The talented senior receiver finished the night with nine catches for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson was 20-of-35 for 372 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. With the touchdown to Reisinger, Wilson surpassed Nate Ray for the Colfax record of most passing touchdowns in a season. After Friday’s game, Wilson has 43 this year.

Sierra would tie the score just before halftime when Pruitt found Johnson on the same seam route that turned into a score earlier, this time going for 18 yards on the touchdown.

After the break, the scoring and Colfax’s run game really picked up.

Colfax’s junior running back Tim Rawlins busted off a 12-yard touchdown run to give the Falcons the 21-14 edge. Rawlins finished the night with a game-high 144 yards rushing and three touchdowns. All three touchdowns and 104 of his yards came in the second half.

“(Sierra) were about 100 pounds more per player, but our line stepped up and showed a lot of character and heart, and it was awesome,” Martello said.

Sierra, a team that averaged 39 points per game this season, was not about to go away. Pruitt hit on another touchdown pass, this one landing in Lucas Widmer’s hands for an 18-yard touchdown.

Rawlins and the Falcons answered right back with a 3-yard touchdown run.

Trailing 28-21, Sierra made a run, scoring back-to-back touchdowns to grab a 34-28 edge.

Colfax would grab the lead back with seven minutes left in the game with a Wilson to Reisinger 5-yard touchdown. Wilson’s extra point was good, giving the Falcons a one-point edge at 35-34.

Sierra marched right down the field, taking the ball down to the Colfax 4-yard line. But the Falcons held strong, forcing a field goal. It was good, and Colfax had four minutes left to respond.

After a pair of Marcus Jackson runs brought the ball out to the Colfax 32, a unsportsmanlike call bootstrapped to a passing interference call gave Colfax 30 free yards and put them at the Sierra 38-yard line. Wilson would take on the next play, but on second-and-long, Wilson found Jyle Bryant over the middle for a 22-yard gain. Bryant, Colfax’s other 1,000-yard receiver, made eight catches for 100 yards. Now at the Sierra 20-yard line, Colfax gave the ball to Rawlins, and three carries later the Falcons had a 42-37 lead. The only problem — there was 1:09 on the clock.

Pruitt hit Johnson for a 48-yard gain on second down. Pruitt then found Widmer a play later to get them down to the Colfax 10-yard line. On first-and-goal from the 10, Pruitt found Johnson in the end zone, and the talented receiver got his hands on the ball, but a big hit by Colfax’s Hayden Barentine jarred the ball loose. With just four ticks left, Pruitt tried to hit Widmer on a crossing route, but Colfax’s pressure was good, and the pass was errant.

Providing pressure for the Falcons all night were Mario Margherita, Dakota Barnes and Jeremy Cabodi. Cabodi had a fumble recovery and tackle for a loss. Linebackers Jake Madeiros and Bailey Bean also stepped up with big games defensively.

The win propels Colfax (9-2) into a second-round matchup with No. 1 seed Central Catholic (10-1).

“We need to play out of our minds in order to be in the game next week,” Martello said. “We all know that. Everybody in the section knows that Central Catholic is off-the-charts unbelievable. We’ll see where it goes, and we’re proud of our kids.”

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email

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