High School Sports

Yuba City pulls off upset with ‘best lead blocker in the section’ leading the charge

Takeshi Faupula runs into the Christian Brothers defense during Yuba City’s 54-19 win Friday night.
Takeshi Faupula runs into the Christian Brothers defense during Yuba City’s 54-19 win Friday night.

Dane Tedder had just 49 rushing yards for Yuba City on Friday night.

That’s the wrong stat to look at for the Honkers running back. The number you’re looking for is pancake blocks, of which Tedder had plenty as the 10th-seeded Honkers plowed through seventh-seeded Christian Brothers 54-19 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.

“Dane Tedder is the best lead blocker in the section,” Yuba quarterback Erik Palmquist said. “He’s got heart. He wants to win. He’s a selfless player and it’s great to see. He wants others to succeed and he loves the physicality of it and it works for our offense.”

Everything was working for Palmquist and the Honkers at Hughes Stadium. Palmquist went 5-for-8 passing with 110 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for 125 yards and three touchdowns. He even intercepted a pass and went 52 yards for a touchdown. Palmquist might have tried to drive the team bus home in an effort to help out with everything Friday night.

Palmquist was fired up after the upset win. He was fired up that the Honkers (7-4) were a No. 10 seed. He was fired up because somebody dared pick against Yuba City in the first round. And he’s fired up to take on No. 2 Placer in the quarterfinals next week, which beat the Honkers 52-19 in the playoffs last year.

“I know they beat us pretty good in the playoffs last year,” he said. “It’s gonna be a dogfight. We were projected to lose this game. We knew that. ... We were supposed to lose and we came in with a chip on our shoulder, seeded 10th. We wanted to come in here and show the playoffs that we’re here to play football.”

It took about a quarter and a half to show that against the Falcons. Christian Brothers quarterback Jacob Stewart hit Luke Jones on a crossing pattern for an 18-yard touchdown and a 13-7 lead with 9:57 left in the second quarter.

Then the Honkers took over, scoring five unanswered touchdowns to dominate the latter portion of the game. They did it by air, with Palmquist rolling out and hitting a wide-open Antonio Henry for a 29-yard touchdown. They did it by converting in the red zone. And, of course, bowling ball running back Takeshi Faupula (5-foot-10, 220 pounds) made his presence felt.

The junior trucked in from 3 yards out for a score, but he also showed some nifty moves on a 33-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Faupula had 129 rushing yards to go with his pair of touchdowns.

The takeover didn’t surprise coach Aaron Gingery, who has seen his team adapt and improve all season.

“Early on, (Christian Brothers) did a great job coming in and taking away what we do the best, so we had to make some minor changes and our kids do a real good job with adjustments,” Gingery said. “I think that’s one of the reasons why we tend to start off slow but build as the game goes on because our kids are smart football players and they make adjustments well.”

That could make the Honkers a tricky out for second-seeded Placer (8-2). The Hillmen have won seven straight and are known for a stout defense that has allowed 56 points in the last five games combined, an average of 11 points a game. With a strong offensive line and Tedder leading the way, the Honkers say they’re ready for the challenge.

“With this group, they’re very energetic, they’re very fun to be around,” Gingery said. “They absolutely love the physicality of it and love playing football. That’s been our identity all season.”

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James Patrick has covered the beer scene from Maine to California. (OK, mostly just those two.) He’s worked at newspapers in six states as a sports reporter, sports editor, social media editor and newspaper carrier. He’s as comfortable drinking a High Life as a wild-fermented raspberry sour.