Hughson Football
Hughson regains its mojo with 41-0 beatdown of Livingston

Coming off the stinging disappointment of an emotional loss the week before to rival Escalon, Hughson’s football team found the ideal opponent in Livingston to regain its confidence and swagger. The Huskies dominated from start to finish Friday night, racing to a 41-0 victory that wasn’t even as close as the score indicated.

Hughson led 35-0 at halftime thanks to three Robert McDaniel touchdown passes, a long TD run by Alex Villarreal and a blocked punt by Dominic Aguiar that David Delgado recovered in the end zone for another score. The Huskies played mostly reserves in the second with a running clock, adding a final score in the fourth quarter on a Ryan Borrelli TD run.

All in all, it was about as good an outcome as Hughson could want after its 21-14 loss at home the previous to Escalon.

“Our motto is, ‘We’re going to work.’ And we got the job done. We did what we set out to do,” summed up Hughson Coach Shaun King.

The shutout was Hughson’s second of the season; the other came when the Huskies blanked Ceres 32-0 in their first game. More importantly, the victory allowed Hughson to keep pace with Escalon and Hilmar in the Trans-Valley League race.

Hughson is 1-1 in league play and 5-2 overall. It has scored more points (255) and given up fewer points (89) than any other TVL team. Escalon and Hilmar both are 2-0 in league, setting up a showdown for first place this Friday night when they will square off at Modesto Junior College. Escalon thumped Modesto Christian 55-14 last week while Hilmar crushed Ripon 35-0.

King and the Huskies will be rooting for Hilmar against Escalon. If the Yellowjackets hand the Cougars their first league loss, that would give Hughson a chance to move into a tie for first place if it can defeat Hilmar on the road in two weeks. That’s assuming, of course, the Huskies can take care of business this week in their final home regular-season game against Modesto Christian (0-2, 2-5).

“MC has some athletes and they have the best receiver in the county,” said King, referring to Jeremiah Bernard, who has a football scholarship to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. “He catches everything.”

If Hughson plays like it did against Livingston, even Bernard likely won’t be enough for the Crusaders. The Huskies completely dominated the Wolves, who never really threatened to score.

McDaniel finished 8-for-17 throwing with TD passes to Larkin Meyer, David Delgado and Villarreal. The catch by Villarreal on what is known as a “wheel route” out of the backfield was a pleasant surprise because it came on a play that he had struggled with in practice.

“It was something we worked on for a couple of weeks, but it wasn’t successful because Alex kept dropping the pass,” King said. “He was shocked when Robert threw it to him. It was a good read by Robert and Alex was wide open.”

Villarreal also carried the ball six times for 109 yards, including a 56-yard TD run in the first quarter. Hughson punted just one time the entire game. Defensively, Carlos Guizar was among the many stars with five tackles and two of the Huskies’ five sacks.

After the emotional two-week buildup to the Escalon contest, an easy game against Livingston was just what the Huskies needed. This week, the team’s 23 seniors will be honored before their final regular-season home game.

After Modesto Christian, Hughson finishes the TVL schedule with games at Hilmar (2-0, 5-2) and at Ripon (1-1, 3-4).

Beyond the possibility of earning a piece of the league championship, the Huskies still have plenty to play for. They are the defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI champions. Today, they are seeded third behind Sutter (7-1) and Sonora (5-1) in the Division VI playoff bracket. Three more victories presumably would give them a chance for a higher seed and the possibility of more home playoff games.