With more than 5,000 people in attendance and media from every imaginable outlet on hand at Om Wraith Field in Paradise last Friday night, the Williams Yellowjackets had the task of facing the hometown Bobcats as they took the field for the first time since last year’s devastating Camp Fire.
Amid the emotional return, the 'Jackets gave it their all, but found themselves on the short end of a 42-0 score to open the 2019 campaign as Paradise came out firing on all cylinders putting up 35 first half points to blow the game open.
First year head coach Jeff Lemus knew the situation would be a difficult one given the circumstances and the fact that Paradise was a Division II program up until this year and returned a significant number of players, but in spite of the setback, was not disappointed by his team’s effort.
“It was nice to take part in playing Paradise in their first game since the incident. Our boys were excited to play and amused by the media attention, but we played a dominant program. The difference in size and speed was evident early, but I was proud of our performance,” Lemus said.
Despite being held to just over 100 yards of total offense, there were some bright spots including the play of receiver Aldo Ambriz who made six receptions for 68 yards and center Hector Rosales who was solid upfront all game long for the 'Jackets.
While defensively Williams struggled to contain the Bobcats, especially early on, the 'Jackets got a team high seven tackles from defensive end Jerry Gomez who also had a fumble recovery.
Lemus was also pleased with the play of Jesus Jauregui who made four tackles, recovered a fumble and did a nice job filling the hole from his linebacker spot.
The 'Jackets (0-1) are on the road again this week as they look to regroup against Live Oak, a team that they beat handily last year 42-21, but who could present more of a challenge this season.
Four other county teams will open the season this Friday as Colusa battles Mt. Shasta at home in a rematch of last year’s Division V first round playoff game, Maxwell hosts Esparto, Princeton entertains
McCloud and Pierce travels to Redding to face U-Prep.