Yucaipa’s Sandoval, James lead late heroics, defense makes stops in 22-19 win at Redlands

Louie Sandoval, No. 9, scores on a two point conversion late in the game to put Yucaipa up by three.

Louie Sandoval came off the bench to help spark two late scoring drives and the defense held Redlands three crucial times, giving the Yucaipa High School football team a 22-19 win on the road last Friday. YHS improves to 2-2 in Citrus Belt League (3-6 overall). Thunderbirds’ coach Justin Price called Sandoval’s second half performance “his coming out party just when we needed it.”

It also keeps Yucaipa’s playoff hopes alive, something that looked improbable two weeks prior.

Sandoval was impressive in the game-winning 72-yard drive. His 8-yard run to the 1 set up the winning touchdown scored by Elijah James on a quarterback keeper. Sandoval caught a two-point conversion to give YHS the 22-19 lead with five minutes left in the game. Sandoval finished with 74 yard on nine carries.

Price said Sandoval was forced into action because Division 1 college prospect David Fisher was taken out due to a concussion.

“I thought there was no chance of getting playing time this season because I play the same position (all-purpose back) as Fisher,” explained Sandoval. “When I put on my helmet to go in, I was scared. But I made the most of my opportunity.”

Others on both sides of the ball excelled throughout. Before his concussion early in the second half, Fisher caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from James to finish with 52 receiving yards on six receptions. The catch made it 7-7 midway through the first quarter. Fisher intercepted a pass in the first quarter, broke up two pass attempts, and returned a kickoff that led to a touchdown. He has now has over 1,000 receiving yards this season.

James threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Austin Bolinger to cut Redlands’ lead to 19-14 in the third quarter. James passing stats were not impressive but his determination was. After he threw two interceptions that were converted into touchdowns, James shook off the mistakes and made big plays when he had to. Along with his game winning scoring run, he converted twice on quarterback keepers on fourth down situations. James’totals were 11-of-19 completions for 109 yards, adding another 57 yards rushing on 14 carries, nearly all keeping drives alive.

“It’s the first time we’ve played great in the fourth quarter all season,” said Price. “We challenged our offensive line and they set the tone for us. We then leaned on Sandoval nearly the whole fourth quarter.”

“Redlands is a good football team. It must defeat Carter for us to make the playoffs,” added Price, whose team faces two-time CBL Champion Cajon at home tonight (Nov. 1) in the regular season finale.

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