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Arden Advocate

Honkers stay in playoff contention with blowout of Broncos

Oct 15, 2022 12:00AM ● By By Steven Bryla

Yuba City senior quarterback Nick Afato rolls out of the pocket to his right during a 26-20 loss to Vanden on August 19 in Yuba City. The Honkers defeated Bella Vista 35-6 on Friday, October 14 in what could be their last game of the season. Photo by Christopher Pedigo

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - The Yuba City Honkers varsity football team kept their season alive Friday night with a huge Capital Valley Conference win over the Bella Vista Broncos, 35-6. 

According to MaxPreps, teams need four wins to qualify for the playoffs in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section.

The win Friday night gave Yuba City their third win of the year and snapped a three-game losing skid.

The Honkers last two games ended in losses to Woodcreek and Antelope by single possessions and they had chances to win both games within the final minutes. 

Yuba City (3-6, 2-3 CVC) head coach Willie Burns told the Dispatch that he liked the energy his team brought against the Broncos.

RELATED: Tigers use dominant 3rd quarter to hammer Honkers

“We had an attack mentality,” Burns said.

He added the positive of having the attack mentality was huge and brought confidence to his team because they have been affected by injuries.

Yuba City senior quarterback and outside linebacker Nick Afato led the Honkers with five completions for 97 yards and three passing touchdowns along with six carries for 58 yards. Afato is the team leader in total yards on the season with 725.

Burns told the Dispatch that Afato’s leadership along with fellow senior lineman Noah Dunham is one of the many reasons Yuba City has fought through the close games.

“Our team goes just like they go, they follow the way Nick and Noah go,” Burns explained.

RELATED: Lady Honkers’ playoff hopes loom closer with sweep over River Valley

Honkers senior running back Ryan Grace led the Yuba City backfield in the blowout win over Bella Vista with 13 carries for 172 yards. Grace also had four receptions for 98 receiving yards, with three of the catches going for touchdowns.

Yuba City combined for a total of 376 yards on the ground and almost 500 yards of total offense. 

The final game of the regular season was supposed to be a home game versus River Valley on October 28. However, with the Falcons forfeiting the remainder of their season, Burns told the Dispatch that his team is not looking to schedule another game to replace the opponent and will take the forfeiture win.

“We’re going to use that time to get ready for the playoffs and go in healthy,” Burns told the Dispatch.

According to MaxPreps, the Honkers were projected to be the 11th seed in the CIF SJS Division III playoffs on October 16, but still need that fourth win to meet the minimum required win total to reach the playoffs. There is a bubble team in that playoff bracket with the Ceres Bulldogs on the outside looking in at the bracket. 

Ceres has a current record of 6-2 with two more games to play to make their case for the playoffs.