November 19, 2011
Shocker in Colfax: 'Why not us?' Hawks pull off dramatic upset

It was shocking enough that upstart Liberty Ranch - playing its first year with seniors and coming off a 1-9 2010 maiden varsity campaign - upset second-seeded and previously unbeaten Colfax 33-32 in Friday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV football quarterfinal in Colfax.

It's the way the the Galt school did it that ranked as even more stunning for the Sierra Valley Conference co-champions.

The seventh-seeded Hawks (9-3) trailed Colfax 26-7 late in the second quarter on three touchdown passes by Austin Young and a 19-yard scoring run by Sam Quinlan.

Then the turnaround started in the icy mountain air.

Quarterback Jake Tibbetts scored on a seven-yard run to cut the lead to 26-13 just before the half.

Wiernicki's 10-yard scoring run midway in the third quarter moved them to within six points, then the Hawks took the lead, 27-26, with 4:35 to play on a Tibbetts to Sean Avis 35-yard scoring strike.

Colfax (11-1) quickly bounced back. Austin Perry's 35-yard scoring run put the Falcons back ahead 32-27 with 3:17 to play.

But Liberty Ranch clearly had the momentum. Tibbetts had runs of 13 and 35 yards and Wiernicki a 21-yarder before he scored on a two-yard run with 26 seconds to play.

Young's 50-yard Hail Mary to David Mowbray on the game's last play fell incomplete near the goal line.

And just like that it will be the Hawks (9-3), whose mantra is "Why Not us?", that will play at No. 3 Hilmar (10-2) in Friday's semifinals.

Young finished 16 of 29 for 326 yards and three touchdowns, according to Mike Ray of the Colfax Record.

Hunter Perez, hindered by a bad ankle, rushed for 59 yards on 15 carries, but he became the first Colfax runner to eclipse the 2,000 yard rushing mark for a season with 2,001 yards.

Wiernicki had 203 yards on 34 carries and three touchdowns, according to Ed Yevelev of the Lodi News-Sentinel.

Wiernicki is second in the state and first in the section wtih 2,435 rushing yards.

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Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at or

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