BY STEVE LYNCH Special to The Californian
SANGER -- West High's magical playoff run finally hit a brick wall. It came in the form of Sanger's defense which completely shut down the Vikings offense leading to a 41-7 Central Section Division II victory for the Apaches Friday night at Tom Flores Stadium.
No. 11 West (6-7) mustered only 121 yards of offense, including just 15 in the first half, as second-seeded Sanger (10-2) took command early and never let up.
"You never want it to end, but we played a really good football team," West coach Mark Camps said. "They're the number two seed for a reason."
Sanger will now play No. 1 Garces, which beat No. 5 Fresno-Sunnyside, for the D-II title next Friday night.
Sanger quarterback Ryan Ramirez ran 18 times for 92 yards including a pair of 1-yard touchdowns, while completing 3-of-4 pass attempts for 96 yards and a touchdown.
"We were actually pretty surprised by the final score, but we were really happy with how our team played tonight," Sanger coach Chuck Shidan said.
West, which allowed just 16 points combined in its two playoff wins, had zero first downs in the first half and trailed 21-0 at halftime.
The Vikings' offense moved the ball much better in the second half but was derailed by two interceptions and a fumble.
"We just couldn't get any rhythm going until it was too late," Camps said. "The kids fought hard but tonight we were over-matched."
West's lone score, a 2-yard Stanley Dubard TD run, came with the Apaches leading 35-0 late in the fourth quarter, which was played with a running clock.
Dubard, who rushed for over 1,200 yards this season, finished with 52 yards on 12 carries.
The Vikings went three-and-out on all four of their first-half possessions.
"They hustled to the ball pretty good," Dubard said of Sanger's defense.
Shidan said he didn't make any changes to his normal defensive scheme.
"We really looked very quick tonight," Shidan said. "West has some players with big-play capabilities. We took that away from them."
Sanger's offense got rolling early, gaining 254 yards in the first half.
The Apaches scored touchdowns on three straight possessions after a fumble ended their first time with the ball deep in West territory.
Stifled completely by Sanger's swarming defense, West's longest play of the first half went for four yards.
Sanger drove 60, 64 and 59 yards for its first-half scores.
Ramirez had a hand in two of them.
The 5-foot-10 senior avoided a sack before firing a 34-yard pass to Daniel Macias to make it 7-0 with 3:27 left in the first quarter.
He then followed his center into the end zone for a 1-yard TD run that made it 14-0 less than three minutes into the second quarter.
West took the second-half kickoff and methodically marched 50 yards to the Sanger 30. But after a incomplete pass and then a false start, West quarterback Enrique Salazar failed to connect on three straight passes, ending the scoring threat.
Despite falling short against Sanger, Camps said he was proud of his team.
"Just the patience and the persistence of the kids and the coaches has been outstanding," he said.