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Top sports moments: Braves beaten by Honkers in D-III football title tilt
The year certainly provided a healthy dose of excitement for sports fans in Glenn County, with varsity high school, junior varsity and even youth sports programs shining when the lights were brightest.
There were Northern Section championships and league championships, as well as appearances in championship contests, and win or lose, they all gave us reasons to cheer.
For the second consecutive year the Willows High football team turned its season around in the playoffs, pulling off a series of upsets en route to a Northern Section Division III championship.
The Honkers survived an injury to Trevor Candelaria and overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to beat Hamilton High 21-20 on Nov. 21 in Hamilton City.
"I don't know what it is, I don't know if it's the mentality of these kids, I don't know. They're clutch, they've got ice in their veins," Willows coach Jim Ward said.
With Candelaria out on the offensive line, the Honkers marched 63 yards in 10 plays and junior running back Geoffrey Bateman ran in an 11-yard touchdown with 3:18 left in the game.
The one-point margin of difference came from Daniel Macias' extra-point kick that was pushed back 15 yards due to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on the touchdown.
The distance, a muddy field and the championship stage didn't phase the junior kicker, who kicked a game-winning 27-yard field goal in the rain Friday against top-seeded, and previously undefeated, Pierce. His kick Wednesday was a no-doubter, well above the crossbar and right down the middle.
The Braves had missed the PAT following the score that put them up 20-14.
The Honkers' semifinal game was every bit as dramatic, as the Honkers and previously unbeaten Pierce were scoreless at the end of regulation time in a driving rain.
After making the tackle that kept the Bears out of the end zone on fourth-and-one in overtime, Macias split the uprights with a 27-yard field goal to catapult the Honkers into the championship contest.