Bakersfield Stockdale wide receiver-safety Jeremiah Gradowitz caught eight passes, including two scoring ones from Bryson Dunn, for 105 yards total Friday night, but he made his biggest play on defense.

Gradowitz intercepted Righetti quarterback Logan Mortensen and ran 30 yards for a score with just over three minutes left, effectively killing the home team's last hope. The No. 10 Mustangs (6-5) beat the No. 7 Warriors (7-4) 34-24 at Righetti's Warrior Stadium in the first round of the CIF Central Section Division 2 Playoffs.

After a 6-0 start, the Warriors dropped four of their last five games.

Righetti had a hard time stopping Stockdale either on the ground or through the air, but, with the Mustangs ahead 27-24 and facing a fourth-and-one at the Righetti 26, Henry Aguilar and Kidasi Nepa stacked up Jaykob Jones for no gain with 4:48 left.

Six plays later, Gradowitz grabbed the Mortensen pass and scored the last touchdown of the game.

A Righetti season that culminated with a berth in the Division 2 title game last year ended in the first round this time. Stockdale turned the tables on Righetti after the Warriors beat the Mustangs 21-0 at Righetti in the 2018 semifinals.

"They beat us up in the trenches on both sides of the ball," Friday night, said Righetti coach Tony Payne after the bigger Mustangs ran the ball for 258 yards and Dunn threw for 133.

All of Righetti's top flight receivers, Chase Reynoso, Isaiah Navarro and Jake Steels, also a top cover man for the Warriors on defense, were out with injuries but Payne downplayed that.

"This is football and, you know, all of the teams, even here on the Central Coast, have had some top guys out with injuries," said Payne.

"I couldn't find the answers. I wish I could have. We have a lot of talented players here at Righetti, and I couldn't put 'em in the right spots."

The Warriors did make the big stop on Jones on that fourth-and-one. Other than that, they didn't stop him very often. Jones ran for 159 yards.

Darius Larsuel ran for 82 yards for the Mustangs, with most of his yards coming in the second half. Each had a touchdown reward in the second half for their good work on the ground. Larsuel scored from five yards out and Jones scored from the Righetti 10 later.

Righetti took a brief 7-6 lead at the 3:48 mark of the second quarter on a Diego Macias PAT kick. That came after a Stockdale defender interfered with Christian Licerio, Licerio grabbed Mortensen's pass anyway, broke free and scored to complete a 52-yard scoring play.

The Mustangs went ahead for good with a 96-yard drive in just under two minutes. Gradowitz, running free up the middle, finished the drive by taking Dunn's pass and turning it into a 31-yard touchdown pass on fourth down.

Macias kicked a 30-yard field goal to pull Righetti within 13-10, and that was the halftime score.

Register for more free articles
Stay logged in to skip the surveys

The Warriors came up short despite terrific catches in the end zone for touchdowns by Chris Miller and Casey Daniels. Both caught the ball with two Stockdale defenders practically draped on them.

Miller hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass from Mortensen in the third quarter, and Daniels leaped and pulled in a 29-yard scoring pass from the Righetti senior lefty in the fourth. Daniels held onto the ball as he tumbled in the end zone.

With his top receivers out, Mortensen threw for 254 yards and three scores. Most of his connections went for big gains. Miller had three catches for 42 yards, Licerio had two for 76 and Daniels had two for 64.

The ground game was a Righetti hallmark last year, but it was all Stockdale when it came to the ground attack Friday night. The Warriors ran for just 25 yards.

Stockdale will play at No. 2 Fresno San Joaquin Memorial in the quarterfinals next Friday night.

Women's cross country

Southern Cal Finals

SAN DIEGO — Hancock College finished 27th out of 30 teams at the Southern California Finals at Mission Bay. The Bulldogs did not advance to the state meet.

Sierra Skinner led the Bulldogs, finishing in 113th place in 23 minutes, 51 seconds over the 5K course.

Scoring teammates following were Michele Marceleno (135th), Mireya Martinez (158th), Yasmin Mendez (160th) and Rachel Mallory (171st).

"We're happy with the season we had this year," veteran Hancock coach Louie Quintana said.   

Get in the game with our Prep Sports Newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.