Fresh off their 21-14 victory against the Dos Palos Broncos Aug. 19 in Dos Palos, the Los Banos Tigers varsity football team had high hopes when it traveled to Hilmar to play the Yellowjackets.

Despite another solid performance by the Tiger defense, Los Banos dropped a 21-7 decision to the Yellowjackets.

Tiger defensive back Jamison Braniff got Los Banos off to a great start, when he blocked a Yellowjacket punt and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown. When Jose Esquivel kicked the conversion, The Tigers held an early 7-0 lead.

However, that would be the only time the Tigers would cross the goal line all night. Hilmar tied the score at 7-7, when Jax Bronco scored on a three-yard run, and McKade Jensen added the tying conversion.

The score remained tied until the third quarter when, after Los Banos turned the ball over on downs at its own 26-yard line. Hilmar’s Luis Vargas found the end zone on a 26-yard touchdown run and with Jensen’s second PAT, gave the Yellowjackets a 14-7 lead.

Hilmar closed out the scoring late in the fourth quarter when Vargas scored his second touchdown from four yards out. With the Jensen conversion, the Yellowjackets upped their lead to 21-7.

The Yellowjackets defense stymied the Tiger offense all night long, holding Los Banos to just 260 total yards.

There were some bright spots for the Tigers on defense, as Mark Carreiro and Jett Lindeman recorded game-high seven tackles each; and George Garcia, Raymond Fernandez, Lorenzo Chavez and Kayson Welch each added six stops for Los Banos.

Braniff’s blocked punt and return for a touchdown was the biggest highlight all game long.

After beginning the season with two road games, the Tigers will finally host a game Sept. 3, when the Orestimba Warriors visit Loftin Stadium with JV kickoff at 5 and varsity at 7 p.m.

Michael Martin