The Crusaders ran their season-long winning streak to eight games, but the Trans-Valley League victory came with a heavy, heavy cost.
Star defensive end Xavier Carlton was reportedly ejected in first half of a 46-7 win on Friday evening and will likely miss next week’s showdown with Hilmar (6-1, 2-1), a game with league title and Sac-Joaquin Section playoff implications.
The Yellowjackets stunned Modesto Christian (8-0, 4-0) in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI final last year, 42-13. Since then, the two small-school programs have been on collision course with Carlton, a rising national recruit with Power-5 offers from all corners of the continental map, garnering most of the headlines.
With Carlton and a large senior class as its centerpiece, the Modesto Christian defense has been one of the brighter stories this fall. The Crusaders have yet to give up more than nine points in a game, but that streak could be in jeopardy next week.
The Yellowjackets feature an explosive offense, led by running back Isaac Sharp and quarterback Treven Crowley. Modesto Christian was expected to balance that star power with its 6-foot-7, 245-pound blue-chipper. Carlton holds offers from Notre Dame, Southern Cal and Oregon, among many others.
The ejection overshadowed a memorable night for Johnny Williams. The wide receiver caught two touchdown passes from Hayden Sauser in the first half and then was crowned Homecoming King at halftime.
Jose Hernandez and Isaac Shinmann also scored two touchdowns in the blowout. Mario Hernandez had a pick-6 interception return.
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