Football

Branham survives furious Silver Creek rally, clinches spot in CCS playoffs

SAN JOSE — Branham turned in another robust offensive performance Friday in a 35-28 win over Silver Creek to clinch no worse than a share of the Blossom Valley Athletic League Santa Teresa-Valley Division title.

The 35 points scored against Silver Creek was the fewest Branham has scored in any of its seven wins. The Bruins (7-2, 4-0) are averaging 44 points per game on the season, 51.7 points per game in their seven victories.

It’s a testament to our commitment to our philosophy year-round,” Branham coach Stephen Johnson said. “Offensive coordinator Tommy McMahon does a great job of developing quarterbacks. He was the quarterback here in 2012 and just like me got into coaching right out of high school. We’ve really grown up in this program together, starting in our early 20s, late teens.”

Branham's Elias Antillon (2) runs for yardage during the 2nd half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)Branham’s Elias Antillon (2) runs for yardage during the 2nd half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 

The win guaranteed Branham a spot in the Central Coast Section playoffs. Branham lost in the CCS Division IV championship game a year ago, 23-15 to Santa Teresa..

“We’re happy to be back,” Johnson said. “After a tough loss last year in the final, I think this group really wants a chance at redemption. They think about it and talk about it all the time.”

Branham, with its balanced attack, amassed 488 yards of total offense against Silver Creek, 253 rushing and 235 passing.

“Branham is a really good football team,” Silver Creek coach Eric Luescher said. “The guys were just gassed trying to defend their hurry-up. They put together a good plan for us.” 

Silver Creek's Dominic Lim (19) runs for yardage during the 2nd half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)Silver Creek’s Dominic Lim (19) runs for yardage during the 2nd half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 

Jack Lewis completed 20 of 28 passes for 235 yards. He threw for two touchdowns and ran for another. 

Running back Elias Antillion, all 140 pounds of him, carried 31 times for 163 yards. He ran for two TDs and caught a pass for a third score. A running back his size is most often utilized running away from traffic on the perimeter. But as his 31 carries indicate, Branham used him as a workhorse feature back, sending him up the middle, just as often as to the outside.

“I’ve always been an under-sized running back and I’ve always had to prove myself to other teams and even to my own team,” Antillion said. “I can run up the middle when a lot of people are saying, ‘why is that little kid running up the middle?’ I feel I can run the ball as good as one 100 pounds heavier than me.” 

Branham's Elias Antillon (2) runs for yardage during the 1st half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)Branham’s Elias Antillon (2) runs for yardage during the 1st half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 

Branham took the opening kickoff and went 80 yards in 11 plays with Lewis connecting with Preston Conrad on a 27-yard touchdown pass. Conrad finished with a game-high six catches for 83 yards. 

Silver Creek tied it later in the first quarter on a 56-yard run by Gabriel Lim on a fourth-and-three play.

Antillion scored two touchdowns in the second quarter, on a 21-yard pass from Lewis and on a 2-yard run, as Branham took a 21-7 lead at halftime. His third TD, another 2-yard run, made it 35-14 with just under 10 minutes left. 

Silver Creek had zero yards passing in the first half, but QB Trajan Sinatra threw three touchdown passes to Austin Price in the second half, including a 7-yarder with 3:17 left that brought the Raiders within 35-28. However an onside kick was recovered by the Bruins and they ran the clock out on the ground with Antillion carrying on five of their seven remaining plays.

Silver Creek's Austin Price (5) runs into the end zone to score a touchdown during the 2nd half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)Silver Creek’s Austin Price (5) runs into the end zone to score a touchdown during the 2nd half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 

Lim, Silver Creek’s top offensive performer with 133 yards rushing on 13 carries, left the game with a separated shoulder after a 32-yard run in the fourth quarter to set up a Sinatra-to-Price touchdown.

“I give a lot of credit to the boys,” Luescher said. “They showed character and kept fighting until the end.”

Now Silver Creek (6-3, 3-1) needs to win Thursday at Independence to assure itself of gaining the division’s second automatic bid to the CCS playoffs.

“It will be a challenge coming off a game like this and with a short week,” Luescher said. “We’ll get in here tomorrow morning, do some stretching and lifting and start getting ready for Thursday.”

Branham cheerleaders greet Branham players after winning the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)Branham cheerleaders greet Branham players after winning the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
Branham's Elias Antillon (2) scores a rushing touchdown during the 2nd half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)Branham’s Elias Antillon (2) scores a rushing touchdown during the 2nd half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
Branham's Jimmy Scibetta (13) yells in excitement after winning the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)Branham’s Jimmy Scibetta (13) yells in excitement after winning the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
Branham's Jack Lewis (16) is blocked in by multiple Silver Creek defenders during the 1st half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)Branham’s Jack Lewis (16) is blocked in by multiple Silver Creek defenders during the 1st half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
Branham's Jimmy Scibetta (13) celebrates in the end zone after scoring a two-point conversion during the 1st half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)Branham’s Jimmy Scibetta (13) celebrates in the end zone after scoring a two-point conversion during the 1st half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
Branham head coach Stephen Johnson watches the play unfold during the 2nd half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)Branham head coach Stephen Johnson watches the play unfold during the 2nd half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
Silver Creek head coach Eric Luescher talks with his team after losing the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)Silver Creek head coach Eric Luescher talks with his team after losing the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
CORRECTION - Branham's Ryan Nickelson-Stamer (30) lays flat on the field after a play during the 1st half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)CORRECTION – Branham’s Ryan Nickelson-Stamer (30) lays flat on the field after a play during the 1st half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 
Silver Creek's Gabriel Lim (1) is driven off the field after a game-ending injuring during the 2nd half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)Silver Creek’s Gabriel Lim (1) is driven off the field after a game-ending injuring during the 2nd half of the Branham at Silver Creek BVAL football game at Silver Creek High School in San Jose, Calif., on Friday, October 27, 2023. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 

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