The Minarets Youth Senior team (10-2) has turned its inaugural season into something special. Special as in a trip to the Central Valley Youth Football League Super Bowl after winning their second round play-off game last Saturday, 40-22 over Orange Cove.
The win was payback time for the Mustangs as Orange Cove beat them earlier in the season 36-31.
The game started in familiar Mustang fashion with running back Luke Tovar breaking out for a 60 yard touchdown run on the teams first offensive play of the game. Just 16 seconds into the game the Mustangs led 8-0 after Christian Conti's two-point conversion.
On the teams first play on defense, Jesse De La Cruz picked up an Orange Cove fumble and headed for the end zone. Two plays later, (one minute and four seconds into the contest), Drew Robertson hauled in a touchdown throw from quarterback Nolan Le Forge, his first of three on the day. Conti added the two point conversion for a quick 16-0 Minarets lead.
Orange Cove called time out to rally the team, and rally they did as the Vikings went on to score twice before the half ended, while the Mustangs added a safety following a punt by Tovar that pinned the Vikings inside their own one yard line. Minarets went to the break up 18-14. What appeared would be a blow out, was anything but at the half.
The Mustangs started the second half in much the same way they started the game, a 53 yard LeForge pass to Jakob Walker put the Mustangs up 26-14 following Conti's two-point PAT.
Orange Cove struggled the remainder of the game as the Mustang defense took control with an interception from Tre Nicolulis at the Vikings 10 yard line that was returned for a TD, giving the Mustangs a comfortable 32-14 lead. The Mustangs went on to bury to Vikings, one more touchdown connection from LeForge to Walker for 31 yards put the exclamation point on the dominating win for the Mustangs as they earned a trip to the Central Valley Super Bowl against Fowler.
All this on a somewhat "off" night for the Mustangs with several dropped passes, three which may have gone for touchdowns. Numerous illegal procedure calls against the well disciplined Mustangs, along with some tipped passes that went for picks, kept the Vikings in the game longer than they should have been.
The explosive Tovar was held in check most of the evening, as the Viking obvious game plan was to not let Tovar beat them. That worked out fine, as Minarets went to their passing game to advance to the Title game.
Tovar has had a "record-book" season accounting for more than 2,000 combined yards of offense with his rushing, receiving and kick-off returns in 11 games. He has a total of 26 touchdowns on the season.
"We went into the season not knowing any of our opponents and I couldn't ask for a better result ... the kids played phenomenal," said coach Bob Tovar.
The team beat the Visalia Cavaliers 20-0 the week before in round one of the play-offs on two Tovar TDs and a TD pass from LeForge to Walker.
The team finished the regular season with a league leading 310 points (31 per game average) while allowing just 157 points to be scored on them.
Fowler will host Super Bowl Saturday
The Mustangs will travel to Fowler Saturday for the 7 p.m. league Super Bowl game.
The unbeaten Red Cats know they will have a battle on their hands as squeaked by the Mustangs 36-35 in the teams first game of the season. In that game Tovar ran for four touchdowns and Nicolulis caught a 75-yard TD pass from LeForge. The Mustangs have developed many more players and weapons since that august game.
Along with the offensive player development during the season, the Mustangs defense has been just as impressive, surrendering just 15 points a game on average during the regular season, including two shut outs.
The Red Cats will rely heavily on their quarterback out of the spread/option offense.
Juniors also advance
The Mustangs Junior team will also play Saturday in Fowler for the Central Valley Football Super Bowl title. Coach Bob BeBout's team defeated the Selma Bandits 6-0 last Saturday to go 7-5 on the season.
A Cody Woolsey to Paul Antonious connection for a Mustang touchdown was all Minarets needed to secure a win in a tough defensive battle throughout the game last Saturday. The Junior squad played their best defensive game of the season. The win gave the team its fourth straight win after beating Visalia 16-8, Laton 25-12 and a 41-6 thrashing of Fresno Christian.
The Juniors kick-off at 5 p.m. Saturday.