While the high schools packed up their gear till next season, both the Senior (10-3) and Junior (8-5) teams of the Minarets Youth football program played for the Central Valley Youth Football League Super Bowl Nov. 10.
The Senior team lost to the Fowler Wild Cats 28-14 and the Junior team was defeated 44-6 by Riverdale.
Both team's appearance in the championship game was impressive considering this was the first season for Minarets Youth Football.
Minarets senior squad was hoping to avenge their 32-33 loss to the Red Cats in the first game of the season. Unfortunately for the Mustangs they would have to contain the Red Cats 5-foot-7, 160 pound quarterback, Lee Majors. The QB, along with running back Isiah Morano proved to much for Minarets to handle as the RedCats claimed the Super Bowl trophy with the win.
From the first play of the game, fans could tell it was going to be a wild one. The Mustangs Luke Pritchett intercepted Majors on his first pass of the game. On the Mustangs first offensive play, quarterback Nolan LeForge hit a wide open Drew Robinson on a 48 yard completion down to the Fowler 10 yard line, but when the versatile Majors tackled Robinson from behind, he stripping the ball on the way to the ground and the Red Cats recovered the ball.
The Red Cats duo of Majors and Morano led the Red Cats in a drive the length of the field with Moreno scoring from 22 yards out to put the RedCats up 8-0 after the successful PAT.
Following a 65 yard kickoff return from the Mustangs Luke Tovar, Minarets was was at the Fowler 20 yard line. They would drive down to the nine yard line before an intensional grounding call placed them back at the 35 yard line and forced them to punt on fourth down.
Fowler took over from their one yard line and drove the ball 99 yards in six plays. Moreno scored his second TD of the night, a 40-yard reception from Majors to go up 14-0 with 2:41 left in the half.
LeForge went to work, hitting Jake Menezes on a 25 yard pass, to the Red Cats 25. On Minarets next play LeForge hit Jesse DeLaCruz who carried the ball to the Fowler seven yard line as time expired, missing out on a golden scoring opportunity.
The Mustangs started the second half putting the ball in the hands of Tovar, the strong running back that helped get his team to the Super Bowl with his 26 touchdowns on the season. He wasted little time, scoring on his fourth carry of the second half, a 50-yard run that put the Mustangs on the board and gave the team a much needed boost. The PAT by Christian Conti was unsuccessful and Minarets trailed 14-6.
Before the half, Minarets wide receiver Tre Nicolulous was lost for the remainder of the game with concussion like symptoms. Nicolulus had been LeForg's go-to receiver throughout the season, and without him the Mustangs went back to their workhorse Tovar.
After stopping the Red Cats on their next possession, the Mustangs drove the field behind Tovar as he ran for 52 yards on six carries. From the 15, LeForge hit a wide open Menezes for the score and with Conti's PAT, the game was tied at 14-14.
Entering the fourth quarter, this game was playing out much the same way as the teams first meeting, going down to the last possession.
Fowler's Moreno returned the kickoff to their 46 and from there they drove the ball in for the score with Moreno carrying it in from the one yard line to put Fowler up 22-14.
The Mustangs had 4:30 to play and the Red Cats were struggling to contain Tovar, as he compiled 159 yards of his 205 yards on the ground, in the second half. Back to back 15 yard gains from Tovar had the Mustangs driving at the Fowler 45. An untimely sack of LeForge put the Mustangs in a bit of a hole. Facing second and 20, the Red Cats picked off LeForge and returned it to their 12 yard line. Moreno would put the exclamation point on his evening as he scored his fourth touchdown, giving Fowler a 28-14 lead with just 1:50 remaining in the game.
This Mustangs have scored quick and in bunches all season long and led the league in scoring with 330, so Tovar and company were in no way ready to throw in the towel. After taking over on the Red Cats 49, LeForge was picked off once again, ending the Mustangs hopes of a miracle comeback.
Tovar compiled 2,270 yards for the season
"I couldn't be more proud, and this from a team that has 18 players that have never played the game," said coach Bob Tovar.
The Mustangs quickly established themselves as a threat this season behind the running of Luke Tovar. He had more than 2,270 all purpose yards. When teams targeted Tovar, other players stepped up to put points on the board for the Mustangs. Conti's kicking game was outstanding throughout the season and LeForge's receivers, Jakob Walker, Nicoluous and Pritchett had seasons to be proud of as they hauled in pass after pass, moving the chains as they compiled 330 points of offense.
Tovar, as spectacular as he was, had very good running mates to compliment the running attack. Jesse DeLaCruz along with Chase Gathier filled in nicely in the backfield as Tovar was rested.
The defense might have been the biggest surprise of the season, surrendering only 157 points during the regular season, a 15 point per game average. The "Weird O" offense had lineman switching place with position players when games were under control.
Each player on the team played a part in their success, improving each week. It was apparent that the players grew to love their time on the grid iron, be it in games or during practices. Coach Tovar and his staff set the bar high for the teams that will follow and more importantly gained the respect of every team they played while firmly establishing Minaret's reputation in the Central Valley Youth Football League.
Coach Tovar and staff have been chosen to coach the Central Valley Youth Football All-Stars and will start practice this week, returning to Fowler for the All-Star game this Saturday. Kick off is 7 p.m., with the Juniors playing at 5 p.m. A PeeWee All-Star exhibition game will be played between the two games.
The Minarets Mustangs Juniors football team played the Riverdale Cowboys for the Central Valley Youth Football Championship game . Although the scoreboard showed the Cowboys winning 44-6, the Junior players still held their heads high after finishing a very successful inaugural season at 8-5.
The Cowboys dominated from the beginning of the game, recovering a fumble on the Mustangs first play from scrimmage and then needing just one play to score on a 55 yard run by Fernando Zarate.
Throughout the game, the Mustangs seemed on the verge of keeping the game close, but they were plagued with four lost fumbles, dropped passes and multiple penalties which stopped their drives. The halftime score was 22-0. The Mustangs finally got on the scoreboard with a 60-yard run by Lucas Howell in the fourth quarter.
Junior head coach Robert Bebout had 16 first year players on his team this year. Three of five Mustang players voted to the Central Valley Youth Football All Star Game were first year players -- Lucas Howell, Adrian Pond and J.J. Cerenio will represent the Mustangs in the game along with returning players Tyler Asis and Paul Antonis.
"I am happy with effort and dedication the boys and families put forth during this season," coach Bebout said. "This is a team the mountain community can be proud of."