Minarets High School varsity football coach Bob Kelly wanted to show the community of North Fork the team appreciates the town's support, and what better way then to bring the team's Aug. 23 purple-yellow scrimmage to North Fork Elementary School. This should be the coming of age season with 25 of the 38 players being seniors The majority of these seniors were part of the first football team at Minarets four years ago. At its inception, the team had only five players that had ever stepped onto a football field.
The team had it's share of growing pains during its first four seasons, playing against teams that were bigger, stronger, and rich in grid iron tradition. The Mustangs recorded their first varsity win last season, 57-0 over Riverdale, in their first year in West Sequoia League play.
The Mustangs went 1-19 in their first two seasons. The first year team had 28 sophomores. Other young programs in the valley struggled in their first two years of varsity ball Sierra Pacific went 2-18, and Madera South 1-20.
Mustangs faithful will notice quite a difference this year a new staff, including Kelly and former JV head coach Steve Cordel. Dave Hall is the lineman coach, along with former JV coaches Darren Soares and Pete Reardon coaching the receivers and corners. This year the Mustangs will add an eye-in-the sky (a coach in announcer's booth), something they have not had in previous years.
Most noticeable, the Mustangs will show a new Fly offense that was designed as a way to effectively move the ball with undersized lineman, but has become a way to move the ball for any team, any size, and at any level. It is a mis-direction, ball concealing, deception offense.
Running the Fly will be quarterback Keenan Reardon, 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, a four year starter, who has good running backs and receivers behind him. Senior Angel Saenz, 6-foot, 200 pounds, leads a talented backfield along with 6-foot-3, 185 pound Mitch Pritchett. Speedster Kyle Reed, 5-foot-9, 146 pounds, will play slot receiver.
Senior Cosmo Tracy, 6-foot1, 175 pounds, will be at wide receiver along with first team all league senior wide out, Sam Reyes, 6-foot-2, 160 pounds, and 6-foot-4 sophomore receiver Mason Ellis. Ellis led last years JV team in scoring as a freshman.
The Mustangs have a handful of new transfers this year, some of which will make an immediate impact on the team. Senior Kaleb Luther and juniors Zack Clayton and Steven Albonico will see first team action. Clayton 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, has impressed coaches throughout summer work outs. Displaying speed and skill, Clayton is proving to be capable of playing several positions on offense as well as defense.
Luther, 6-foot, 185 pounds, was a late transfer last year, and the senior will see play on both sides of the ball. Albonico is impressing the coaching staff at linebacker.
Cordel, a second team All-American out of Fresno State, coaches the defensive squad. He currently teaches Computer Science for Central High School where he was brought in to re-vamp the defense. The Mustangs will be a vastly improved unit on the defensive side of the ball.
Minarets will score plenty of points this year but must improve on their 34 points a game surrendered on defense. They will be put to the test this Friday as they travel to Firebaugh for a scrimmage against the Eagles. A team that went 7-4 last year and lost only eight seniors from a squad of 38.
8-30 - 6 p.m.: At Firebaugh (scrimmage)
9-6 - 7:30 p.m.: Sierra at Minarets
9-13 - 7:30 p.m.: At Immanuel
9-20 - 7:30 p.m.: At Avenal
9-27 - 7:30 p.m.: At Farmersville
10-4 - 7:30 p.m.: Orosi at Minarets (homecoming)
10-11 - 7:30 p.m.: Caruthers at Minarets
10-18 - 7:30 p.m.: At Riverdale
10-25 - 7:30 p.m.: Fowler at Minarets
11-1 - 7:30 p.m.: At Parlier
11-8 - 7:30 p.m.: Laton at Minarets
JV games at 5 p.m.