The Minarets Mustangs, in their final tune-up before the regular season, scrimmaged the Firebaugh Eagles last Friday.
The Eagles, returning 30 varsity players from last years roster of 38, looked sharp from the first snap as quarterback Josh Allen lead them on scoring drives their first three possessions. Allen, who threw for more than 2,200 yards last season, looks to surpass those numbers as he connected time after time with well covered receivers.
The Mustangs secondary struggled after losing 6-foot-2, 145 pound senior safety Sam Reyes to a injury in practice the day before. The Eagles took advantage, as the Mustangs were beat on the deep ball for four scores.
The Mustangs did a good job at containing the run, something they struggled at last season.
The Minarets scored three touchdowns in the scrimmage including a quarterback sneak from Keenan Reardon, and a 40 yard scamper by running back Kyle Reed. Junior Justin McLeod scored on a short pass in the flats that went for 35 yards.
"We got beaten by a much better team at a different level of development," head coach Bob Kelly said. "Our effort was generally good, but we still have a lot of football to learn before Sierra, which will give us a chance against them. We're looking forward to playing another established team and see where we stand in our development. We learned a bunch of good lessons from our experience at Firebaugh which will give us something to work on before Sierra."
Running back Angel Saenz, the Mustangs No. 1 back, didn't get a carry in the scrimmage and Reardon only threw five and 10 yard outs during the scrimmage.
Kelly was a bit reluctant to show his bag of tricks with the coaching staff of Sierra, a team the Mustangs open with this week, sitting in the stands.
The coaching staff were able to get a good look at all the players as they substituted heavily throughout the scrimmage. Both back up quarterbacks, Senior Jackson Soares and junior Justin Black looked sharp in their turns under center.
Mustangs host Chieftains Friday
Minarets play host to the Sierra Chieftains Friday night, a team that played toe to toe against Firebaugh in a scrimmage preceding the Mustangs.
Sierra is coming off a 7-4 season, which included impressive wins against Fowler and Caruthers. The Mustangs will need to contain No. 51 Justin Harper, a powerful runner that had two rushing scores in their scrimmage.
In turn, the Chieftains will have to deal with Minarets new "Fly" offense. What the Mustangs lack in size, they make up with speed, which will be showcased from their slot position, featuring Reyes, McLeod, senior Cosmo Tracy,and senior Connor Reid.
The Mustang's running backs will rotate on a regular basis. Senior Mitch Pritchett, as well as Saenz, Reed and junior Zack Clayton should all get their share of carries.
Defense should prove to be the difference in this one. Mustangs defensive coach Steve Cordel has been hard at work all week preparing for the Chieftains which run a similar offense scheme to the "Fly" but out of the "Pistol."
Coach Bob Tovars was pleased with his JV squad, the Mustangs dominated the Eagles throughout the scrimmage, at one time stopping them on seven consecutive attempts from the Minarets one-yard line. Both Mustang quarterbacks, Christian Conti and Luke Pritchett did well.
Kick-off: JV, 5 p.m. varsity, 6 p.m.