With both teams looking for its first win of the early season, the Minarets Mustangs (0-2) hosted Mariposa (1-1) Sept. 9, and found themselves on the short end of a 42-23 score.
The week prior, Mariposa opened the season with a 49-39 loss to Summerville, and Minarets opened their season with a loss at Sierra, 42-16.
The Mustangs, displaying new yellow home jerseys, scored 14 points in the first quarter but only managed nine points in the remaining three quarters.
Their 333 yards of offense came from a balanced attack with quarterback Jacob Cullen con necting on 17 of 36 passes for 171 yards and one TD, with no interceptions, and the running game picking up 162 yards.
Cullen had the majority of the carries, 16 for 67 yards, scoring twice on the ground. Sophomore Tyson Ellis contributed 64 yards on six touches with Chase Gauthier adding 19 yards on five carries.
Cullen’s favorite receiver was Ellis out of the backfield, targeting him seven times for 45 yards on the night. Senior Christian Conti recorded 59 yards on four receptions, with one TD.
On defense, sophomore Aaron Hall led the team in tackles for the second consecutive week with six solo and 11 assisted tackles.
Defensive end Grant Denny had his best performance as a Mustang. In only his second year playing football the 6-foot-8, 225 pound senior had five solo tackles and four assists.
As well as Hall and Denny played, missed tackles was the difference in this game, as the Mustangs had great opportunities to make stops on third and long but failed to wrap up Mariposa runners resulting in first downs.
“We struggled to make tackles,” said coach Becher Marr, “You can’t win games missing tackles. We have to improve defensively to give us more opportunities on offense.”
Marr said it is encouraging to see his team improving every week and having tough opponents that really push the Mustangs that will help as the season goes on.
The Mustang JV team struggled after losing their quarterback Martin Urroz early in the game against the Grizzlies, losing 52-12.
The Mustangs went toe to toe with Mariposa until losing their play caller, then had a hard time executing plays. Freshman Jaimir Zuber was a bright spot for the Mustangs having a good game on both sides of the ball, scoring once on offense and once on defense.
Mustangs host Tigers Friday
The Mustangs host the Tranquility Tigers (0-2) Friday night. Coach Juan Sandoval open his season with a 44-7 thumping at the hands of the Caruthers Blue Raiders then lost to McFarland 40-33 in their second game.
Both the Tigers and the Mustangs have given up 84 points in two games.
Defense will be the key as the Mustang look to get in the win column before a much-anticipated game against the Badgers of Yosemite at home on Sept. 23.
“I think we will have a very good week and will be ready heading into our biggest game of the season,” said Marr, a former Badger. “We aren’t looking past Tranquility this week which will be hard to keep the guys focused because the game against Yosemite is the one everyone is waiting for. I coached against Burnett when he was at Kerman and know he always brings a well prepared team.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. for varsity - 5 for JV.