The Minarets Mustangs football team (0-1) opened their second season under coach Becker Marr, hosting the Cardinals of Orosi Aug. Aug. 25. With a second year running a spread offense and a number of returning players, the Mustangs are setting their sights on their first appearance on the valley playoff scene.
Although the Mustangs lost to Orosi 14-0, its performance showed the team is heading in the right direction. The score doesn’t represent the true strength of the Mustangs team, as several key players sat out for disciplinary reasons, while others stepped up. On the first offensive first play of the game, the Mustangs fumbled giving the Cardinals excellent field position, resulting in a score.
The Cardinals would score once more in the first quarter to take a 14-0 lead, that would be all the points the Mustangs defense would surrender. The Mustangs would hold Orosi scoreless for the next three quarters, and unlike teams of the past that would give up points in bunches, the Mustangs defense rose to the challenge.
Middle linebacker Payton Phillips put on a clinic, leading the team in tackles.
The Mustangs got their fist score of the season in the fourth quarter as Tyson Ellis hauled in a 27 yard touchdown pass from Noah Fulton. Fulton took over and went 4 for 7 for 96 yards and the one touchdown. Starter Jacob Cullen was 4 for 25 for 42 yards.
A loss, but a small victory of sorts - a defensive gem, playing without key starters.
The offense had 232 total yards with the ground game picking-up 74 yards, averaging three yards a carry.
“Lots of guys stepped up for us, and we played exceptional football considering we we’re short staffed,”Marr said. “We were missing key players, due to rules, they were forced to sit, and we just missed a few key opportunities in the red zone.”
The Mustangs will host the Sierra Chieftains in the Fourth Annual Dam Bowl” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, after the JV game.. It will be the season opener Sierra.
“This Friday we play a tough opponent in Sierra but we will be back to almost full strength and should be able to compete well,” Marr said. “Our defensive captain Payton Phillips played out of his mind and helped shut down Orosi’s offense for three and a half quarters. We are really focused on playing one game at a time.”