The Minarets Mustangs (1-1) racked up a total of 552 yards in offense to even its record, while taking possession of the Golden Brick in a 45-7 thumping of the Sierra Chieftains (0-1) last Friday. It was the 4th Annual Dam Bowl, with the series now tied at two wins each.
After dropping their season opener 14-6 to Orosi, playing understaffed after sitting several starters as a result of violating team rules, the Mustangs played at nearly full strength. There were a few changes in coach Becher Marr’s offense as Noah Fulton took over quarterback duties for the Mustangs. The senior replaced Jacob Cullen in last week’s game and connected with Tyson Ellis for the a 27-yard touchdown strike, the Mustangs’ only score in the loss.
Against the Chieftains, Fulton completed 13 of 20 passes for 339 yards while breaking the school’s single game record for throwing TDs, with five. He also carried the ball 9 times for 50 yards including one touchdown, which broke the record of 5 TDs formally held by Keenan Reardon (3 passing, 2 running). Fulton accounted for 389 yards in offense. He hit five different receivers, with four receivers getting a TD, and ended the game with a 147.9 QB rating. At 6-foot-5, 180 pounds, Fulton may have secured his position for the season.
Receiver E.G. Walden led all Mustangs with 7 receptions for 149 yards and 2 TDs. Junior Zack Redman also had 2 TDs with 146 yards on 4 receptions. Sophmore TJ Garner caught 1 pass for a 15-yard score, and kicker Payton Phillips added a 37-yard field goal while kicking 6 of 6 PATs.
Ellis, a junior, carried the ball 12 times for 120 yards (10 yards per carry average). Combined with Fulton, the Mustangs amassed 183 yards on the ground and 552 yards of total offense.
The Mustangs held Sierra to 7 points, and with the 14 points given up the week before to Orosi, the team has surrendered just 21 points in eight quarters. Last year’s team gave up 435 points in 10 games.The Mustangs defensive line and linebackers are getting the job done for Marr as well. The defense recorded 6 sacks and 10 tackles for loss of yardage for Sierra. Cullen, Ellis, William Obermolte, Robert Barr, Chase Hatleli, and Payton Phillips all had sacks for Mina rets.
Phillips recorded 2 solo tackles, with 9 assists, and Walden led the team in solo tackles with 4. Hatleli had 7 assists, and Obermolte recorded 5.
“We played great football ... our defense has really been stepping it up all season and finally it did against Sierra what it is supposed to do,” said Marr. “When you have all your starters back, timing is right and things look good. Noah (Fulton) played great in his first start.”
Game in Mariposa Friday night
If not canceled due to smoke in the air from recent fires, Mariposa will get to see how much the Mustangs have improved, as the team travels Friday to play the Grizzles (0-1). Mariposa lost its season opener to the Summerville Bears, 28-12. The Grizzles play a well-balanced offense, relaying on the pass a bit more than the ground game. Against the Bears, Mariposa had 216 yards through the air and 124 on the ground.
Quarterback Colton Weidner is a dual threat that can pass the ball well, and will tuck and run when he has no open receivers. He carried the ball 11 times for 72 yards in their loss. Mariposa surrendered 384 yards on the ground to Summerville. Minarets lost to Mariposa last year 42-23, but with a much improved defense, this should be a close game.
The Mustangs JV team got in the win column against the Chieftains with a 35-0 victory. Daniel Lynch, who played on Minarets’ first team in 2010, has served as an assistant coach under Bob Kelly and Becher Marr, has now taken over responsibilities as the JV head coach.
Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. for JV, and 7:30 p.m. for varsity.