The Minarets Mustangs (2-2), got back into the win column with a dominating 55-14 win against Tranquility (0-4) last week.
The Mustangs scored 21 points in the first eight minutes of play, followed by 20 in the second quarter to take a commanding 41-7 lead into the break.
Again Noah Fulton lined up behind center and performed well, completing 17 of 29 passes for 254 yards and three TDs. Since taking over as quarterback, Fulton has thrown nine TDs and has run for another, accounting for 60 of the Mustangs 121 points of offense.
With the Mustangs newly found offense, Fulton did a great job of spreading the ball around, hitting five different receivers against the Tigers. Junior Preston Conti led all receivers with 102 yards on six receptions, senior E.G. Walden had five catches for 89 yards, and sophomore TJ Garner had four for 50 yards.
The Mustangs ground game was just as commanding with 199 yards on 24 carries (8.3 yards per carry average). Ellis led the charge with 107 yards on 11 carries, Cullen contributed 60 yards on five carries, and Walden had eight on two carries. Fulton ran the ball six times for 24 yards.
Senior kicker Payton Phillips has nailed 15 of 16 PAT attempts, while hitting a 37 yard field goal against Sierra. His kicking could play a large role in Friday’s game against the Yosemite Badgers (2-0) in Oakhurst.
The Mustangs defense is looking solid, with five sacks against the Tigers, along with three interceptions. The Mustangs are keeping pressure on quarterbacks as well as swarming to the ball on tackles.
“”We didn’t turn the ball over against the Tigers ... we got back to playing good football and good things happened,” said Coach Becher Marr.
Game in Oakhurst Friday
The Mustangs will need to play solid defense as well as protect the ball and win the turn over game if they are going to beat the Badgers who are coming off a 40-14 win against Mariposa last week. The same Grizzles beat Minarets 35-14 in week two. The Mustangs had six fumbles and one interception in that game.
This week marks the second time the Mustangs and Badgers have played one another in a non-league game. Yosemite won last year’s game at Minarets with a 50-0 shutout, but the Mustangs are playing the best defense in the school’s short history, as well as putting up 50 points twice this season.
The Mustangs are averaging 30 points a contest with the Badgers averaging 32 over two games.
Expect the Badgers to blitz Fulton often. They have faith in their secondary and will attempt to pressure Fulton throughout the game. The Mustangs defense is formidable, and the teams match up well against each other. The game could come down to field position and kicking.
The Badgers have given up just 14 points in two games, having missed two games due to unhealthy air conditions from the recent fires in the area.
They have a win against a rebuilding Le Grand program (25-0), and a quality win against the Grizzles last week. This game will be a great measuring stick to indicate where both programs are at in the fourth week of the season.
Coach Marr would like nothing better than to get a win against the rival Badgers, the school he played for, as he develops one of the youngest football programs in the Valley.
“No one will want to miss this battle. We will come to play, as they will - it will be fun,” Marr said.
Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. for the JV game - 7 for varsity.