The Minarets Mustangs (2-7, 0-3 West Sequoia League) hosted the Fowler Redcats (6-2, 2-0 WSL) last Friday in a thriller that went down to the wire with Fowler winning 33-27.
Fowler is now tied with Caruthers atop league standings. The D-V school has never lost to Minarets.
The Mustangs matched the Redcats scoring with a touchdown in the first quarter of play. Going into the break, Minarets trailed 13-12, due to missed extra point attempts.
As in games past, the Mustangs have held tough for three quarters and this game would be no different.
Coming out of the half-time break, the Redcats put up two scores to the Mustangs one TD including a 2 point conversion to go into the final 8 minutes of play down 26-20.
Fowler scored one more to take a 33-20 lead. A TD strike by quarterback Jacob Cullen, his third of the game, pulled the Mustangs to within 6 points, down 33-27.
Following a defensive stand, the Mustangs received the ball with time running out in the final quarter. With less then a minute to play, Cullen hit receiver Preston Conti on a slant across the middle for one of his 7 receptions on the evening. Breaking free of a tackle and heading to the end zone, Conti had one man to beat for the tying score, but fumbled the ball when tackled. After a mad scramble, Fowler recovered the ball inside their own 20 yard line with 38 seconds remaining in the game.
The Redcats took a knee on the following play to put an end to a dramatic Mustangs comeback.
Conti had 2 scores on the night, ending the game with 101 yards on the 7 receptions. TJ Garner also hauled in a Cullen TD, as well as Tyson Ellis.
Cullen ended the game 16 of 33 for 201 yards with 3 TDs and 1 interception. The Mustangs running game had 158 yards on the ground with Ellis getting the majority of the carries, 20 for 104 yards. Cullen added 64 yards on 14 carries. The Mustangs amassed 474 all purpose yards on the game.
On the defensive side of the ball Keagen Mackey led the Mustangs with 12 tackles, including 3 solo take downs. Cullen had 9 tackles on the game , with Garner, Ellis, and Zack Redmon recording 7 each. Mackey and Cullen each were credited with sacks on the Redcats quarterback.
“We new it would be a close game,” said Coach Becher Marr. “It was heartbreaking for it to end on a fumble when everything seemed to be going our way. Still missing was receiver E.G. Walden, sitting due to team rules and quarterback Noah Fulton. He returned to play following a broken collar bone but was used sparingly due to his injury.
The next game will be a preparation for the Mustangs first trip to the playoffs. Minarets will travel to Parlier (1-7) this friday. The Mustang’s offense will be at full strength for the first time since September.
“We are going to the playoffs, we have one loss to a D-VI team (Riverdale), and the other teams we played are D-IV or D-V and we are ranked 6th in our division,” Marr said.
On paper it is a lopsided match up with the Mustangs leading in all categories, averaging 24 points a game compared to the Panthers 12.
Kick off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. with JV teams playing at 5:30.