The Minarets Mustangs football team rode the E-Train, as in Mason Ellis, to victory Sept. 4, with the senior rushing for 162 yards and two touchdowns in the Mustangs shocking 26-0 “Dam Bowl” win over Sierra.
It’s the first win for Mustangs since the “Dam Bowl” began in 2011.
After fumbling the ball on their third play inside their own 15, the Mustangs defense set the tone for the remainder of the game. Sierra was unable to get a first down and turned the ball over on downs.
On the Mustang’s next possession Ellis carried the ball four times for 69 yards, the last, a 30 yard touchdown run. Jasper Phillips kicked the point after. On the night Phillips, a first year football player, had two touchbacks, along with two 50 yard punts, pinning the Chieftains deep in their own territory time and time again.
In the second quarter quarterback Luke Pritchett hit Jacob Walker down the middle for a 32 yard completion to the Chieftains 30. Ellis carried the ball to the 16, and then scored his second TD of the game from 14 yards out to put the Mustangs up 13-0 with 2:25 remaining in the first half. The point after was good and the Mustangs were up 14-0 going to the half.
On the third play of the second half, lineman Ben Mollet recovered a fumble at the Chieftains 36, giving the Mustangs excellent field position. Ellis then carried the ball, along with several Chieftains, down to the 12, where Pritchett connected with Kaleb Fausone for a 12 yard TD. The point after failed and the Mustangs held a commanding 20-0 lead.
On the Mustang’s next possession, Sierra was called for pass interference resulting in a first down at the Chieftains 23. Two plays later, a critical face mask penalty placed the ball eight yards out, where Holden Cordle scored on a run up the middle. In one of Sierra’s few highlights on the night, the Chieftains blocked the point after, putting the Mustangs up 26-0, the final score.
It was a team effort from Coach Steve Cordle's squad. The defense recorded several outstanding stops as the Chieftains struggled to find consistency. Ellis, Mollet, Walker, Phillips, Sam Smith and Grant Denny made key tackles in the second half to keep Sierra out of the end zone. The Mustangs secondary blanketed Chieftain receivers throughout the game. Michael Rendon intercepted Sierra quarterback Cole Meininger, ending a promising drive as time expired in the third quarter.
Pritchett was 3 of 11 for 52 yards, 1 TD. Ellis had 163 yards on 15 carries, (only five in the second half) with two TDs.
“That’s one of the best games I’ve ever played in ... we came out with such great intensity, we knew we were going to do well,” Ellis said after the game. “We were fired up for this game.”
What helped Ellis and the team “fire up” was some not so flattering Twitter banter from the Chieftains before the game. What used to be called “trash talk,” is now done through social media and it can spread quickly.
“We worked for it since the first part of December, getting up at 6 a.m. and putting in the effort, taking advantage of the opportunity to get better,” Kelly said. “Mason learned what running back is like, and Smith really stepped up in a big way. Luke in his first varsity game took care of the ball, and ran the team well. Our line also played well. It’s the first shutout in Minaret’s history against a team that has won championships. We’ve never won a game like this - it's something to be proud of, something to build off of, and I’m real proud of the guys.”
The Mustangs host Mariposa Friday. The Grizzlies lost its season opener 70-44 to summerville.
Despite the weakness shown on defense, the Grizzlies put up some good numbers in the loss. Quarterback Jake Newberry was 23 for 40 for 229 yards and three TDs. The Grizzles amassed 312 yards on 38 carries, 541 yards in offense, excluding kick returns.
Josh Land carried the majority of the load, rushing for 163 yards on 18 carries. Mariposa plays a well balanced game, throwing as much as running the ball.
Kick-off is 5:30 for the JV game, and 7:30 p.m. varsity.
JV team wins 28-6
The Mustang JV team beat Sierra 28-6.
Freshman quarterback Arron Hall threw for 200+ yards, including a 45 yard completion to Jacob Cullen. Sierra had trouble sustaining any type of drive throughout the game.
“I’ve been preaching all year ... you must persevere ... that’s what the 6 a.m. workouts are all about,” Coach Jackson Lakatani said. “They couldn’t defend our pass, we’ve worked hard and the players have taken ownership.
The Mariposa JV team lost last week to Summerville 41-6.