The Minarets Mustangs (2-2), dropped their second game on the season, a 50-28 loss to Coach Bob Kelly’s alma mater, San Lorenzo Valley (2-2) of Felton. The D-II Cougars go to 2-2 on the year after dominating the Mustangs throughout the game.
The Mustangs jumped out in front on their first play from scrimmage with an 80-yard run by Kaleb Fausone that brought the Saturday afternoon crowd to their feet. Jasper Phillips’ point after was good and the Mustangs briefly enjoyed their only lead of the game.
San Lorenzo’s Nick Salibi drove the Cougars 80 yards in 10 plays, cumulating with a 36-yard pass for the score. The point after was blocked by Mason Ellis.
The Cougars played a well-balanced ground attack with five running backs rushing for 250 yards. Junior Scott Poettzinger rushed for 164 yards and two of the Cougars’ six touchdowns on the ground. San Lorenzo scored twice to take a 18-7 lead before Mason Ellis introduced himself to the Cougars with a 64-yard touchdown run to bring the Mustangs within four points, 18-14 with 5:28 to play in the first half.
San Lorenzo responded with a drive good for a touchdown as Salibi threw his second touchdown pass of the game, a 20-yard strike to put the Cougars up 24-14 going to the half. Salibi finished the game 12 of 13 for 257 yards and two touchdowns. Middle linebacker Jacob Walker was lost early on to a shoulder injury, exposing a weakened linebacker corps which the Cougars took full advantage of.
The Cougars put the game away in the third quarter as San Lorenzo scored in three plays to open the second, to go up 30-14. An onside kick resulted with the Cougars starting their second scoring drive of the second half at the Mustangs 50 yard line.
Five plays later the Cougars were sitting on a 36-14 lead with 8:27 to play in the third. They would score 26 points in the quarter.
The Mustangs scored twice in the fourth quarter, with Ellis scoring on runs of 18 and 25 yards and Phillips hitting the PATs for the final 50-28 score.
“We played the best team we’ve played all year, and one of the best we’ll face this season,” said Coach Bob Kelly. “The quality of the San Lorenzo Valley program is why we play them. They do things right and we’re still learning how to consistently do things right. When we were able to do things right we made good plays on offense, defense, and special teams. In the first half, we had a chance. However, when we started making mistakes at the start of the third quarter, a competitive game got out of hand. When we didn't, they took advantage of our mistakes and made us pay as good teams do.”
Kelley said Sam Smith played a particularly good game as he continued to be the leader on the offensive and defensive line.
“Mason Ellis also played hard and gave us a strong effort on both sides of the ball,” Kelly said. “Holden Cordle, David Broyles, and Christian Low also gave us a strong effort throughout the game. We are on the right track, however, we need to be more consistent from play to play in order to be competitive with good teams.
Ellis now has nine TDs in four games with 569 yards rushing (8.4 average yards a carry).
Mustangs host Caruthers Friday
The Mustangs will attempt to regroup as they host Caruthers (2-3) for its first league game Friday. The Blue Raiders are coming off a 42-14 win at Farmersville on Oct. 2. Minarets beat the Aztecs 48-47.
On paper the two clubs match up well, but with Walker lost for at least a couple weeks, Caruthers will run the ball up the middle throughout the game. Minarets must find a way to get their passing game going if they are to have a chance against Caruthers.
The Mustangs have 10 completions in four games, for two scores, while throwing four interceptions. Look for Caruthers to load the box in hopes of stopping Ellis and forcing Minarets to throw the ball.