The Minarets Mustangs (2-5, 0-1 West Sequoia League) hosted the undefeated Caruthers Blue Raiders, one of the top ranked small school teams in the valley, last Friday night. In four games, Caruthers has averaged better than 50 points a game and the Mustangs can attest they are the real deal, falling to them 57-21.
After holding the Blue Raiders to 7 points in the first eight minutes of play, Caruthers put up 21 points in the second quarter to go to the break, up 28-7.
The Mustangs, playing without starting quarterback Noah Fulton following a broken collar bone suffered the week before, put up some impressive yardage in the loss but struggled containing Caruthers throughout the night.
The Mustangs started Jacob Cullen under center, and the senior went 9 for 17 with 151 yards. Senior E.G.Walden took over QB duties mid-way through the game, and also went 9 of 17 for 164 yards including one touchdown. Each quarterback threw a pick in the game, while Cullen also added a fumble.
Regardless of turnovers, the Mustangs were still able to pile up more than 300 yards through the air and 115 yards on the ground. Junior Tyson Ellis led all running backs with 60 yards on 14 carries, and Preston Conti had 8 receptions for 196 yards. Walden had two receptions for 50 yards and a score from Cullen, while rushing for another touchdown. Mustangs kicker Payton Phillips converted 3 of 3 PATs.
The Mustangs defense did thwart Caruthers on several drives with interceptions by Alex Sexton, Conti, and Ellis. Wayne Obermolte recorded one sack for Minarets. Sexton, Conti, and Cullen all recorded 6 tackles to lead the defense. Sophmore TJ Gardner ended the game with 5 solo stops.
“That was a very tough team and they executed everything very well. We were able to create turnovers but with all the changes to our offense due to injuries, we weren’t able to move the ball enough to keep up with Caruthers’ strong offense,” Coach Becher Marr said.
After dropping the WSL opener, the Mustangs now must face the Riverdale Cowboys (5-1), a team that has a couple impressive wins under its belt - 35-15 win against Sierra Pacific and a 49-10 win against Tranquility.
Under coach Bryan Close, Riverdale is no longer the doormat of the WSL. Going 8-4 last season, the Cowboys continue to ride its wave of success. The Mustangs will have to eliminate turning the ball over, which has been a struggle throughout the season, and sustain some quality drives to keep the Cowboys offense on the sidelines.
The away game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. with the JV game at 5:30.