The Minarets Mustangs football team exploded for a school-record 86 points to beat the outmanned Sierra Chieftains 86-0 on Oct. 19. It was not the homecoming the Chieftains expected. Sierra (1-8), playing as an independent, has been outscored 464 to 13 in its brutal 2018 campaign.
Minarets (3-6, 1-4) jumped to a 35-0 lead in the first quarter and went into halftime up 77-0. A running clock in the second half mercifully ended the one-sided contest. Minarets amassed 856 yards of total offense to just 64 for Sierra.
“We didn’t intend for the score to be so high,” Mustangs coach Becher Marr said. “We have only one or two players per position and they all performed well. We put in our backups and they had success. Joseph Gonzales and Rhett Sampler scored their first varsity touchdowns. It was great for the guys who work so hard in practice but haven’t had as many minutes on the field.”
It also took some sting out of the heartbreaking 39-36 West Sequoia League homecoming loss to Orosi in O’Neals on Oct. 12.
Mustang senior running back Tyson Ellis rushed for a school-record 312 yards on just 15 carries and scored six touchdowns, tying Preston Conti for the school record in that category. Conti set the mark earlier this season.
Ellis has rushed for a school-record 1,350 yards and scored 11 TDs this season; his total yards rank No. 4 in the Central Section, according to MaxPreps.com. Marr said he’s less than 100 yards away from breaking his brother Mason Ellis’ school career yardage record.
Conti had 432 total yards – over half of the team’s total offensive output. He caught six passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns, ran for 92 yards on just two carries (both touchdowns) and was 3 for 3 passing for 89 yards and a touchdown. Conti leads the Central Section in receiving yards (1,402), yards per game (155.8), and is second in touchdowns with 18.
Quarterback Marty Urroz was 12 of 19 passing for 351 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Urroz is third in the Central Section with 2,837 passing yards.
Zack Redman caught three passes for 95 yards and a touchdown. Sampler had three catches for 35 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Rodkey had two catches for 51 yards. Gonzales rushed twice for 16 yards and scored a touchdown.
Senior kicker Ashton Freeland smashed the school record for points in the kicking game. Freeland was 11 for 11 in point after kicks and also booted a 38-yard field goal. Both are now school records.
On defense, Minarets limited Sierra to minus-13 yards rushing. The Mustangs had a single-game record of five interceptions: Jordan Rodkey and Alex Sexton each had two with Sexton scoring on a touchdown return. Ellis had one. Tyler Zea had a fumble recovery. Ellis, Julian Mahlke and Redman led Minarets with five tackles each. Clayton Davis had four.
Chieftains senior Payton Berna had 170 yards on kickoff returns. Logan Whittington led Sierra with 64 yards receiving.
The Minarets JV (1-8, 0-5) defeated the Sierra JV 49-0. The Chieftains suited up just 17 players.
The Mustangs close out their regular season hosting Riverdale (4-5, 1-4) on Friday. It is also Senior Night. Game times: 5 p.m. for JV and 7 p.m. for Varsity. Riverdale comes in ranked No. 8 in Central Section Division VI according to MaxPreps.com; Minarets is No. 9.
A win should secure a Central Section Division VI playoff bid for the Mustangs, Marr said. “It will be a very exciting game for our fans. For us it is special because it is Senior Night. We have an incredible group of seniors. We want them to go out with our first playoff bid. We will be ready.”
Riverdale has lost three straight WSL games but to top teams: Orosi 43-12, Caruthers 50-7 and Fowler 62-20. Last year, the Cowboys defeated Minarets 55-24 at Riverdale, part of the Cowboys’ 9-3 season.
Caruthers (9-0, 5-0) shut out Orange Cove 35-0 last week. A win against Fowler Friday will secure the WSL title for the Blue Raiders.