The host Yosemite Badgers football team put together their finest performance of the 2019 season by defeating Minarets 41-0 last Friday in Oakhurst. It was the first shutout recorded by the Badger defense this season.
The Badgers are 3-0 while Minarets falls to 1-1. The Badgers are now 4-0 all-time vs. the Mustangs.
Many mountain-area football fans thought this would be closer. Ultimately, the Badgers were the more physical team with maximum effort from both teams. The YHS offense balanced scoring both on the ground and in the air. While Minarets drove deep into Badger territory a number of times, the Badger defense held every drive, frustrating a potent Mustang offense. The Badger offense earned every yard, especially on the ground taking up clock. Two big scoring plays were difference makers for YHS.
The Mustang performance was a big disappointment for Mustang head coach Becher Marr.
“We just couldn’t do anything right,” Marr said. “We made lots of mental mistakes. Our guys let the emotion and hype of a big game get to them. Credit Yosemite’s secondary. They did a great job playing tough and our guys didn’t get open. We missed key blocks in the running game, which was our game plan focus.”
Yosemite running back Nic Harper scored first on a 3-yard run. The Badgers drove 65 yards for the score. Kevin Wellborn added a 15-yard run and caught a 28-yard pass to aid the 5:30 minute drive. Earlier the Mustangs drove to the Badger 32 but the drive stalled. Missed scoring opportunities haunted the Mustangs all night. The first quarter had YHS up 6-0.
The Badgers fumbled early in the second quarter with the Mustangs recovering at the YHS 47. MHS QB Martin Urroz hit Joseph Gonzales down to the 32. Again, the Mustang drive stalled on a stop by Harper on 4th down.
The Badgers then struck quickly. YHS QB Jaydn Carter connected to a streaking Ethan Coffman for a 60-yard touchdown. Zach Palmer hit the point after and just like that YHS was up 13-0. After holding the Mustang offense to a 3-and-out, the Badgers put together a time-consuming drive that culminated with a Harper 2-yard run. Again, Wellborn contributed with a 30-yard catch down the middle of the field.
With time winding down before halftime the Mustangs responded with drive deep into Badger territory. Arroz completed a 20-yard pass to Kade McPhetridge. A roughing penalty moved the ball to the Badger 10. The Yosemite defense would hold again. This time it was Badger DE Nicolas Guynn who had two tackles for loss on the drive forcing a field goal attempt.
With time running out, Mustang kicker Matt Sheller hit the crossbar on a 25-yard attempt. It was a frustrating first half for the normally high scoring Mustang offensive attack. YHS went into the halftime locker room up 20-0.
The Mustang offense went into gear early in the third getting good yardage on runs by TJ Garner. Minarets drove to the Badger 9-yard line. The Badger defense held. It was the game’s storyline.
Late in the third Badger running back Ernie Jimenez burst up the middle and outran the Mustang defense for an 86-yard touchdown run. It was one of the longest touchdown runs from a running back in YHS history. The third quarter ended with YHS up 27-0.
The Badgers finished strong with two scores in the fourth quarter. Carter hit WR Steven Baker for a 16-yard touchdown pass. Later Carter threw his season-high third touchdown pass. This time it was Holden Eames on a 14-yard scoring play. A Holden Eames interception and 29-yard return sealed the shut out for the Badgers.
The Badgers had a balanced offensive attack with 160 yards rushing and 155 passing. Badger QB Jaydn Carter had his best night as a varsity starter connecting on 6 of 9 passes for 155 yards and 3 touchdowns and no picks. The athletic Carter did not take a snap as a varsity back up last season to Tyson Mansfield but is improving in every game.
Ernie Jimenez led all rushers with 99 yards on just 4 carries and a touchdown. Nic Harper had 49 hard-earned yards on 9 carries with two touchdowns. Ethan Coffman (67 yards, 1 TD) and Kevin Wellborn (58 yards, 1 TD) led YHS with two catches. Wellborn also ran for 15 yards.
Wellborn was an integral part of both offense and defense in his best overall performance of the season. On defense, Wellborn had 14 tackles. Nic Harper led YHS with 15 tackles. The Badgers pressured Arroz all night and recorded 5.5 sacks. Harper, Noah Burns, Fernando Castillo, Jorge Olmedo, and Gabe Swigart each recorded a sack. Swigart added 8 tackles.
Junior safety Holden Eames fourth quarter interception was the 11th of his career and a new school record. Eames eclipsed the 2003 record of 10 by Jake Dodderidge, set in a single season. Eames scored a receiving touchdown on offense on his only catch. As Marr commented, Eames and the Badger secondary was outstanding Friday.
Overall Minarets managed only 183 yards on offense (129 rushing/54 passing). For Minarets, Urroz was just 5 of 19 for 54 yards, his lowest output of his record-setting career. Joseph Gonzales led Minarets with 44 yards on 7 carries. Johnny Alsup (29 yards), TJ Garner (20), Kade McPhetridge (18), and Noah Segura (18) rounded out the Mustang rushers. McPhetridge, a freshman, also caught the longest Mustang pass of the night for 27 yards.
Minarets Home Opener
On Friday the 13th the Mustangs will host a non-conference game against Tranquillity. (JV 5:30/Varsity 7:00) The Tigers, coached by Mike Martinez are 0-3 for the season. Minarets defeated Tranquillity 60-7 last year on the road. The Tiger football program has lost 13 straight dating back to the 2018 season.
“We are looking to get back on track and playing good football for our home opener,” Marr said.
Badgers host Grizzlies
The Grizzlies (1-1) are coached by Robert Stitt play in the Sac-Joaquin Section and are members of the Southern League. Like YHS, Mariposa is a Division 5 school. The Grizzlies lost to Minarets 41-25 on August 29th but defeated Summerville 30-24 in their season-opener.
The Badgers defeated Mariposa 26-12 in 2018. The one-time Badger-Grizzly Rivalry was renewed in 2016 and the Badgers have won all three games. The Grizzlies are a physical and well coached team that is never an easy win.
The Grizzlies are led by senior running back Logan Donati. Donati is the leading rusher (49 yards per game) and receiver (55 yards per game). Sophomore quarterback Wyatt Green is 13-26 for 208 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.