Gregg Dodderidge

Minarets survives Parlier comeback, moves to 4-2 overall

The Minarets Mustangs hosted West Sequoia League foe Parlier last Friday night in O’Neals. After bolting to a 19-0 first-quarter lead, the Mustangs held on and survived a missed 37-yard Panther field goal attempt to win the game 34-32.

The win moves Minarets to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the competitive WSL. It is the best record at this point of the season in the young football history at Minarets High. MaxPreps.com has Minarets ranked No. 7 in the Central Section D-VI rankings. The Mustangs are coming off a first-time playoff berth in 2018. The win against Parlier will aid the Mustangs 2019 playoff hopes.

Head coach Becher Marr was pleased with his team’s effort. “We felt we had a really good game plan to slow down Parlier,” Marr said. “We were able to execute our offense in the first half. Our defense made stops. Parlier made some second-half adjustments and were able to come up with some big plays. But in the end we never quit playing and just continued to focus on what we needed to do.”

The Mustang game plan worked early on and Minarets outplayed the Panthers in the first half. Parlier got their offense in gear in the second half and, along with Mustang turnovers, put together a fourth-quarter run that nearly won the game.

Minarets scored first on a Matt Shellar 14-yard field goal. The defense scored next on a safety by Syler Pilsbury. Starting on the Panther 37, Mustang QB Marty Urroz hit Syler Pilsbury in the right flat and, with great blocking, sprinted 37-yards for the touchdown with six minutes left in the first quarter.

Minarets wasn’t done. Marr called a fake punt. TJ Garner threw to Joe Gonzales for a first down. Urroz hit Pilsbury for 25-yard pickup and then connected with Garner for an 11-yard touchdown. The Mustangs dominated the first quarter and seemed to be in complete control.

Parlier put together a long drive with quarterback Josh Rodriguez scoring from the 2-yard line. The Panthers scored again midway through the second quarter. An Urroz pass went through the receiver’s hands and was picked off by Panther LB Dominic Quintero. Rodriguez then threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Ralph Garza. The Panthers were right back in it and went into halftime down 19-13.

Minarets reasserted itself in the third quarter. Urroz hit Rhett Samper on a perfectly thrown 47-yard slant for a touchdown, giving Minarets a 26-13 lead.

A Minarets mistake narrowed the lead. The Mustangs tried a pass on a fake punt. It was picked off by Quintero. The Panthers scored on a pass from Rodriguez to Jose Sanchez, cutting the score to 26-20.

Mustang running back Noah Segura made key runs on the next Mustang drive. Urroz connected with Pilsbury who made a spectacular catch in the corner of the end zone. A two-point conversion was successful. With 10:30 to play it looked like Minarets would cruise with a 34-20 lead.

Parlier didn’t let that happen. The Panther offense took over in the fourth quarter scoring two touchdowns. Minarets clung to a 34-32 lead. With time running out the Panthers had a chance to win. With 30 seconds to play, Parlier tried a 37-yard field goal. The kick had plenty of leg but hooked left. To the relief of the Mustang faithful, Minarets hung on for their fourth win in six games.

Game Stats

Minarets quarterback Marty Urroz was 21-40 for 306 yards and four touchdowns. Urroz threw three interceptions, two were receiver error. Urroz didn’t let the interceptions bother him. He led Minarets on four scoring drives. Urroz connected with eight different receivers.

Syler Pilsbury had his finest offensive performance of 2019. Pilsbury led Minarets with 105 yards on just three catches and scored two touchdowns. Noah Segura led all Minarets rushers with 85 yards on 15 attempts. They were tough yards but Segura kept producing.

On defense, the Mustangs recorded a school-record 14 sacks. Joseph Gonzales and Derek Garza led Minarets with 12 tackles and three sacks each.

Mustang kicker Matt Shellar is having a stellar season. Shellar was 4 for 4 in point-after kicks. Shellar is perfect on PATs this season. His 14-yard field goal in the first quarter was the difference in the game.

Parlier stats were unavailable at press time. Dominic Quintero had all four Parlier interceptions.

Minarets hosts Caruthers

The Mustangs will host their most difficult foe for 2019, the Caruthers Blue Raiders. The Blue Raider program is a perennial playoff program with six CIF titles in their storied history. For longtime Central Section football fans, the Blue Raiders are considered one of the best small-school football teams year in and year out.

Caruthers (5-1, 2-0) is rolling again in 2019. Caruthers is ranked No. 2 in Division V behind Yosemite. Last year Caruthers defeated Minarets 59-0 on the way to a 12-1 record. Caruthers won a CIF D-V title in 2017. CHS is 29-3 since 2017. The Blue Raiders are coached by former player Brandon Ward. The only loss this year was 32-6 to Templeton, the No. 2 team in D-IV according to MaxPreps.com.

The Mustangs will have to neutralize the vaunted Blue Raider ground attack. Caruthers averages 235 yards rushing a game. The ground game has scored 23 of the 30 touchdowns for Caruthers this season. They also spread the wealth. Six Blue Raider rushers have amassed over 100 yards this season. Senior Bobby Staley leads Caruthers with 603 yards on 85 carries and 9 touchdowns. As a team, Caruthers averages 6.5 yards per rush.

Junior quarterback Trenten Babb has thrown for 566 yards with 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Babb is a dual-threat QB. Babb is the second leading rusher with 244 yards. Babb has scored 4 touchdowns.

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