The Mustangs hosted their toughest West Sequoia League game last Friday in O’Neals.
The Blue Raiders of Caruthers are one of the top small schools in the Central Section. They showed it in a dominant 56-7 win over Minarets.
Minarets fell to 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the competitive WSL.
Caruthers, ranked No. 2 in the Central Section Division V, are rolling. After an opening day road loss to Templeton, the Blue Raiders (6-1, 3-0) have put together a 6-game winning streak and are on top of the WSL with Riverdale.
Caruthers will host Riverdale on Friday. The winner will be in the driver’s seat for the WSL title.
The loss keeps Minarets in a good position for a Division VI playoff berth. The Mustangs are ranked No. 7 in D-VI, according to MaxPreps.com.
Mustang head coach Becher Marr knew it would be a challenge facing the mighty Blue Raiders.
“Caruthers is a very well-coached football program,” Marr said. “They are always a tough opponent. Our game plan was to try and keep the ball out of their hands with our offense. We obviously didn’t do a good job of that. Not many teams do.”
The Blue Raiders got going early due to Mustang mistakes. Minarets fumbled on its first possession.
The Blue Raiders were successful in three-straight on-side kick attempts.
“The field position was critical,” Marr said. “We fumbled on the first play and they were successful in their on-side kick attempts. We allowed Caruthers to establish great field position early and it cost us.”
Minarets scored its only touchdown in the third quarter with a running clock. Mustang quarterback connected with running back Noah Segura for a 10-yard touchdown pass.
The Blue Raider defense held the high-scoring Mustang offense to a season-low 39 total yards.
The Mustangs also suffered another huge loss. Senior star TJ Garner suffered a season-ending ankle injury that also ends his career at Minarets.
“Losing TJ was the worst part of this loss,” Marr said. “He is a team leader and has worked so hard to become such a great player.”
Garner did it on both sides of the ball. A leading tackler on defense, Garner also is the leading Mustang receiver and a threat running the ball.
The Mustangs travel to face WSL foe Orosi. The Cardinals are 4-3, 1-2 for the season. Orosi also plays in D-VI. The Cardinals are coached by Ben White. The Cardinals are currently ranked No. 5 and have a solid football program.
Last year, Orosi went 7-4, 4-2 earning a D-VI playoff berth. The Cardinals defeated Minarets 39-36 last year in O’Neals.
Orosi is coming off a 42-21 win over Fowler last week.
Orosi has a balanced offense averaging 208 yards rushing and 155 passing. The Cardinals are led by the efficient junior quarterback Evan Lara, who is 61 of 108 for 927 yards, 9 TDs, and 4 interceptions.
Dominic Martinez leads the Cardinal rushing attack. Martinez has rushed for 734 yards on 96 attempts, averaging 7.6 yards per carry. Martinez also leads the team with 13 touchdowns and is a threat as a receiver.
Aidan Rodriguez is the leading receiver with 430 yards on 30 receptions and 4 touchdowns.
“Orosi will be a big challenge,” Marr said. “Orosi played Caruthers really close. They have a strong running game. We have to focus on stopping the run to be successful.”