The Minarets Mustangs closed out their regular season with a 28-19 road loss to West Sequoia League foe Riverdale.
The loss, however disappointing, didn’t diminish the Mustang season. Minarets finished the regular season at 5-5. It is the best regular-season finish in school history. Beyond that, Minarets earned its second-straight playoff berth.
Minarets received a No. 9 seeding in the 16-team CIF Central Section Division VI playoffs. The Mustangs will travel to face the No. 8 seeded Foothill High Trojans of Bakersfield on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 pm. It will be a long road trip but for head coach Becher Marr making the playoffs for the second straight season is worth the journey.
“We are very happy to be in the playoffs again,” Marr said. “The team worked hard all season and earned this. Our team has battled through adversity. It won’t be easy but we will be prepared. We had hoped for a better seeding but we are in and that’s all that matters.”
Marr and staff overcame key injuries, especially star back TJ Garner to a season-ending injury.
The Cowboys of Riverdale are always a tough opponent, especially on the road. The Cowboys finished second in the WSL this season. The win against Minarets and their season record earned Riverdale a 4th seed in the D-VI playoffs. Along with Minarets and Riverdale, Orosi will also play in the D-VI playoffs earning the No. 6 seed. WSL champion Caruthers earned the No. 1 seed in Division V.
Minarets nearly pulled off the upset.
Riverdale led 7-6 at halftime and outscored Minarets 21-13 in the pivotal second half. The Mustangs made things interesting in the fourth quarter. It was 21-19 Riverdale with Minarets driving for the possible winning score. A Mustang fumble, however, ended the scoring threat. The Cowboys scored a touchdown to put the game away on their first play of their ensuing possession.
“This was a really close game all the way,” Marr said. “We were driving to take the lead in the fourth. The offense was moving the ball well. Unfortunately, we fumbled and they scored. It killed us.”
The Mustangs were led once again by senior star quarterback Marty Urroz. Riverdale shut down the Mustang ground game. Urroz, as he has done so many times before, put the game on his back and he responded with another 300-plus yard passing performance. Urroz was 17 of 27 for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
Colby Moss had another outstanding day with 6 receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Jacob Wheeler had 5 catches for 59 yards. Syler Pilsbury caught 3 passes for 48 yards and a touchdown.
The Mustangs managed only 73 yards rushing against the Cowboy defense. Noah Segura led Minarets with 38 yards rushing on 11 attempts. Joseph Gonzales rushed for 27 yards and scored a TD.
On defense, junior Joseph Hurst led Minarets with 12 tackles. Trevor Trimble had 11 tackles and Kyle Mcphetridge had 9.
The Division VI playoffs
The Mustangs will travel to face the Trojans of Foothill in the 16-team D-VI playoffs.
Foothill (4-6, 1-4) plays in the tough Southeast Yosemite League comprised of Bakersfield area high schools. The Trojans are coached by second-yard head coach Brandon Deckard. Foothill is coming off a 0-10 record in 2018.
The Mustangs will face a team that pounds the football on the ground. It is an unbalanced attack. Foothill averages 250 yards per game on the ground and only 17.8 yards passing. Kaelon Deloney (166 carries/873 yards 8 TDs), Tyson Reynolds (96/608 4 TDs), and Bryan Diaz (121/523 4 TDs) lead the Trojan ground attack. Foothill has not scored a touchdown through the air.
If Minarets can stop the run they have a good shot at their first playoff win in school history.