Madera South running back Maurice McClain runs in for a touchdown during Friday’s victory over the Hoover Patriots. (Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune)
After a hard loss against the Kerman Lions in its last game, the Madera South Stallions football team bounced back with a decisive 42-20 victory against the Hoover Patriots.
However, Madera South coach Dane Cook stressed that despite the win, there was still room to improve after Friday’s contest at McLane Stadium in Fresno.
“I’m happy that we’re making improvements, obviously,” said Cook. “We just need to keep getting better. I’m not disappointed, but we have a lot of room to improve, and we’re going to have to when we play better teams, starting this week.”
According to Cook, his team needs to work on building a more solid defense, and getting players used to new positions. However, he also emphasized he still has a reliable team, which, with the right adjustments, will be hard to beat on the field.
“Maurice McClain’s been solid on both sides of the football,” Cook said. “Brandon Mora’s another one who’s been solid on both sides of the ball, and Mathew Manoz has been solid on both sides of the football. Those are guys who have played very consistently on both sides of the football.”
The game started off on a bad note for the Stallions when Hoover scored a touchdown in their first possession, follwoing an 80-yard drive.
Madera South, however, replied with a touchdown of their own following the kickoff. The 70-yard Stallion drive included an 11-yard pass by quarterback Jonah Johnson to Maurice McClain for a successful fourth down conversion, followed by an 18-yard touchdown run by Johnson to tie the game.
With the next drive, Hoover started at its own 12-yard line and took the ball to Madera South’s 21-yard line in 12 plays. Hoover’s hopes to reclaim the lead were derailed near the Stallions’ 12-yard line with an interception by Isaiah Williams.
In the first drive of the second quarter, the Stallions started with a 27-yard pass to McClain. This was followed by 14-yard run by Brandon Mora. On fourth down from the Hoover two-yard line, Johnson finished off the drive with another touchdown to give Madera South the lead.
The following Hoover drive showed potential for the Patriots, getting to Madera South’s 43-yard line. But a fumble cost the Patriots 12 yards, and they were forced to punt.
The Stallions took full advantage of Hoover’s punt. Starting at its own 20-yard line, Madera South pulled off two 15-yard runs in a row, first by McClain, and then by Mora.
The Stallions scored with a 38-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Jacob Kirkpatrick. A successful two-point conversion gave the Stallions a 22-7 lead.
The Stallions tried for an onside kick, but failed. After a Patriots’ punt, Johnson completed a 46-yard pass to Kirkaptrick, and a 28-yard pass to Kedreion Dickson for another touchdown.
The Stallions tried to score another touchdown in the last seconds of the half with a fake field goal. The play failed, and Madera South led 29-7 at the half.
The second half began rough for the Stallions. A Madera South fumble on Hoover’s 27-yard line resulted in a touchdown for the Patriots on the ensuing 50-yard drive.
The Stallions’ defense also failed to stop another touchdown on the next Hoover possession, however, it would be Hoover’s final score.
After the Stallions fumble, Madera South recovered on its next drive, going 80 yards, and finished with a 49-yard touchdown pass by Johnson to Jaylan Neal at the end of the third quarter.
The next drive for Madera South saw a kickoff return of more than 30 yards by Matt Manoz, but the possession ended in a turnover on downs for the Stallions. Madera South recovered a fumble from Hoover on the next drive, and scored with McClain rushing in 32-yard touchdown for the final 42-20 score.
Madera South will next play in Visalia against the Golden West Trailblazers.