Benny Munoz/The Madera Tribune
First-year Madera South Stallions football coach Matt Johnson watched his team compete against opposition for the first time on Friday in a scrimmage against Washington Union.
New Madera South football coach Matt Johnson was eager to see how his team would stack up against other teams.
After coaching the Edison-Fresno tigers for the past five years, Johnson turns his attention to the Stallions and his first opportunity to see his team in action was Friday in a scrimmage against Washington Union-Easton.
“I was concerned about our toughness and physicality,” he said. “I was very happy with the ability to play hard. We made a lot of mistakes. Our guys were battling. I love that.”
Johnson said that he wanted to make sure his quarterback situation was settled in and both got to work Friday night with starter Steven Alaniz and back-up Joe Galvez.
“The big battle is on the defensive line,” Johnson said. “Defensively is where a lot of battles are going on. There was nothing solidified. We had some guys that we didn’t think were going to be a contributor, but they came out to play.”
On the first drive of the game, the Stallions drove 65-yards in about six plays and that was enough for Johnson.
“Washington has some outstanding guys,” he said. “I thought as a team, we presented more as a team. We made mistakes. I told the boys that I felt very positive and very proud of how they played. You just never know going into those things.
“We were hanging in there with their starters and our depth. It showed me that we’re not far away in the division we’re in. I’m not judging myself on our conference, but on our division and if we can give ourselves a chance and I think we can.”
The Stallions open the season Friday at Pacheco High School. Johnson knows that it will be a battle this season, especially after a young Pacheco team defeated the Stallions 42-29 last season.
“We can play with Pacheco and we played with them last year,” Johnson said. “They were young last year and their JV team was undefeated. This will definitely be a good match up.”
Heading into Friday’s game, Johnson said the Stallions need to work on discipline and polish more offensively.
“We need to do what we’re supposed to do, especially on defense,” he said. We’re playing a triple option attack so if you’re not playing your responsibilities, it can cost you. We have to continue to polish on offense. We had guys that don’t know the playbook well, but they’re getting it.”
Johnson said for Madera South to be successful, his defense needs to be “lights out.”
“We were out of position during the scrimmage, but those are things we have to clean up,” Johnson said. “We have to get better at that.”