Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Mathew Manoz races ahead of San Joaquin Memorial’s Austin Yniguez during an 89-yard return on the opening kickoff of Friday’s loss.
The Madera South Stallions football team looked to have the upper hand in the early-going of its County/Metro Conference opener against San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno on Homecoming.
However, despite two possessions inside the Panthers’ 20-yard line, the Stallions couldn’t score any points and the Panthers then scored on nine of their next 10 possessions for a 62-6 victory Friday.
“We just can’t finish like that,” head coach Matt Johnson said about the opening game advantage. “When you go down the schedule, it’s been like that all year. We can’t close out. We’ve had our moments.”
The Panthers gained 516 yards of total offense, including 250 yards in the air from Alec Trujillo.
The bright spot for the Stallions was Mathew Manoz. He returned eight kicks for 306 yards, including the game-opening 89-yard kickoff return. He also fueled Madera South’s lone scoring drive from the Wildcat and scored Madera South’s lone touchdown.
“What Manoz did tonight demonstrated he needs to get lots of touches,” Johnson said. “What he did at quarterback opened our eyes. He gives us a threat. If he can throw the ball a little bit, he can be dangerous.”
However, Madera South only generated 120 yards of offense and threw for just 19 yards. They were also flagged 13 times for 117 yards.
“I saw a lot of good tonight,” Johnson said. “Our guys battled. We were outmatched. I was disappointed in our tackling. I was upset with our tackling. They have a good offense, but we also made them look great at times.
“I’m disappointed, obviously. I love these dudes. I love being a Stallion. I loved the experience. The parade was something I’ve never been a part of.”
Manoz excited the Stallions Homecoming crowd before the seats got warm. He took the opening kickoff at the five, ran though an opening and was off to the races. He was tackled at the Memorial six-yard line.
Two plays later, though, Madera south fumbled and the Panthers recovered at their own 20-yard line.
On the next play, though, Dallas Hansen, who led the team with nine tackles, picked off Trujillo at the 22-yard line after pressure from Kingsley Thomas.
Four plays later, the Stallions turned the ball over on downs at the 22-yard line.
On the next play, Memorial’s Leonard Glass took the handoff and went down the left sideline for a 78-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.
Nick DiCeglie broke three open field tackles for a 30-yard touchdown three minutes later.
The Stallions had their best defensive possession. Isaiah Castaneda sacked Trujillo on back-to-back plays. Augustin Garcia and Emilio Gonzalez stuffed Glass for no gain and forced a punt.
After a Stallions’ punt, Memorial scored on a seven-play, 45-yard drive for a 21-0 lead. An interception and penalty led to another Panthers’ touchdown.
The Panthers got the ball before the end of the half and scored less than two minutes after their last touchdown with a one-yard run by Matthew Alvarez.
Memorial opened the second half with a six-play, 60-yard touchdown drive. Another drive ended with a DiCeglie wide-open 36-yard touchdown catch.
The Panthers’ finished their third quarter scoring with a 17-yard run by Trujillo for a 56-0 lead.
Two plays into the next Stallions’ drive, back-up quarterback Joel Galvan was injured. Manoz stepped in at quarterback and drove the Stallions down the field.
Mathrew Posas gained seven and Manoz went for 12 more and drew a personal foul penalty. Three straight runs to Posas led to 10 yards and a first down to the four-yard line.
Manoz kept the ball on the next play and scored from four yards out on the left side for the touchdown.
The Panthers closed out the scoring with a 12-play, 80-yard drive for the final score.
Madera South continues its run through the CMAC at Sanger on Friday.