Despite watching the opening kickoff go the other way for a touchdown, the Madera South Stallions played their best game of the season according to first-year head coach Matt Johnson in a 40-3 loss to the defending Div. II Valley Champion, Sanger Apaches.
“Our guys battled extremely well,” Johnson said. “A couple of bad calls here and there and we also lost two of our starting offensive linemen. I felt all the way until the end of the third quarter we were in the ball game. I really like the energy we were bringing.”
After losing both quarterbacks in last week’s loss to San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno, Johnson turned to running back Matthew “Pop Tart” Manoz to run the offense. He rushed for 84 yards and threw for another 37 yards.
“With Manoz at quarterback, Sanger had their hands full,” Johnson said. “We had three holding penalties that stopped long runs.”
The Apaches went into the half leading 20-0 and added two more fourth quarter touchdowns for the win.
“In the second half, we came out really well and kicked a field goal,” Johnson said. “We slowed them down and we drove down the field. The last two scores came because we were desperate and gave up the ball on downs.”
Luis Rivera hit a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter for the Stallions.
Madera South will host Bullard-Fresno on Friday a week after the Knights defeated the Coyotes 42-20 on the same field.
“This was as quality a game against a top-notch opponent as we have played all year,” Johnson said.