Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Alberto Torres jumps higher than the Kingsburg receiver for an interception in the end zone during Friday’s loss.
Facing a daunting schedule made up of Div. IV teams that could challenge for a Central Section championship, the Madera South Stallions football team faced its third top 5 team and suffered a fifth straight loss to open the season.
The Div. IV Stallions couldn’t get anything to go their way in a 57-7 loss to Div. III Kingsburg, ranked No. 4, Friday night in Memorial Stadium.
The Stallions opened the season with a loss to Div. IV No. 4 Kerman Lions, then lost to Div. IV No. 9 Wasco and Div. IV No. 5 Golden West.
Madera South’s opening schedule is made for Div. IV contending teams, not foundation-building teams like what head coach Matt Johnson is trying to do in his second year.
“Our main objective is to keep them working hard,” Johnson said. “Last year, we didn’t really set the foundation. This year was a foundation-setting event to keep kids accountable and keeping the fire going against all odds. We have an outstanding group of youngsters. When you keep getting beat, it’s hard to keep the motivation factor. We’re doing a masterful job of keeping them motivated. I feel so bad for the young guys. They put in the time and effort. We have to keep doing what we do and get better on film.”
The Stallions open County/Metro Athletic Conference play Friday night in Memorial Stadium against the Div. I Edison-Fresno Tigers, Johnson’s former team, on Homecoming.
Although there were way too may bright spots for the Vikings on Friday, the Stallions still showed some mettle. They drove into the red zone three times and scored once. Mathew Posas exploded with some dynamic kick returns and the running game looked solid.
“When we dig in, slow down, play our game and make our reads, we can do well,” Johnson said. “There were some mistakes in the middle of the defense for them that should have been exploited, but we didn’t and ran it right into their teeth without the quarterback making his read. That happened a few times.”
Joel Galvan replaced Jaden Cisneros at quarterback in the second half and led the Stallions to their only touchdown drive. He rushed for 45 yards, including the touchdown run, of the 68-yard drive.
“Joel is working equal reps with Jaden,” Johnson said. “We didn’t quit on Joel. Jaden is young and was hot and we’re trying to work him. Joel looked nice. He came in and made some reads.”
Posas averaged almost eight yards per carry and gained 68 yards. He also returned three kickoffs for 98 yards, including one for 52 and another long run that was negated by a penalty.
“Posas is playing with a bad foot and he couldn’t be fully electric,” Johnson said. “He’s a heck of a football player. He can play college football. He’s got great vision and has a good burst.”
However, Kingsburg was too much for the Stallions, They gained 468 yards of total offense and averaged more than 10 yards per play.
Special teams also hurt the Stallions. Not only did they have four punts for just 56 yards, a 14.8 yard average, special teams accounted for three lost fumbles — a fumble on a kickoff return, a blocked punt and a botched punt snap. Of course, all three led to short fields and Kingsburg touchdowns.
The Stallions opened the game and lost five yards on their opening drive. Meanwhile, Kingsburg drove 47 yards on seven plays with quarterback Jett Jackson finishing the drive with a darting 23-yard touchdown run.
On the ensuing kickoff, Madera South fumbled and Kingsburg recovered and ran it into the end zone for a touchdown just 12 seconds later for a quick 14-0 lead.
Madera South was forced to punt on its next possession and Galvan’s punt was blocked and Kingsburg took over on the Stallions’ 30-yard line. Five plays later, the Vikings took a 21-0 lead after an 11-yard pass completion.
The Stallions had two first downs on their next drive — a Cisneros pass to Posas on fourth down and a 14-yard run from Steven Alaniz — but had to punt.
From its own 13, Kingsburg drove for another touchdown, highlighted by a 68-yard pass play on the first play of the drive. Two Madera South penalties helped the Vikings and Bo Jackson finished it off with a short touchdown run for a 28-0 lead in the second quarter.
On Madera South’s next play, Jackson picked off Cisneros. However, Jett Jackson was picked off in the end zone by Alberto Torres, beating a receiver six inches taller for the ball.
Dallas Hansen highlighted the Stallions’ next drive with a bruising 37-yard run, breaking numerous tackles to move the ball into Kingsburg territory. However, Madera South fumbled on the next play and Kingsburg recovered.
The Vikings drove 50-yards on eight plays with a 12-yard pass completion for the touchdown with 5:21 left in the half.
After a Madera South punt, Kingsburg drove 69-yards on just four plays. A 36-yard run by Bo Jackson started the drive and a 33-yard touchdown pass to Blake Spomer ended the drive for a 41-0 lead.
The Stallions didn’t quit. Posas started the drive with a 52-yard kickoff return. Posas then moved the ball into the red zone with a 30-yard run. Steven Alaniz caught a pass for six yards and a first down.
Cisneros was sacked on the next play, the last of the first half. However, a penalty was called against Kingsburg. On the next play, Cisneros tried to hit Alaniz in the end zone, but the ball went incomplete.
Kingsburg scored on the first play of the second half, a 73-yard touchdown pass to Blake Spomer for a 48-0 lead.
Galvan took over on the next drive. He gained 11 on second down and Hansen gained 11 on third down. Two plays later, Posas gained 11 more. Two plays later, Galvan gained 15 to the 20-yard line.
Galvan then ran for 11 to the seven yard line. Galvan kept the ball himself on the next play and scored the touchdown. Jose Aguilar kicked the extra point and Madera South had its highlight.
After a Kingsburg touchdown, the Stallions were forced to punt. However, the snap bounced to punter Aguilar and Kingsburg recovered at the 20-yard line.
The Stallions mounted a goalline stand after Kingsburg had a first-and-goal from the seven. On second down from the three, Victor Wren and Anthony Vaca stuffed Kingsburg for a loss of two. On third down, Wren and Santiago Madrigal held Kingsburg for a gain of two to the three. On fourth down, Jett Jackson tried carrying the ball himself, but Max Valenzuela and Elgar Garcia kept him out of the end zone.
Unfortunately, Hansen was tackled in the end zone on the next play for a safety and a 57-7 lead.
The Stallions defense forced a punt and the Stallions drove inside the Kingsburg 10-yard line.
Hansen gained 20 yards to midfield. Galvan gained five and Kingsburg was hit with a face mask penalty. Madera South faced a second-and-17 after a face mask penalty. Galvan then gained 17 and a first down. Cisneros came in and gained 1 to the eight-yard line.
However, the Stallions couldn’t get into the end zone. Cisneros was stopped for a gain of two. He threw incomplete and then gained three on a run. On fourth down, Cisneros fumbled and Kingsburg ran out the clock.