Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South quarterback Isaiah Tyler outruns Mission Oak defenders during Friday’s victory over the Hawks. Tyler scored one of three rushing touchdowns for the Stallions.
The Madera South Stallions football team gave the Mission Oak-Tulare Hawks plenty of opportunities to win the game, but the Stallions kept battling back for a 21-14 victory in memorial Stadium.
Marvin Brewer scored the go-ahead touchdown with about five minutes left in the third quarter to give the Stallions the lead, despite Madera South giving Mission Oak plenty of opportunities to stay in the game.
“That’s a sign of a team that’s starting to embrace the principles of what we are trying to do,” head coach Matt Johnson said. “When you can stay in the game, that’s when you know they aren’t caving in. They stuck in there. It’s a tribute to the coaches and players.”
“It’s our first time facing adversity all year,” quarterback Isaiah Tyler said. “We either got killed or killed the opponent. We handled it well. It’s a different mindset this year. We have A.C.E. We have to compete with unmatched effort. We showed up every day in the summer and it’s all starting to show off right now.”
The Stallions’ defense was dominant Friday night. They held the Hawks to just 93 yards of total offense, including -10 from the ground. The Hawks had 13 possessions and had to punt on eight of them. The Stallions also recovered a fumble and picked off a pass to secure the victory.
“That was the area I was most worried about coming in, with our defense,” Johnson said. “Our pass coverage wasn’t good, we missed a lot of base standard things we brought in over the summer and we weren’t executing. As coaches, we got stupid, started getting cute and away from the things we do. It worked a few times in the big wins we’ve had this year. But, there were always openings for teams to exploit. Tonight, we went back to the beginning of summer and brought some four or five man pressure, but we were very sound in the back half. There was nobody, for the most part, doing their own thing.
“They are a zone running team,” Johnson said. “What we were concerned about was, on film, the precise route running they had. They have great receivers and their quarterback could move around a little bit. We felt like they hadn’t seen the things we could bring to the party. It was so great to see the master plan come together.”
Tayte Grantham rushed for 115 yards and a long touchdown and quarterback Isaiah Tyler gained 70 yards and added another touchdown.
“I couldn’t be more proud of a whole group and Isaiah Tyler, in general,” Johnson said. “He didn’t want to play football after his sophomore year. We got him late in the spring and got out of it and is having a great senior year.”
The Stallions face a short week to open the County/Metro Athletic Conference. Madera South heads to Sunnyside Stadium to face the Edison-Fresno Tigers for a Thursday night game.
“We’re very confident and we can take a game or two in league with how we’re playing right now,” Tyler said.
After two Mission Oak possessions in which the Hawks lost four yards, the Stallions found the end zone.
On the second play of its third drive of the game, Grantham found an opening off right tackle, split the defense and outran the Hawks for a 53-yard touchdown run just 10 seconds into the second quarter.
After a trade in punts, and after Mission Oak’s 16-yard punt, Madera South fumbled of the first play of its next possession and Mission Oak recovered.
A pass interference penalty and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty while the Hawks were lining up for a 45-yard field goal kept the drive alive.
After the penalty, quarterback Mission Oak Matthew Ordunez found Beau Arriga in the end zone for the touchdown. Arriga went over the head of the Madera South defender to snatch the ball for the game-tying touchdown with five minutes left in the first half.
Madera South got two first downs on its next drive, but had to punt.
Both teams couldn’t add to their scores before the first half ended.
The Stallions’ defense, led by Grantham, forced a punt on Mission Oak’s first second half possession.
The snap went over the punter’s head and the Mission Oak punter was tackled at the Hawks’ 10-yard line.
On the next play, Tyler kept the ball and went into the end zone for a go-ahead score just 52 seconds into the second half.
The Hawks, helped by a 29-yard pass play and a roughing the passer penalty moved the ball inside the Stallions’ 20-yard line. Three plays later, Mission Oak’s Ordunez found a receiver to take the ball to the one yard line. The Hawks scored on the next play to tie the game with 7:51 left in the third quarter.
The Stallions drove the ball on their next drive. Brewer went up the middle for a 17-yard gain. Tyler kept the ball himself for a 26-yard gain the to Hawks’ 21-yard line.
Tyler carried for seven yards and Brewer gained five to the nine-yard line. Tyler gained eight to the one and Brewer finished the drive off from a yard out. Anthony Vaca’s extra point gave the Stallions a 21-14 lead with 5:08 left in the third quarter.
The Stallions gave the Hawks good field position after fumbling the ball at its own 20-yard line.
Vaca, who led his team with eight tackles, stuffed the Hawks for a gain of four. Jackson Smith stopped the Hawks’ ball carrier for a gain of two. The Stallions gave the Hawks a first down with an offsides penalty.
On the next play, the Mission Oak ball carrier was stripped of the ball at the five-yard line and Jesse Ford recovered for the Stallions.
The Hawks were forced to punt, but a sack from James Perez forced a Mission Oak punt.
The Stallions drove inside the Mission Oak 20-yard line after a 10-yard gain from Grantham and another eight yard gain. The Stallions looked to have scored a game-clinching touchdown when Tyler hooked up with Anthony Arce in the end zone for a touchdown, but the Stallions were flagged for an illegal shift.
Two plays later, Vaca missed a 42-yard field goal with 1:34 left in the game.
Mission Oak went on its best drive of the night. A Madera South illegal substitution penalty and a 14-yard pass play moved the ball inside Stallions’ territory.
Misson Oak completed a nine-yard pass and drew the Stallions offsides. However, on the next play, Arce picked off a pass near the Mission Oak sideline to close out the game.
“I had to get my eyes on the ball and got it,” Arce said. “We knew we had it and could get the win.”
Tyler took a pair a kneel downs to finish off Madera South’s third victory of the season.