County blanks Madera-led City in All-Star football game
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera schools sent 10 players to the 67th annual City/County All-Star Football game in Sanger on Friday. From left are Raul Medrano (Madera), Vincent Martinez (Madera), Nick Anselmo (Liberty), Alberto Torres (Madera South), Jeremiah Sanchez (Madera), Ricky Garcia (Madera), Brad Wallace (Liberty), Dylan Cardoza (Liberty) and Devin Delgado (Madera South).
SANGER — Despite a 35-0 County victory over City at Sanger’s Tom Flores Stadium on Friday, many notable performances were on display by seniors from the Madera Coyotes, the Madera South Stallions and the Liberty Hawks.
“They played cleaner than us. We’re fumbling the snap, dropping the ball, we just aren’t playing clean,” current Hoover head coach, former Madera coach and City Head Coach Rustin Pickett said.
However, one Madera senior stole the show.
Madera South’s Alberto Torres is known for his work ethic and never-back-down attitude, but on Friday night the Stallion found himself one-on-one with some of the best receivers in the County and not only did he not back down, he excelled.
Torres highlighted what was a lackluster performance by the City team as a whole. The senior Stallion high-pointed a football halfway through the first quarter before bringing it down with two hands for an interception. Torres was later named the City’s Most Valuable Player.
“It was tremendous. When you know what you are and what you have, you can play to the top pf your ability and he has that. He knew the challenge, he knew he was going to get picked on and he stepped up,” Pickett said.
Not only was the catch and anticipation impressive, but the fact that Torres outmuscled receivers a foot taller showed just how talented of a football player he is.
“Alberto and Devin (Delgado) really deserve to be here tonight for what they have done for our program but also because they are good football players,” Madera South head coach Matt Johnson said before the game. “I’m excited to be here and watch them play.”
No doubt, Torres’ interception in the first quarter was no surprise to his coach.
“Coach Johnson has been like a father to me over the years and he has done so much to help me as a player,” Torres said on the sidelines. “They believed in me. They brought me up as a sophomore and I led the County/Metro Athletic Conference with eight turnovers. They helped me a lot.”
When asked what he was thinking on that highlight play in the first quarter, Torres knew it was his time.
“It doesn’t matter who is against me, who they line up out there because I’m going to do my best. I saw the ball and I went up for it. A lot of them were talking smack, but I had to shut them up once in a while,” Torres joked. “I had to show out though because this was my final game and there were a lot of fans out here.
Along with Madera South’s Delgado and Torres, Madera sent Vincent Martinez who was a starter on defense for City, Jeremiah Sanchez, Raul Medrano and Ricky Garcia. Liberty had seniors Nick Anselmo, Brad Wallace and Dylan Cardoza.
For the Madera Coyotes, Martinez provided the biggest impact as starting safety on a defense that was tested throughout the game.
Martinez never shied away from a tackle after finishing the game with nearly half a dozen tackles including a strong stop in the first half.
For Liberty, the Hawks’ grind-it-out mentality fit in well with the City team as Anselmo, Wallace and Cardoza did a much of the dirty work in the trenches or at the bottom of the pile.
The Hawks showed up during their final time on the field.
The game itself opened up in favor of the County team and they never looked back.
D.J. Stevenson (Central), MVP for the County team, opened the scoring in the second quarter with a quarterback keeper from two yards out to give the County team a 7-0 lead.
The County team continued to separate themselves in the second quarter after a score by Mario Isaiah-Buscemi (Sanger)
Isaiah-Buscemi high pointed a pass from the City offense and returned it 45 yards for a score, leading to a 14-0 score line in the second.
Both teams went into the break, but County held a slim lead 14-0 heading into the second half.
County poured it on in the second half scoring 21 unanswered points to pull away. Stevenson passed 35 yards to Austin Arroyo (Buchanan) and Sean Kelly (Clovis East) scored twice to upend the City squad 35-0.