Overtime loss in semis end Toros’ season
Benny Munoz/The Madera Tribune
Matilda Torres receiver Angel Pereida catches the first of three touchdowns in Friday’s overtime loss. Pereida scored on touchdowns of 31, 21 and 25 yards.
The Matilda Torres football team rallied from a two touchdown deficit to force overtime in the Div. IV Semifinals against No. 8 Shafter. However, an incomplete pass in overtime ended the Toros’ season.
The fourth-seeded Toros scored a pair of touchdowns in the second half to tie the game at 35. After Shafter scored a touchdown in overtime, the Toros answered with a touchdown pass to Angel Pereida on the first play. However, the two point conversion pass from Joseph Bass in wildcat formation fell incomplete and Shafter held on for a 42-41 victory Friday at Madera South.
“We decided midway through the fourth quarter, if this (overtime) happened, we were going for two,” head coach Joseph Marquez said. “We talked to it out as a staff and had the plays picked out that we wanted to go. We were comfortable with that call. We knew we were going to go for two.
“It looked like we showed it was going to be a pass a little early. I looked at it and it didn’t develop the way we wanted to. Joseph did a great effort to make it something.”
The Generals jumped out to the early lead and counterpunched with the Toros until the fourth quarter. Each time the Toros scored to cut the lead, the Generals answered. Torres still had their chances to win the game in regulation, but came up just short.
“We showed a lot of heart,” Marquez said. “There’s a lot of fight in these guys. Over the past couple of years, they have learned how to finish games and how to pull them out. They don’t have the down-and-out attitudes. They don’t drop their heads. They stay confident and play the game.”
After an inconsistent first half, Torres quarterback Jose Soriano came to life in the second half. He ended up with 254 passing yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He threw three touchdowns to Pereida and another to Jesus Moreno.
“Jose calmed down to throw four touchdowns and run one in,” Marquez said. “He’s a very special player. I’m very excited to have him back for another year.”
Moreno and Pereida combined for more than 200 yards receiving. Pereida caught five passes for 98 yards while Moreno caught 11 passes for 112 yards.
“Jesus had a phenomenal game,” Marquez said. “The building blocks for this program are coming back. We’re excited for that and looking forward to it.”
Midway through the first half, it looked like the Generals were going to run away with the game. They used sweep right to perfection, gobbling up yardage. However, the Toros made the halftime adjustment and limited the Generals’ running game.
After Shafter gained 128 yards on the ground in the first half, they were held to 74 in the second half. Shafter averaged 7.5 yards per rush in the first half and just 4.3 in the second half.
“They were checking plays based on our alignment,” Marquez said. “We gave them a different look in the second half and snuck a safety in the box when we thought they were going to run the sweep.”
The Toros punted on their first possession, but the Generals did the same. The Toros drove inside Shafter territory. On a second down, Moreno had nothing but green in front of him as the defender fell, but the throw went over his head.
The Generals found something that worked on their next possession. They used a 26-yard gain on first down to get out of the shadow of their own end zone. Seven plays later, Shafter was on the scoreboard after a 25-yard touchdown run on a sweep to the right two minutes into the second quarter.
The Toros came marching back. Pereida gained 13 on a hand off. Josiah Salinas got a hand off for a six-yard gain on third-and-two. Bass gained two for a first down on third-and-two.
Facing a fourth-and-10, Soriano evaded the rush and rolled to his left. He hit Pereida in the middle of the field on a post pattern for a 31-yard touchdown with 5:57 left in the first half. Alan Avila hit the extra point to tie the game.
However, the Generals went back to the rushing attack to score on their next drive. Shafter ran the ball seven straight times to get into the red zone. They converted their own fourth-and-long play with a 18-yard touchdown for a 14-7 lead at the half.
Then, the two teams combined for 42 points in the third quarter.
Shafter drove 58-yards on six rushing plays (the only pass play was a pass interference penalty) to score from four yards out for a 21-7 lead.
The Toros came right back to cut the lead back to seven.
Soriano kept the drive alive with a first down quarterback sneak on fourth down. Salinas gained 25 yards two plays later. Soriano then hit Moreno with a 26-yard touchdown, but it was called back on a penalty.
The Toros got the benefit of a defensive personal foul penalty and faced a first-and-one from the 17. Soriano found Moreno, who made a leaping grab in the end zone, for the touchdown with 5:40 left in the quarter. A missed extra point gave the Generals a 21-13 lead.
However, on the ensuing kickoff, Shafter got the ball at the eight and returned it the rest of the way for a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to extend the lead to 28-13.
The Toros went on a quick five play, 63-yard drive to get back into the game. Moreno boke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and gained 28-yard to the Shafter 30. After Moreno gained nine on a reception, Soriano hit Pereida, again, for a 21-yard touchdown to cut Shafter’s lead to 28-21 after Bass ran in the two-point conversion.
Shafter scored three plays later when the Generals’ receiver evaded a tackle at the line of scrimmage and sprinted down the sideline for a 62-yard touchdown reception for a 35-21 lead.
The Toros came right back and got help from Shafter after an offisdes call on fourth-and-five. Then, Shafter was called for defensive holding for a 10-yard penalty.
After Soriano scrambled for a 21-yard gain to the 12, Amani Sua got the hand-off and ran through the Generals’ defense for a 12-yard touchdown run. Avila’s extra point cut the lead to seven.
On the ensuing kickoff, Avila executed the pooch kick to perfection, getting the ball behind the first line of defenders and in front of the second line. The ball took a sideways bounce past the Shafter receiver and Razi Molina came up with the recovery at the Generals’ 30-yard line.
Soriano hit Bass for a 10-yard gain on third-and-four to the 14-yard line. Bass and Sua take the ball to the four for a first down. Two plays later, Soriano faked a hand off and ran untouched into the left corner of the end zone to tie the game at 35 with 7:57 left.
The Generals got a 27-yard kickoff return and then ran the ball on seven straight plays to get inside the Torres’ 10-yard line. On the next play, the Shafter quarterback rolled away from pressure and threw into the end zone, but Pereida was there for an interception.
The Toros got an initial first down, but had to punt with two minutes left in the game. The Generals tried to move the ball, but lined up to punt with 18 seconds left. After a penalty, Shafter went for it, but threw incomplete with 14 seconds left.
The Toros couldn’t complete a pass before regulation ended.
Shafter got the ball to begin overtime and got a 19-yard gain on third-and-eight to put the ball inside the 10-yard line. Three plays later, on third-and-goal, Shafter scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass. The point after was good and Shafter led 42-35.
It only took Torres just one play to score a touchdown when Soriano hit Pereida on a corner route.
Marquez went for two and Bass took the snap out of the wildcat with Soriano lined up wide left. Bass was pressured right away, scrambled and put the ball in the air for Sua. Sua initially caught the ball with a jump, but it was dislodged on his way down and the Generals recorded their second straight one-point playoff upset to end the Toros’ season.