Stallions dominate in home win
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera South’s Erik Cervantes runs away from a Sanger West defender during Friday’s 30-6 victory over the Hornets. Cervantes scored two touchdowns in the victory.
The Madera South Stallions football team was the dominant team last week, but it just took some time to show it.
The Stallions finally pulled away in the second half for a 30-6 victory over the Sanger West Hornets at Madera South on Friday.
The Stallions outgained the Hornets 360-205 and held the Hornets to just 58 yards rushing after a 74-yard touchdown run when nine Stallions were on the field. Sanger West turned the ball over on downs on four of its first five possessions.
However, after an emotional loss to Madera, followed quickly by a loss to the top team in the North Yosemite League (Sunnyside-Fresno), head coach Matt Johnson was happy to see happy faces amongst his players.
“That’s what it’s all about,” he said. “We are coming out of a funk. We didn’t play our best. Defensively, I was happy. We got some guys healthy enough to play. Offensively, they put eight in the box and we couldn’t throw it effectively to get them out of it. It’s so great just to get any kind of win to make us feel better about ourselves.”
The win was Madera South’s first since a season-opening victory over Orosi, and the Stallions face Fresno this Friday for Homecoming.
“We talked about being ,500 over common opponents and this is one more step for the playoffs,” Johnson said. “We got out of this game without any major injuries.”
The Stallions scored touchdowns on four of their first six possessions and closed the scoring with an interception return for a touchdown.
The only thing Johnson had to worry about was his team’s point after touchdown conversion rate, which was zero.
“I was unhappy with our conversion rate,” he said. “The bottom line is, hats off to Sanger West. They are young and fought hard. We didn’t play very well on offense and we have to find our mojo.”
Erik Cervantes led the Stallions with 117 yards from scrimmage. The Stallions had three ball carriers gain more than 50 yards with Cervantes carrying for 59, Angel Moreno for 51 and Jacob Edwards leading with 68.
Five different players scored touchdown with Cervantes scoring one in the air and one on the ground.
Efrain Rojas returned an interception for a touchdown and Isaiah Ford also added an interception. The Stallions had nine tackles for losses, which accounted for 38 negative yards.
The Stallions opened the game with a nine-play, 65-yard drive for the first touchdown. Quarterback Ahmed Sharhan found Esteban Castaneda for a 15-yard gain on second-and-15. Sharhan carried himself for 12 yards. On third-and-10, Sharhan found Ford for a 22-yard gain to the two-yard line.
On the next play, Angel Moreno scored from a yard out for a touchdown three minutes into the game.
The Hornets drove inside the Madera South 20-yard line after recovering a muffed punt. However, on third down, Sanger West was picked off by Ford and flipped field position.
The Stallions got the ball on downs after an incomplete pass, but Sharhan was picked off after the ball went through the hands of his intended receiver.
The Madera South defense got help from a penalty to force a turnover on downs. Joseph Velasquez stuffed Sanger West for a one-yard gain. Then, Velasquez teamed with Octavio Rodriguez for a six-yard loss. After an illegal forward pass, an incomplete pass turned the ball over to the Stallions.
Edwards opened the drive with an 11-yard run. Angelo Moreno followed for 13 and then Sharhan found Edwards for 11 yards. Moreno gained nine and Angel Moreno gained three for a first down.
Two plays later, Cervantes went around the right side for a 22-yard touchdown run for a 12-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
Sanger West opened its next drive with a 29-yard screen pass to get deep into Madera South territory. Eric Gallegos stuffed Sanger West after a gain of one. Two passes later and the Hornets turned the ball over on downs.
Angelo Moreno gave Madera South its first first down of the drive. Then, Sharhan found Cervantes coming across the middle for a short pass. Cervantes bounced off the initial tackle and outran the rest of the defense for a 58-yard touchdown and an 18-0 lead heading into halftime.
Rodriguez dropped Sanger West for a loss of six on the first drive of the second half after a 28-yard gain on the first play off the drive. However, the Stallions forced a punt on fourth-and-19.
The Stallions got the help of an offisdes on fourth-and-two to continue its first second half drive. Edwards gained 10 for a first down and Angel Moreno gained 16 to the nine-yard line. Two plays later, Edwards carried for a four-yard touchdown run and a 24-0 lead with 3:13 left in the third quarter.
Sanger West got two first downs on its next drive. On third-and-22, Sanger West tried a short pass, but it went off the receiver’s hands. Rojas was right there for the deflection and ran it back 35-yards for the touchdown and a 30-0 lead a minute into the fourth quarter.
The Hornets went backwards on its next possession and punted.
Edwards opened the Stallions’ drive with a 35-yard run into Hornets territory. Two plays later, Rojas gained 16 yards to the 22-yard line. However, the Stallions turned the ball over on downs.
On the next play, Sanger West took advantage of confusion amongst the Stallions for a 74-yard touchdown run with four minutes left in the game for the 30-6 final.
Castaneda recovered the onsides kick try. Cervantes helped run out the clock with a 20-yard gain into Sanger West territory. The Stallions ran out the clock for a 30-6 victory.