Torres wins first-ever playoff game
Benny Munoz/The Madera Tribune
Matilda Torres’ Angel Pereida protects the ball en route to a 20-yard touchdown catch-and-run during Friday’s 27-21 playoff victory over the Reedley Pirates.
With a school as young as Matilda Torres High School, there will be many firsts and the Toros football team became the first Torres team to win a playoff game after a 27-21 victory over the Reedley Pirates in the first round of the Div. IV Central Section playoffs in Memorial Stadium.
The fourth-seeded Toros took an early 14-0 lead, but held off a No. 13 Reedley comeback to pick up the victory Friday night.
The Toros amassed 420 yards of total offense, including 245 yards on the ground. However, eight penalties for 80 yards hurt their chances at a dominant victory as well as two drives that died inside Reedley’s red zone without any points.
“We left some points on the field. I hate doing that,” head coach Joseph Marquez said. “Our defense plays tough. They play very opportunistic football. We shut down their run game, which Reedley really wanted to do. The Reedley coaches found ways to move the football, but we stopped them when it counted.”
Reedley scored two second half touchdowns and tied the game in the fourth quarter, but the Toros drove 60 yards on six plays for the game-clinching touchdown with five minutes left.
“I wanted to close the door in the second quarter,” Marquez said. “I wanted to go up 21-0 in the second quarter and, with our running game, we would have put that game to bed earlier.”
Torres quarterback Jose Soriano was 12-of-17 for 175 yards and threw for three touchdowns. Joseph Bass rushed for 81 yards to lead the Toros. Josiah Salinas rushed for 66 yards and Amani Sua gained 49 yards to key the rushing attack. Bass was injured in the second quarter, but came back for the key fourth quarter drive.
“We have a lot of players with bugging injury issues,” Marquez said. “We didn’t let that known. We came out and a lot of these guys showed a lot of heart.”
Reedley battled back and gained 304 yards of total offense, including 192 in the air, but the Toros held tough at the end to secure the victory.
The Toros set the tone early when Soriano hit Salinas for a 40-yard pass play to open the game. Bass gained eight to the 17-yard line. After an offsides penalty, Soriano hit Salinas on a quick slant and he took it into the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown two minutes into the game.
The Torres defense allowed an initial Reedley first down, but forced a punt.
Angel Pereida caught a seven-yard pass for a first dwon and then was was the Joseph Bass show. He carried the ball five straight times for 41 yards to the 20-yard line.
Soriano finished the drive with a quick seam pass to Pereida and Pereida split the Reedley defense for a 20-yard touchdown. Alan Avila hit the point after for a 14-0 lead.
The Toros got a tackle for loss by Salinas to force a punt.
Salinas then got the ball on a jet sweep and gained 58 yards to the 10-yard line. However, three straight runs by Bass only got the ball to the one. At the end of the first quarter. Torres outgained Reedley 200-15 in the quarter.
A penalty moved the ball back to the six and Soriano scored on a quarterback scramble, but another penalty moved the ball back, this time to the 25-yard line. Soriano, again, scrambled around and was tackled at the two-yard line and gave up the ball on downs.
Reedley responded with a 15-play drive, but didn’t result in any points. Bass was hurt on the drive after a tackle. The Priates moved the ball into Torres territory. A 16-yard gained moved the ball to the 26. However, a holding penalty and tackle by Avila forced the Pirates to punt on fourth-and-20 from the Torres 36-yard line.
The Toros were forced to punt and Reedley went on its first scoring drive of the game. A pass interference penalty placed the ball at the Torres 21-yard line. A 12-yard pass play gave the Pirates a first down inside the 10-yard line. Three plays later, Reedley’s quarterback ran into the end zone for a touchdown with 37 seconds left in the first half and cut Torres’ lead to 14-7.
The Toros got a 25-yard kickoff return from Lawrence Watson. Soriano then hit Salinas for a 23-yard gain to the 25-yad line.
Salinas took another pass to the two-yard line, but a holding penalty was called. With the ball at the 17, Soriano hit Jesus Moreno for a touchdown with 1.3 seconds left. Avila’s extra point gave the Toros a 21-7 halftime lead.
“That touchdown before half was huge,” Marquez said. “It would have been a travesty up seven at the half. Going up 14 at the half was critical”
Both teams exchanged second half punts before Reedley took advantage of a missed tackle to score on a 72-yard run to get back in the game. The extra point cut the lead to 21-14.
Sua gained 18 yards on the first play of the next drive and Soriano hit Avila for a 23-yard gain to the Reedley 23-yard line. Sua gained five on the next play and got the ball to the 15-yard line. However, on fourth-and-seven, Soriano threw incomplete.
The Pirates came right back with an 11-play, 80 yard drive to tie the score. The Pirates scored with a two-yard touchdown run to tie the game with 8:28 left in the fourth quarter.
Torres came right back with a 60-yard drive. Bass gained 17-yards on the first play. Reedley was hit with a pass interference penalty and then were offsides to place the ball at the Pirates’ 21-yard line. Sua gained four and Bass got the first down with an eight-yard run.
Soriano kept the ball himself on the next play and ran it into the end zone for a touchdown with 5:40 left in the game. The extra point snap was bad and the Toros settled for a 27-21 lead.
Reedley tried to keep momentum with a 12-yard pass play for a first down on third-and-eight. Reedley went to the running game and was faced with a fourth-and-two from the 37.
Reedley tried to run, but Sua and Soriano came up with the tackle behind the line of scrimmage to turn the ball over on downs.
The Toros tried to run out the clock. Pereida got a hand-off and gained nine yards on third-and-12 with 19.6 seconds left. Bass tried for the first down on fourth-and-three, but was stuffed for a loss of one with 13.2 seconds left.
Reedley tried one last heave down the field, but Watson came up with the interception to give the Toros the victory.
Torres will host North-Bakersfield on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Madera South’s stadium in the Div. IV quarterfinals.