The Mineral County High football team’s winning streak continued on Saturday when the team took to the field in Big Pine, Calif. and dominated the Big Pine Warriors, 90-0.
The win advanced the team to 3-0 and ensured the squad would take its undefeated record into league play.
Much like in its game against Round Mountain, the Serpents were more than a match for its opponents in terms of numbers and experience. The Warriors were only able to field a team of nine players.
But, Serpents coach Curt McElroy said the Warriors showed dedication and heart.
“These kids from Big Pine, they came out to play football, and they wanted to play football,” he said.
McElroy said his team won the coin toss and deferred as usual — the team prefers to start the second half with the ball — and the defense stopped its opponents. A long punt return and short offensive drive put the Serpents up 6-0, and it was off to the races.
McElroy, who several times praised the resolve and pluck of the Warriors, said the thing that impressed him most from the Serpents was sportsmanship.
“Our kids would knock them down, make a great tackle, pick them up, pat them on the back,” he said. “I thought our team showed great sportsmanship, and so did their team. It’s tough when you get down like that.”
McElroy seemed torn by the result of the contest. He said several times he was impressed by the Warriors. He called the team a group of talented young men, and said in a few years, when it’s more experienced, the team will be a formidable adversary.
“You never feel good about scoring 90 points on a team like that, ever,” McElroy said.
Yet, at the same time, there didn’t seem to be many options. McElroy said he called “some plays” that he didn’t expect to earn the Serpents any yardage, but the Warriors missed a tackle, and the Serpents made huge gains.
“[Our] freshman quarterback scored two touchdowns,” McElroy said. “Do you tell him to fall down?”
“How would you like to be the opposing team?” McElroy said. “Ok, they snap the ball to us, we take a knee three times, play defense, they punt the ball back, fair catch it and then take a knee three times, punt the ball back?
“That’s a slap in the face. That’s just downright disrespectful.”
Jared Kuehey, senior quarterback, once again lead the Serpents on the ground with seven carries for 107 yards, 50 of which came in one run, and three touchdowns. He also completed five of seven passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns.
Sheldon Self, senior tailback, had four touches for five yards, and senior tailback Collin Sanford had four runs for 39 yards.
Wattie Balderama, junior fullback, ran twice for 18 yards; Tyshawn Bonner twice for 24 yards and a touchdown; Victor Williams twice for 15 and a touchdown; and Brandon West twice for 10 yards.
Freshman quarterback Brandon West found a receiver in the end zone both times he threw, for a total of 18 yards.
Sanford was the favorite receiver. He caught four passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns. He also returned a punt for a touchdown.
Senior wide receiver Brady Cardenas caught a pass for 12 yards; Williams pulled in a 6-yard touchdown pass; and Chandler Isom, sophomore center back, caught a four yard pass.
The defense was lead by Sanford, who had two fumble recoveries, one for an 20 yard touchdown, and two interceptions, each of which he ran back 10 yards for a touchdown.
Tommy Jackson, senior linebacker, had nine tackles, a sack, two assists, and an interception pulled in an touchdown, which he returned for 20 yards.
Spencer Benjaman, sophomore nose guard, had three tackles, and a sack; Isaiah Crowl, sophomore nose guard, had three tackles, a sack, and picked up a fumble; Brodie Macpherson, junior linebacker, had four tackles and an assist; Matt Blazewick, senior guard, had a tackle, a sack and an assist.
Self had a tackle, an assist, and a fumble recovery; West had a tackle and a sack; Dakota Dillard, sophomore linebacker, had two tackles, two sacks, and an assist; Balderama had six tackles and two assists; Cardenas had two tackles.
Paul Rodriguez III, freshman defensive end, had four tackles; Dempsey Quintero, freshman defensive end, had two sacks and an assist; Eddie Dunnett, freshman defensive end, had a tackle and a sack; Bonner had four tackles, a sack, three assists, and picked up a fumble for a touchdown; and Williams rounded out the defense with a tackle.
With another win under his belt, McElroy is looking forward to Friday night’s game against Excel Christian. The game will be the first of the season played in Hawthorne. It will also be the first game of conference play.
Excel Christian is also undefeated. It won its only game against Lee Vining 60-6.
“We haven’t been tested yet,” McElroy said he told his team. “Excel’s undefeated coming in. […] You just can’t take anybody for granted, you can’t take any one team, not matter who they are, how big they are, if you go in with your dobbers down, or you don’t go in there to take care of business, you get that one loss, that could set you back a whole season.”
McElroy said he has “a lot of cool stuff that we’re going to unveil,” but didn’t want to say what his team was working on for this week’s game.
In practice on Monday, the offense seemed to be focused on rushing drills, and learning complex option plays.
“We’re a multiple offense,” McElroy said. “[…] We’re just multi-talented. And if you take a look at our stats, the stats that I’ve given you already, what do you do? Who are you going to guard? You take one kid away, we’ve got somebody else.”