WSL Athletics Week 4 Review/Week 5 Preview:
HEAD COACH BETO MEJIA from the MENDOTA AZTECS
The Firebaugh Eagles were looking to really shake off and forget about what had happened the week before against The Caruthers Blue Raiders and especially how Blue Raiders Running Back Hunter Babb ran all over the Eagles defense. So how about a 2-hour trip down south down Interstate 5, then Highways 41,46, and finally a quick cruise down Highway 101 before arriving at Templeton High School for their first of two duels against a fellow Eagle as in Week 5 they will travel to Reedley to take on the Immanuel Eagles. Well maybe it was the long bus ride? Or maybe it was that they never really could shake off giving up 46 points the week before against Caruthers and allowing Caruthers’s Hunter Babb to rush for 346yds and score 6 touchdowns? Or maybe it was that Templeton was just better than Firebaugh that evening? Maybe all three? Well,whatever the reasons may be, Templeton defended their Nest emphatically and implemented their own “No Fly Zone” as they kept Firebaugh off the board and Firebaugh had another game where they gave up 40+ points.
The Templeton Eagles soared to a 49-0 victory over Firebaugh and now Firebaugh will have to turn and regroup as the road trip continues This Week as they will head East on Highway 180 passing through Fresno then take Highway 99 South and get off on East Mountain Ave till, they get Road 44 pulling up at the Immanuel Sports Complex to take on The Immanuel Eagles in their preseason finale before jumping into WSL Play next week.
The Broncos of Dos Palos have seemed to have shaken off the rust from their opening week loss to rival Los Banos as these past few weeks have been good to the youngsters of Merced County with wins over Summerville and Liberty-Madera Ranchos. They looked to extend their win streak to 3 before entering their bye week before their preseason finale against Chowchilla. This time they were hosting the Panthers of Pioneer Valley out of Santa Maria who took the long 3 hour plus drive up from Highways 101,46, and 41 then getting on Interstate-5 arriving at around 4pm to Ike Franklin Field at Bill Hume Stadium Home of The Dos Palos Broncos. Both teams were coming off wins the week before. Dos Palos had beaten Liberty-Madera Ranchos and Pioneer Valley had beaten Righetti. It was a close game after the 1st quarter but afterwards Dos Palos stepped it up and didn’t look back leading by 18 points at the half then nearly shut out the Panthers but indeed outscored them 13-7 enroute to a 41-17 win for Dos Palos. For the 2ndstraight week Dos Palos’s Sophomore Running Back Andre Flores exploded for another big game as the week before against Liberty-Madera Ranchos he scored 3 rushing touchdowns and rushed for 200yds, this week he beat his own mark rushing for 4 touchdowns for a total of 225yds which now has him totaling 667yds and 9 touchdowns so far this season.
Also, in the game Junior WR Sixto Ibarra scored on a rushing touchdown, and Senior Hernan Hernandez scored on a blocked punt return to round out the scoring. The Broncos extend their win streak to 3Dos Palos as they have this week off before their road trip to Chowchilla next Friday to close out preseason play.
Coalinga is off to a hot start so far this season as the defending WSL Champions have started the season undefeated and have knocked off some competitive teams along the way so far. Last week The Horned Toads made the trip to the Bear’s cave aka Selma High Stadium and made it their home away from home with a 46-0 shutout win. This time they were back at the friendly confines of Memorial Stadium as Coalinga hosted The Reedley Pirates who have so far had a down year not having a so far secured a win this season. Well Coalinga sure did take advantage of being back home as they continued where they left off both offensively as well as defensively and for the 2nd week in a row recorded another shutout as the Horned Toads of Coalinga shipped the wounded Pirates back home with a 24-0 win as they have now outscored their past two opponents 70-0 and will once again look forward to staying home once again as they will host the Guardians of Justin Garza High School, one of the most recently opened schools in Fresno as part of their 3-game homestand before their WSL Opener on the 29th of September at Firebaugh.
There were a lot of questions surrounding Avenal’s football program whether longtime Coach David Lewis would return to once again lead The Buccaneers after making a deep run in the playoffs last season making it to the Division 6 Semifinals losing to top-seeded Hanford West. Well those questions were answered when it was announced that a new coach would be taking the helm of the ship and his name is Isaiah Vargas and so far he’s been doing good things out there with his staff as they currently have a (3-1) record and are in a tie for 2nd with Dos Palos and that’s after The Buccaneers of Avenal went on the road and shot down The Aztecs…
The Farmersville Aztecs that is as they are also scheduled to play against the Mendota Aztecs on the road later this season. The Avenal Bucs defeated Farmersville 42-12 and with the new coaching staff seem for now have all the cylinders rolling as they will look to continue their momentum against an old foe as they will host Hanford West this week. Last season Avenal would see The Huskies of Hanford West, first in the regular season which was a low-scoring affair which was won by Hanford West with a last second touchdown with the score of 7-3. The 2nd time they met was in the Division 6 Semifinals and it was a close affair once again, but Hanford West would win again 27-12. Avenal has had this game circled and are ready for a chance in redemption this week at Buccaneer Stadium.
The Mendota Aztecs notched their first win of the season two weeks ago shutting out The Strathmore Spartans 20-0 and were looking to even themselves up before the bye week. They had a short week as they had a date with the Roughriders of Roosevelt on Thursday Night at Sunnyside and well Roosevelt hadn’t had the easiest week as the day before the game an accident occurred outside of Roosevelt High when a young driver went off the road and hit a group of kids waiting at a bus stop and was later apprehended by Fresno PD. 11 students were injured but sustained non-life threatening injuries and are expected to recover. Roosevelt, under 1st year Head Coach Joshua Kloster, jumped out of the gate with explosive offense and had The Aztecs of Mendota in check and by halftime they jumped out to a 28-0 lead. 2nd half rolls around and Mendota woke up and Junior Running Back David Gonzalez went off scoring 3 rushing touchdowns to get Mendota back within 7 points but Roosevelt put an end to the comeback rally and scored with less than 2 minutes and the Aztecs of Mendota fell short 34-21 to fall to (1-3) and will have this week and next to get ready for The Immanuel Eagles as they will return home for their preseason finale and look forward to bouncing back.
I conducted a postgame interview with Roosevelt Head Coach Joshua Kloster and here’s how it went.
(KR: myself, JK: Coach Josh Kloster)
KR: Coming off a loss last week to Mission Oak 31-7 and had not much time to prepare for Mendota. What was the game plan to try to contain a physical team like Mendota?
JK: I’ve been doing this a long time and people out here in the community know me, I’ve been coaching high school football for 17 years. I know Coach Beto and his staff and the tradition of winning at Mendota. They just won the Section Title last season. So, we knew they were going to be run-heavy and that his kids were going to play hard and never quit. Our thing was how to have resolve after losing a game the week before. With the kids here we have a new thing going on here and what’s happening is in the first half we played extremely well on both sides of the ball jumping out to a 28-0 lead. But at the half these kids aren’t used to having this type of success or the knowledge of how to finish a game and we came out lackluster in the 2ndhalf and we let a sleeping giant like Mendota wake up and they aren’t going to lay down and quit and they gave us a dogfight in the 2nd half. We had some guys like Jeremy Young our wide receiver come up with clutch catches including the one that won us the game and what were teaching the boys here is that football is four quarters and we got to play physical and fight till the end whether it’s on Thursday Night or Friday Night.
KR: What’s the halftime message to your team with a huge lead like the one you had up 28-0?
JK: With any team going into the half with a lead like ours you feel like you accomplished something and me and my staff have all played college football and we realize it’s a problem as we need to start and finish strong but in the 2nd half we came out lackluster and let Mendota come back and made it difficult on ourselves as we fought and scrape together to come out with the win when it should have been a done deal sooner. So, the message from now on is that we always must fight and play our best game all four quarters starting fast and finishing even stronger.
KR: Take me back to your final possession which led to the game-clinching touchdown and what was the thought process about going for it on 3rd down with less than 3 minutes knowing Mendota could get the ball back but with no timeouts?
JK: We called a timeout, and we were thinking “What are we going to do?” as I’ve been in the situation myself and said “If were going for it then were going for it”, So we decided to get our best playmakers and called a “Hitch ‘n’ Go” hoping the defender would fall for it which he did allowing our receiver to haul in the touchdown to win us the game.
KR: We’re all aware of what happened the day before outside of Roosevelt High School with the “Hit and Run” accident with 11 of them being injured and we received news earlier in the game that they were all going to be ok and I couldn’t imagine how it would not be on the minds of the team as I’m sure your players had friends involved so how did you come into today’s game after a situation like that happening? What was the mindset coming into the game?
JK: The unfortunate incident that happened with one of our student body getting squirrely doing something that would have been catastrophic and it’s glory to God my savior that was watching over those kids, they were 11 people injured but looks like everyone is going to make a speedy recovery but it did affect the kids and right away with social media rumors flew like that one of the kids had passed away and this or that happened and the whole student community was in a disarray and I told my team is that at the moment we can only do our job and tune into our abilities and tune it out and it was a relief when it was confirmed that indeed no student had passed away and everyone was going to be safe but we also had to regain our focus and we had it in the first half but just didn’t come quite ready in the 2nd half.
KR: So now that you and your team got the victory tonight, What’s the plan to get ready for your North Yosemite League Opener on the road this Friday 9/15 against The Torros of Matilda Torres (Madera) at Madera South Stadium in order to extend your win streak and take the energy and momentum after winning tonight against Mendota.
JK: We’re going to as a staff do our regular 4-5 hour film study session and get the kids prepared to win a football game and celebrate the win tonight but tomorrow we start anew and every week we’re (0-0) and right now we’re (2-1) glory to God on that as these kids are starting to see success as we go into league and our league is tough going up against tough opponents and rejuvenate ourselves in some ways. Making sure we’re doing the academics, film study and understand our opponents and have a long successful run at this. Injuries and staying healthy is keyand moving forward from there we should be ok.
KR: This is my first time meeting you, but I have heard good things about you. What was your reaction to getting the call that you would be hired as the next head coach at Roosevelt coming off a rocky season the previous year under Dwayne Wright? Your first couple of weeks with the team and here you are a few weeks into the season at (2-1).
JK: You know like I said my savior Lord Jesus Christ he brought me down here and it’s not my will but his and he had a purpose for me being here with the inner-city kids. I’ve coached at Sierra Pacific, Hanford High, and Lemoore and I’ve been around the block and wound up here. And every kid deserves to have an opportunity to have great coaches around them and have great successful seasons as we’re trying to mentor these kids, get them food and academic support and give them what they would get in the bigger programs. And obviously success is important as well as becoming better young men is the goal and winning football games is a great thing that comes along with that.
WSL Athletics Week 5 Schedule (Mendota & Dos Palos have a bye week)
Avenal Buccaneers vs. Hanford West
Coalinga Horned Toads vs. Justin Garza (Fresno)
Tranquillity Tigers vs. Sierra
Immanuel vs. Firebaugh Eagles
WSL Standings after Week 4
- Coalinga Horned Toads (3-0)
T-2. Dos Palos Broncos/Avenal Buccaneers (3-1)
- Firebaugh Eagles (2-2)
- Tranquillity Tigers (1-2)
- Mendota Aztecs (1-3)
WSL Team Divisional Rankings as of 9/11
Division 4: #2 Coalinga, #3 Dos Palos
Division 5: #7 Mendota, #11 Firebaugh and Division 6: #3 Avenal, #13 Tranquillity
WSL Play is just around the corner with WSL League Opening Night scheduled for September 29th.
Good Luck all teams this week. And As Always…GO FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS! BEAT ARIZONA STATE AND SHOW WHAT’S LEFT OF THE PAC-12 HOW THE BULLDOGS GET THE JOB DONE!!!
WSL Athletics vs. The Pagmeter Predictions Battle Update: After Week 4 it’s now tied with both of us having an equal mark of (14-8). Let’s See how this week turns out.
Kevin Arias-Romero, WSL Athletics Editor-in-Chief and WSL Contributor, The Pagmeter
Source of stats and information mentioned in this article was provided by http://www.maxpreps.com