Football: Cavaliers clip Cardinals’ wings
By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
LINDSAY – Lindsay head coach Matt Mendonca felt like his Cardinals were as prepared as they could have been heading into their matchup with the Central Valley Christian Cavaliers last Friday night. Having already played two big, physical teams during the first two weeks of the season in the Exeter Monarchs and Avenal Buccaneers. Not to mention the Cardinals defeated the Buccaneers 22-6 the week before.
All that may have seemed good at the time, but the Cavaliers were coming off a 21-12 win over the Bakersfield Christian Eagles and had put up 48 in a win over Hoover the week prior.
It is safe to say that the Cavaliers (3-0) were the better team entering last Friday’s match up against the Cardinals (1-2) and they showed it winning 38-0.
“It is going to be a battle for us going forward but I think CVC is probably the best team we will see all year, so hats off to those guys,” said Coach Mendonca.
The side of the ball that the Cardinals did the best at was on defense, run defense to be more precise. As a unit the Cardinals held CVC’s leading rusher Jaalen Rening to only 92 yards on 15 carries. Rening did score the Cavaliers only rushing touchdown when he plunged into the end zone for a one yard score in the second quarter.
“Our run defense was pretty stout,” said Coach Mendonca. “A lot of the times when you try and stop the run it leaves you valuable in the secondary.”
As a result of the Cardinals success at stopping the run CVC began to air the ball out and that is where the rest of the scores came from. CVC’s starting quarterback JJ Lino had two scores in the first quarter. He threaded the middle of the Cardinal defense and found Rening for a 22-yard score on the Cavaliers opening drive. He then found Brian Noel for a 45 yard score, Lino’s longest passing score of the evening.
“I’m going to have to go back and look at the film because I know that we had some blown coverage,” said Coach Mendonca.
Lino finished with three scores as he went 11-22 for 203 yards.
On the other hand the Cardinal offense had a difficult time doing anything positive on the offensive side of the ball. Primarily a running team with Ethan Duran, the Cardinals leading rusher, was held scoreless and only gained 29 yards on his 13 carries.
The issue was the overwhelming penetration that the Cavaliers defense was getting on every single play. It seemed that two or more defenders were in the Cardinal back field on every play.
That type of penetration by CVC also hindered the Cardinals passing attack by not allowing Cardinals quarterback Ernie Bautista time to settle his feet. Multiple times throughout the game Bautista either sacked, knocked down, hit, or at the very least had a defender in his face.
With the constant pressure Bautista had to rush through his progressions and could not settle into a throw. That caused him to throw three interceptions on the night to go along with a lost fumble that along with a lost fumble that the Cardinals offense had already committed.
The Cardinals it is back to the drawing board to get ready for a trip to face a Farmersville Aztecs team that has had a interim head coach named this past week. Going up against a team still trying to find its identity the Cardinals should come away with a victory.
“I really don’t know what to expect out of Farmersville this next week,” said Coach Mendonca.