Football: Strathmore rolls through non-league 5-0
The Spartans scored on all 10 drives while gaining 426 total yards in a 69-8 win over the Avenal Buccaneers
By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
STRATHMORE – So far this season the Strathmore Spartans have obliterated their opponents, while scoring 256 points in the process. On Friday night, Sept. 29, the Spartans (5-0) had their best showing yet as they dominated the Avenal Buccaneers (1-4) in all areas of the game on their way to a 69-8 win.
“We played well across the board,” said Strathmore head coach Jeromy Blackwell. “Our athleticism overwhelmed them. You could see that pretty early.”
On the night, the Spartans had a total of 10 possessions and found the end zone on each one. It was Strathmore’s trademark running attack that set up the first two scores, but the arm of Nick Salas got the Spartans in.
Less than a minute into the game, Salas found Amando Rodriguez in the flat for a 10-yard score up the far sideline for the game’s first score. On the very next drive, it was Alonso Acevedo on the receiving end of a 15-yard screen.
With a little over a minute left, Salas added his third touchdown of the quarter, the most of his career in a single quarter. On the first play of the Spartans’ fifth drive, Salas floated a ball up the near sideline to Rodriguez on a fade route for a 52-yard score, which made it 34-0.
Salas finished the game going 3-5 for 88 yards and three scores.
For the rest of the first half, it was the running backs who did the rest of the scoring. Fabian Alcantar and Joseph Garcia both hit pay dirt.
From the wildcat formation, Garcia got his first of two scores on the night when he punched it in from three yards out to make it 21-0.
Avenal’s punter then muffed a punt which set up the Spartans with great field position at the Buccaneers 12 yard line. Alcantar got the first of his two scores when he took the next play 12 yards up the near sideline for the score to make it 28-0.
Then with nine seconds left on the clock, Acevedo got the only score for the Spartans special teams when he returned a punt 50 yards up the near sideline.
The game was pretty much over by the end of the first quarter with the Spartans ahead 48-0. However, that did not stop Garcia from getting his second score of the game. He ran a 46-yarder up the home sideline as he broke through one arm tackle after another.
Garcia finished the game with 10 carries for 152 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Strathmore held the Buccaneers to just one first down the entire first half and Erik Flores had the game’s only interception. Avenal’s only score came in the fourth quarter with a running clock, but by then the Spartans’ second string was in place.
The second stringers are what Coach Blackwell is really pleased with.
“It was important for these young guys to come in,” he said. “We just want to make sure that they care.”
If the Strathmore Spartans can do half of what they have already done so far this season, the other teams might as well hand over the East Sequoia League title now.
“I think we have a good chance to have a good showing in league,” said Blackwell.
There is a flip a side to this success, however, and it is that Strathmore’s starters have yet to play a full game. In order to remedy that, Blackwell has been putting his starters in other positions to keep game conditioning. For instance, Garcia saw a lot of playing time on defense this past Friday night.
What will happen when Strathmore is tested? That is yet to be seen. But the Woodlake Tigers (4-2) hope to find out when they welcome the Spartans to town for both teams’ ESL opener Friday night. Woodlake is coming off a 19-7 win over the Sierra Chieftains and Coach Blackwell has only beaten the Tigers on their home field once in his stay at Strathmore.