Football: Cardinals start ESL play 1-0 with shutout win over Sierra Pacific
By Patrick Dillon @pdillon_sgn
LINDSAY – Over the last three weeks the Lindsay Cardinals have been on the losing side of the final result. Those results made starting off East Sequoia League play against the 2016 D-VI Valley Champion runner-up that much harder.
Last Friday night the Cardinals left nothing to chance as they blanked the Sierra Pacific Golden Bears 28-0. That is the Cardinals first shutout of the season.
“We played our most complete game of the season,” said Lindsay head coach Matt Mendonca. “We really did not feel like we were a bad team, it was just the game went the opposite way.”
All season the Cardinals (2-4; 1-0) have been able to put points on the board, averaging 18.5 points per game. The issue has been that their opponents have been able to average 23.5 points per game.
Coach Mendonca has been trying to get his defense back to the basics since the Cardinals lost 38-0 to Central Valley Christian in week three. This week he thinks that they did just that.
“We did better as far as getting back to basics and reading the offense,” said coach Mendonca.
Before the season the Cardinals made the switch to an odd man front defense in hopes of using their speed at linebacker. Finally, the Cardinals are seeing that pay off with Javier Avalos finishing with a team leading nine tackles. Behind him was Israel Truillo with seven.
Another factor that played into the Cardinals dominance was Golden Bears (1-5; 0-1) struggling without their top player Phillip Jackson. Jackson is the only Golden Bear with over 100 yards on the ground (499) for the season.
Offensively for the Cardinals it was Ethan Duran leading the way with 29 carries for 198 yards and a touchdown.
“We are happy that our offense has been able to run the football,” said coach Mendonca.
That type of production kept the defense preoccupied with stopping the run and allowed Ernie Bautista to attack through the air. Bautista finished with two touchdowns as he threw 9-14 for 144 yards.
Chris Orozco also had a touchdown throw as he went a perfect 2-2 for 56 yards.
Coach Mendonca believes that getting this win will help the Cardinals with their confidence but knows that they must cut the celebrating short.
Up next for the Cardinals is a team that has risen to be a serious contender in the ESL this season, the Granite Hills Grizzlies (6-0; 1-0). The Grizzlies are coming off a 35-0 win over the Corcoran Panthers.
“We have to stay focused and prepare our kids as best we can,” said coach Mendonca.