Football: Strathmore Spartans spear Orosi Cardinals in 35-13 victory

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By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN

STRATHMORE – The Strathmore Spartans have made a habit of beating teams – badly. But head coach Jeromy Blackwell has not been all that impressed with his team’s performance late in games. In their last game before they welcomed the Cardinals to town, against the Templeton Eagles, Strathmore let up 14 points in the third quarter. In last Friday’s game against Orosi, the defense let up 13 points in the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t come out ready two weeks in a row after half,” said Blackwell. “It’s a win, but I don’t think it was done the way it was supposed to be done.”

While the Spartans may have let up two scores that could have been avoided, the first half gave them the cushion to do so. On the first offensive snap of the game, quarterback Nick Salas found tight end Andres Lara on the skinny post one on one. Placing the ball right over the defender’s shoulder, Lara did the rest of the work taking the ball 64 yards for the first points of the game.

Despite the early 7-0 lead, the Cardinals put a strain on the Spartan defense, until they held strong on a goal line stand from the 3 yard line. Lining up on fourth and goal, the Spartans stopped a strong run attempt to keep the Cards out of the end zone.

Strathmore’s offense went back to work and actually took the ball the length of the field – twice if you count the touchdown that was called back on a holding penalty. The score that counted though was running back Joseph Garcia’s first of the night on a pitch to the outside from the 6 yard line. Garcia’s second score came during the first minute of the second quarter.

The defense’s bend-but-don’t-break style allowed the Cardinals within five yards of a touchdown on their second possession. But a forced fumble and recovery by the Spartans gave their offense the ball at the 7 yard line. From there, it took only one play for Garcia to rumble 93 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead.

Garcia did not shy away from the end zone for a third time in the half when he used his agility to dodge swooping Cardinal defenders for a 23-yard touchdown run with 2:50 left in the half. And just when the Cardinals’ offense started to take flight late in the second quarter, the Spartan defense speared their hopes of a late score when Lara pulled down the Orosi quarterback for a last-second sack.

Nonetheless, the Cardinals came out of the half an energized team and took the opening possession down to the 3 yard line. Unfortunately for them, the defense came out just as tough and aware. When the Cardinals put the ball on the ground a second time in the red zone, the Spartans leaped on top of it. In just two plays, Garcia added another score to his stat line, with an 88-yard touchdown run, that sealed the Spartan’s offensive production on the night with 8:50 to go in the third quarter.

The Spartans hope to make up for their relaxed fourth quarter play against the Orange Cove Titans on Friday. Strathmore will be traveling to the Titan’s turf where the game is slated for 7:30 p.m.

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