Football: Strathmore passes first real test of adversity with 55-22 win over Orange Cove

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By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN

ORANGE COVE – Last season held a lot of firsts for the Spartans and their head coach Jeromy Blackwell, first regional championship and Blackwell’s 100th win. That trend has carried over to this season when Strathmore defeated the Orange Cove Titans on their home field for the first time in school history 55-22 last Friday night.

“The environment was remarkable,” said Coach Blackwell. “We anticipated that [Orange Cove] was going to bring their top game and they did.”

So far, this season the Spartans (4-0) have not been tested during the first half, often going into the locker room with a three or more-touchdown lead. Yet, on this night the Titans produced some first half adversity for the undefeated team.

The start was what Strathmore fans have come to expect from their team. After forcing the Titans to a three and out the Spartans drove right down the field with Joseph Garcia plunging in from two yards out for the games first score.

Strathmore’s defense once again forced Orange Cove to a three and out and took over in great field position on the Titans 41-yard line. But what the Titans offense could not do their defense did for them. An Orange Cove defender picked off one of Nick Salas’s 13 pass attempts and scored tying up the game at 7-7.

During the rest of the first quarter the Spartan offense dictated the pace of the game and put Strathmore up 21-7.

It was in the second quarter that the Spartans once again had to face some adversity. The Titans retuned another interception by Salas to inside the 10-yard line. From there the Spartan defense did all they could and held the Titans to a fourth and inches. On that play Orange Cove broke the plane and scored to make it 21-14.

“When the test came there was not panic, it was just the old fashion blue collar style of getting our hands dirty,” said Coach Blackwell. “I’m proud of them for that.”

Despite the adversity the Spartans kept with the trend they have had all season, going into the locker room at halftime up two touchdowns or more. Garcia had a major hand in that when he took a run 60 yards to pay dirt on the Spartans ensuing drive. Then after the Spartans recovered a fumble Garcia was on the receiving end of a 24-yard score from Carlos Chavez.

According to Coach Blackwell, Garcia ran like a maniac finishing the game with 128 yards and three rushing touchdowns on just 14 carries.

Right behind Garcia is another running back that is solidifying himself this year as a solid backup,  Alonso Acevedo. Acevedo finished the game with eight carries for 108 yards and two touchdowns.

The Spartans will return home to face the Avenal Buccaneers next Friday night at 7 pm for their final tune up before a showdown with the Woodlake Tigers the following week to open up their East Sequoia League title defense.

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