Football: Cardinals gut out win over Grizzlies 21-14


Jiovanny Madrigal scores two early touchdowns to put Lindsay ahead early

By Patrick Dillon

PORTERVILLE – Sometimes just finding a way to win is all a team can do, and that is what the Cardinals did last week. Battling injuries, and undersized, they prevailed over the Granite Hills Grizzlies 21-14.

“We had players step up who had not played very much all season,” Lindsay head coach Matt Mendonca said. “The kids battled it out and got the win.”

Lindsay (3-2, 1-1) has been without the services of leading running back Daniel Trujillo for two weeks now. He suffered a high ankle sprain in the Cardinals’ last non-league matchup against Fowler. Additionally, injuries to two offensive linemen have greatly affected the Cardinals’ ability to score. In the last three weeks the Cardinals have only scored a total of 35 points. In the two weeks prior they had been held combined for more than double that total with 80.

At tailback Jiovanny Madrigal stepped up to fill the void. He allowed the Cardinals to remain balance in their offensive attack instead of relying on Ethan Natera throwing on every down. The constant running gave early dividends. After Lindsay fell behind early the junior scored two rushing touchdowns in the first quarter.

“Those two early scores flipped the momentum back on our side,” Mendonca said. “We were able to pound the ball all night long with him.”

It is no secret the Cardinals are small on defense. All year long Mendonca has preached gap integrity. He wanted his players to fill and maintain the gap. That philosophy changed this week. Now he wanted his players to get off the ball and reestablish the line of scrimmage. Besides the first play from scrimmage the Cardinal defense held the Grizzlies (1-5, 1-1) out of the end zone. The only other Granite Hills points came on the defensive side when they returned an interception for a score in the fourth quarter.

“We wanted the kids to get after it instead of just holding the gap at the line of scrimmage,” Mendonca said. “There was just such an improvement against the run from the last couple weeks.”

This week the Cardinals return home for homecoming. They will face a Corcoran Panther team at 7:15 p.m. who also got their first win in three weeks last Friday in a 41-10 blowout win over the Farmersville Aztecs. In the Panthers’ four wins this season they have not scored less than 40 points.

“The guys who are ready to play on Friday are going to play,” Mendonca said.

The likely hood Trujillo will be cleared to return to action going into this week’s game is very high. But don’t expect him to get very much playing time if any. Mendonca’s plan is to hold him out until the bye week as a precautionary measure.

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