Strathmore earns top seed in Division VI with ESL second place finish on Friday, Oct. 26
By Patrick Dillon
STRATHMORE – Since losing what turned out to be the East Sequoia League Championship game, the Strathmore Spartans have defeated their last four opponents 179-28 including, a 35-7 win over archrival the Lindsay Cardinals on Friday night.
“Ever since that loss our football team has practiced different and carried themselves differently,” Strathmore head coach Jeromy Blackwell said. “Our kids came out prepared and eager to get after it.”
Alonso Acevedo had a career night rushing the ball as he continues to be the Spartans (9-1, 5-1) workhorse in the back field. He carried the ball 30 times for 193 yards. With that performance he has surpassed his total from last year with 1,227 yards.
“He has already been fast, but now he is fast and violent,” Blackwell said. “He has really started getting his pads low at the hole, and it is really difficult to tackle someone who does that.”
Although, Acevedo’s best night rushing the ball only rendered two touchdowns it included the game winner. With the score knotted up at 7-7 with seven minutes left in the second quarter, his strength helped him cap off the Spartans first drive with a five-yard score. He showed his elusiveness when he scored his second touchdown minutes later on a 19-yard run which made the halftime score 21-7.
In the second half the Spartans running game continued to wear down the Cardinal’s (5-4, 3-3) defense. Cristian Rodriguez burst into the end zone for his second rushing touchdown of the night on a one-yard run. Rodriguez had 11 carries for 68 yards.
The newest running back to the Spartans backfield Carlos Moreno scored his seventh touchdown of the season on a 19-yard run in the fourth quarter to give Strathmore the winning total. The freshman now has 609 yards on the season and is averaging close to eight yards a carry. Those numbers have Blackwell excited about the future of his backfield. Not only for this season, but years to come.
“I think Moreno is a testament to our youth program right now,” Blackwell said. “We are just blessed with some really good kids.”
On the opposite side of the ball the Cardinals offense was not able to do much byway of moving the ball. Their only score came in the second quarter as they turned a fumble recovery into points.
“As the game went on their size and speed wore us down,” Lindsay head coach Matt Mendonca said.
The Cardinals touchdown is the only score the Spartans defense has allowed in their last two games. In addition, Strathmore had two interception and one fumble recovery.
It is obvious the Spartans are peaking in all areas of the game right now which is why the playoff committees gave them the top seed in Division VI. The two-time defending section champions will have a rematch against the No. 8-seeded Boron Bobcats. The Spartans defeated the Bobcats 48-6 in week one, but since then Boron has changed their offense from their spread to a wing style. While, it is different Blackwell is not concerned his players will be able to adjust.
The Cardinals third place finish in the ESL earned them the No. 13 seed in Division V. They will travel to face the No. 4-seeded Liberty Hawks on Friday, Nov. 2. Mendonca admits his team has their work cut out since Liberty is a bigger, faster version of Strathmore.
“We’ve got to find ways to get some points early and maybe come out of there with an upset,” Mendonca said.