Exeter comes out strong in first half, rebounds from mistakes in the second to go 3-0 on the season heading to their next game against Dos Palos
LINDSAY – At times Exeter’s 69-21 win over Lindsay was absolutely predictable, but at other times it was far from certain.
Exeter head coach Kiersten Lamb told his team they have something special. In specific terms, he said they have a “swagger” about them. The team must feel that too after defeating Liberty 25-14, Woodlake 42-0 and then Lindsay.
“I’ve got a handful of seniors. I’ve got a lot of young kids too and I’m excited about my offensive line who’s primarily freshmen and sophomores. So there’s a lot of growth coming,” Lamb said.
Part of that growth has led to instant success. On their first play from scrimmage senior Jake Rowlett stood tall in the pocket from the 12-yard line and tossed it deep to the Monarchs’ most reliable athlete on the team, Dewayne Coleman. Coleman had to fight through double coverage for the ball, but once he had it there was nothing the Cardinals could do but watch the back of Coleman’s No. 4 jersey run up the home sideline for the game’s first score.
Coleman claimed five more touchdowns on the night after getting in space on the Cardinals defense. Coach Lamb believes that when Coleman is on the field, he’s the fastest player out there.
“Can we get him in space with the ball, it’s going to be hard sometimes, because people are going to start bracketing and doing those things. But we have a whole bunch of other guys that can catch the ball, they can get open,” Lamb said.
The Cardinals’ sideline hung their heads early after going down 34-0 with 3:43 left in the second quarter, but that was when their offense started stringing some plays together.
After a strong drive that began with a long kick return being called back, quarterback Samual Reyes slung it deep for Diego Salas. The huge gain put them deep in Monarch territory, all the while lighting up the sideline with excitement. Reyes and Salas connected again to cap off the drive with 12-yard touchdown pass to put Lindsay’s first points on the board.
The Cardinals then reached into their bag of tricks and surprised Exeter with an onside kick, which the Cardinal’s managed to recover at midfield. Reyes and Diego made the most of the extra possession scoring a second touchdown with two seconds to go before half. All of the sudden a 20 point deficit, 34-14 was not so insurmountable.
All of the momentum was on the Cardinals’ side to open the third quarter. Where Exeter tried to step on the gas and reclaim their dominance in the game, Rowlett tried to hit Ruben Ruiz in the middle of the field. Too bad for Exeter the pass was too high and tipped off Ruiz’s finger. Then it tipped off a Cardinal’s finger, then it was corralled in by Lindsay’s linebacker Richard Diaz.
The Cardinal offense couldn’t manage to do much with the turnover, but they got a second chance when Rowlett fumbled a handoff, and Lindsay’s Eddie Garza recovered at the Exeter 41-yard line. After some lucky breaks on penalties, and some creative play calling, Reyes called his own number on a seven-yard quarterback draw that put him in the end zone to cut the deficit 34-21. But that was where things stopped for the Cardinals, and picked up for the Monarchs.
Exeter went on a 35-point onslaught to end the game, crushing any hopes of a Lindsay comeback. Players celebrated every point and tackle, and coaches twisted the knife in Lindsay when they decided to run up the score on a long Coleman touchdown in the fourth quarter with a running clock to go up 69-21.
The road does not get easier for Exeter. They have seen this movie before: gather as many wins as they can before heavy hitting competition in the Central Sequoia League brings them back down to earth.
“It just comes down to us, it’s starting right now that playoff mentality, because that’s what we’re fighting for. So, every day that you come to practice, punch your time card and lace up your boots and let’s work,” Lamb said.
Exeter’s next game is at home against Dos Palos. Form the West Sierra League, Dos Palos is 2-0 after defeating Los Banos 20-13, and Kerman 21-7.
Lindsay will take on Fowler at home next week. From the West Sequoia League, Fowler is 1-2 dropping their first two games 13-0 against Corcoran, and then 35-0 against Firebaugh. They got their first win last week, 20-6 against Immanuel.