Minatare Indian gridders headed to semifinals
     2014-11-06      By Roger Holsinger   
HYANNIS — For just the second time in the last 40 years, the Minatare Indian football team will be playing in the semi-finals of the state football playoffs tomorrow following the 50-20 win last Friday night over the Hyannis Longhorns.

Head Coach JJ Ozuna said his team started off slowly in the first quarter against the Longhorns, “and that’s something we can’t do this Friday.” Defensively, Ozuna said his team played “very well” overall, but said they still need to do a better job of tackling. “Offensively, we need to improve on our blocking, but I would give the performance a passing grade,” he said.

Late in the game Chance McAllister suffered an injury to his right elbow and Ozuna said the decision on whether he will play on Friday will be made later this week. “We also need to have everyone stay healthy all week in order to stay as competitive as we can.”

The Indians were welcomed to Hyannis with cold temperatures and gusty winds, but Ozuna said while the wind caused a few problems, his team adjusted well to the cold.

Both team started out slow in the first quarter, but on its second possession, Minatare’s punt was blocked and Hyannis got the ball at the Minatare 20. Two plays later Emmett Hoover took it in for the score to give the Longhorns a, 6-0, lead.

The Indians were forced to punt on its next possession and it appeared Hyannis was on its way to another scoring drive, but a fumbled, recovered by McAllister, gave the Indians first and 15 at its own 29. Tyler Koke connected with Dominic Longoria and Longoria plowed his way down to the Longhorn 11. Then Yovan Perez took it from 11 yards out and the game was tied at six.

Hyannis had trouble moving the ball during its next possession as the Indian defense stepped up including a 10-yard loss after Josh Cinocco sacked Austin Anthony. The Longhorns tried to convert on
fourth down, but the Indian defense held and Minatare took over near midfield. Juan Garfio took it to the Hyannis 16 and then Perez scored to give Minatare the 12-6 lead.

The mistakes continued for Hyannis as a high snap for a punt floated into the end zone and Perez was there to recover and score. With 4:07 left in the first half, Minatare took a two-score lead. Minatare added to its first half lead as Garfio scored from 60 yards.
As the third quarter opened, the Longhorns fumbled deep in its territory and Longoria recovered the loose ball, but Minatare was unable to move the ball, but again the defense stepped up for Minatare, including big tackles by Gilbert Rodriguez.
However, Hyannis slipped through to score mid-way through the third quarter, but Minatare still had a 24-12 lead.

Minatare added to its lead after Koke connected with Gafio, who made a circus-like catch over the top of a Hyannis defender. Then Perez added another six points from three yards out.

On the ensuing kickoff, the ball appeared to be headed out of bounds, and a Hyannis player watched it, but it stayed in bounds and Perez jumped on it setting up a three-yard score by Javier Guerrero. Minatare lead 36-12 at the end of the third quarter. Perez added two more scored in the final period to put the game away.

Tomorrow, Ozuna is hoping to make school history with a win in the semifinals. However, Spalding Academy comes in with a lean and quick team. But Ozuna said he is not sure that SA has been tested this year.

“I think they are very beatable with the team we have if we play up to our potential,” he said.

Ozuna added that the team needs to continue with what has gotten them to this point in the season. In addition, Ozuna said having the home-field advantage should also help.

“As big as this game is, it’s (home field) huge. Being at in a familiar place, not having to travel. The best place to have a game this worthy would be at home,” he said.

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