What could’ve been: San Manuel routs San Carlos in finale

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San Manuel Miners

  After going winless in its first four games of the season, the San Manuel football team won four of its final six games and three of its last four, including a 52 – 20 rout against visiting San Carlos last Friday in season finale on Senior Night.

  The turnaround started midway through the season, leaving the Miners wondering if they could be preparing to play this weekend.

  “We made some changes on both sides of the ball,” San Manuel head coach Damon Lovato said. “I feel like, had we made the changes (sooner), we’d probably be talking about the playoffs.”

  If nothing else, the Miners saved their best for last, scoring a season-high 52 points against the Braves.

  Junior Saul Quijada and senior Christian Estrada each tallied a defensive touchdown on a pick-six and a fumble recovery return, respectively. Senior lineman Mike Ochoa finished with 22 tackles, just three away from the school record. Julian Rodriguez, a senior, rushed for 131 and two touchdowns on the offensive side.

  “It was a nice ending for the seniors, especially those who play reserve roles,” Lovato said. “They got a lot of playing time that they don’t normally get. It was a good moment for the seniors to make lasting memories.”

Andy Luberda (1080 Posts)

Andrew Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working 15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for 11 high schools. His stories are published in Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun, in addition to the San Tan Valley Daily PRSS and CopperArea websites. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College before graduating with a BS in Communication from Arizona State University in 2014. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.


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