By Frank Smith
San Manuel Miner
The San Manuel Miners varsity football came up short on Homecoming as they fell 12 – 8 to the Canyon State Academy Rams on Friday night.
The Miners kicked off to the Rams to start off the first quarter. The Miners defense flexed their muscle when the Canyon State quarterback was sacked for a loss by defensive lineman Gabriel Sierra on the second play of their drive. Then on third and 12 to go for the Rams, Armando Sierra caused a fumble after jarring the ball loose from the Rams running back. The Miners recovered the ball at their own 41 yard line.
The Miners sustained a 10 play drive, the drive ended with a fake punt – giving the ball back to the Rams on downs.
Canyon State set up at their own 37 yard line, scoring nine plays later when quarterback David Enriquez called his own number – taking the ball up the middle one yard for the touchdown. The two point conversion was stopped short for a 6 – 0 Rams lead with 11:11 in the second quarter.
On the next possession for the Miners, return man Daniel Medina took the kick off down to the Rams 46 yard line for a 19 yard return. This would give the ball to the Miners in Rams territory. Running back Shane Kelly took the hand-off from quarterback Bryan Valdez on the first play of the drive, picking up 11 yards down to the Rams 37 yard line. On the second play of the drive, running back Richard Romo took the ball down to the 24 yard line for a 13 yard gain. The Miners were now sitting at the Rams 24 yard line when Valdez dropped back for a pass that was picked off by defensive back Agnes Gilroy for a 70 yard touchdown return. The two point conversion play was stopped short again for a Rams 12 – lead with 9:36 left in the second quarter.
San Manuel began the drive from their own 37 yard line. The Miners sustained a five play drive – moving the ball down to the Rams 32 where the Miners fumbled the ball.
Both teams traded punts for the rest of the second quarter as the Rams held on to the 12 – 0 lead going into half time.
In the third quarter, the Miners fumbled the second half opening kick-off with the Rams falling on the ball at the San Manuel 36 yard line. Four plays later – the Rams would return the favor and cough up the ball with Romo recovering the loose ball.
The Miners sustained an eight play drive before punting the ball away. Several drives were cut short as both teams continued to fumble the ball in the third and fourth quarters – stalling scoring drives.
San Manuel did capitalize on one of the Rams miscues late in the fourth quarter, as the Miners took over at the Canyon State nine yard after a fumble. On the first play of the drive, Kelly moved the ball four yards to the five yard line, Kelly got the call again – gaining four yards to the one yard line. On a third and goal from the one yard line, quarter Valdez kept the ball for the one yard touchdown run. Kelly would run the ball in for the two point conversion to cut into the Rams lead to bring the score to 12 – 8 with 2:35 left in the game.
The Miners defense held the Rams to a three out-forcing the punt. The Miners would get another chance to take the lead as they got the ball back with 2:10 left on the game clock, the Miners would just need a touchdown to the take the lead and the game. After a long punt by the Rams punter, the Miners were pinned deep in their own territory at eight yard line – the offense moved the ball up to the 44 yard line, facing a fourth and 17 to go for the first down after a big loss on a quarterback sack, the pass went incomplete. This gave the Rams the ball back with 1:10 left on the clock, Canyon State would take the victory formation to run the clock out and take the win.
Offensively for the Miners, Passing: Bryan Valdez went 6 for 13 for 99 yards,
Receiving: Alvaro Alvarez caught one pass for 22yards, Daniel Medina caught three passes for 60 yards, and Jonathan Croci caught two passes for 17 yards.
Rushing: Shane Kelly rushed 22 times for 120 yards and a two point conversion. Richard Romo rushed six times for 51 yards. Bryan Valdez rushed five times for four yards and one touchdown. Ben Quijada rushed five times for six yards.
Defensively, Shane Kelly had 10 tackles, Armando Sierra had six tackles, Gabe Sierra had three tackles and one sack, and Jordan Peasley had three tackles.
Head Coach Steve Elmore said, “Defensively we played very well only giving up six points. Offensively we struggled holding on to the ball and with five turn-overs, it is very difficult to win. I was very happy with our defense to keep the game that close, so we still had a chance to win on our final drive. We have a very difficult game this Friday against a good Pusch Ridge team. We must hold on to the ball, if we want to win the game.
The Miners will travel to Oro Valley on Friday to take on the Lions from Pusch Ridge. Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m. The Lions post a record of 5 – 1 overall and a 3 – 0 section record with their last win coming over San Tan 42 – 12.