San Manuel looks dominant in home opener

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By Andrew Luberda

San Manuel Miner

  The San Manuel football team defeated Ft. Thomas in its home-opening game of the season last Friday night, 42 – 12.

  The Miners have won consecutive games by 30 points or more to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2012, and there is still remove for improvement.

  “We had some mistakes that we are working on this week,” San Manuel head coach Ernie Ivy said after Friday’s victory. “We just need to work on catching the ball better; we had too many dropped balls.”

  Freshman quarterback Nicolas Velasquez returned from injury to throw for 203 yards and a pair of touchdown passes, though completing less than half of his pass attempts as a result of the “mistakes” Ivy alluded to.

  “Our young quarterback did well passing,” Ivy said.

  The Miners totaled nearly 400 yards of offense, including 177 yards on the ground. Four of their six touchdowns were rushing scores – two each by sophomore Mathias Medina and junior Noah Huerta. Senior TJ Madrid rushed for a game-high 82 yards. Medina also caught two touchdowns, which accounted for two of his seven receptions for 101 yards. Sophomore Tony Guisa had two catches for 64 yards in the win.

  The Miners’ defense has been stingy so far this season, allowing just 13 points per game. On Friday, it forced five turnovers – three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Huerta had two interceptions and senior Jason Del Rio the other. Junior Isaiah Lopez and Madrid each recovered a fumble. Medina finished with a team-high 10 tackles while Johnathan Rodriguez had nine, including a TFL.

Tony Guisa and TJ Madrid stop the ball. Photo by Marialena Molina

  “The defense is doing a good job, but (we) still have some work to do,” Ivy said. “They have been working hard in practice, got back to the fundamentals of tackling and good game plans.”

San Manuel can improve to 3-0 this week, which would mark it best start since 2011, when the Miners won five-straight games to start the season.

  “We just need to start off strong [on Friday] and keep pushing forward,” Ivy said.

Up next: Friday, Oct. 23 at Valley Union (0-2). Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Jason Del Rio tackles, causing a fumble. Photo by Marialena Molina
Isaiah Lopez carries the ball. Photo by Marialena Molina
Noah Huerta hurries to pass the ball. Photo by Marialena Molina
Andy Luberda (1149 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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