East County Sports

No holes in this Matador defense

COACH SHAUN MCDADE addresses the Matadors following their win Friday night.




EastCountySports.com staff report


ESCONDIDO – The Mount Miguel Matadors have been looked at as an offensive team for the most part in 2017, but Friday night, with the season on the line, the Matador defense was the catalyst in a 27-18 victory over host Escondido in a San Diego CIF Division 3 first round playoff game.

The two teams met a total of three times since Mount Miguel High opened in 1957, but last night’s meeting was the first between the schools in 54 years.

The Cougars led the brief series, 2-1, taking the first win between the teams in 1958, 16-14. Mount Miguel won a year later, 27-19.

In 1963, it was Escondido that won, 19-6.

Well, ninth-seeded Mount Miguel evened the “back-and-forth” series behind the heels of senior star SHEMAR GREENE, who carried 30 times for 146 yards and three touchdowns to send the Matadors into the quarterfinals, once again, on the road, where they will meet undefeated Southwest High, of El Centro, next Friday.

But it was the Mount Miguel defense that dug in late to preserve the school’s first playoff victory in five years.

“We won on the heels of our defense for sure,” Mount Miguel head coach SHAUN MCDADE said. “The start of the game through the first quarter was mostly penalty flags almost a déjà vu of last week’s first quarter against Santana.”

Mount Miguel was down 9-0 through the middle of the second quarter, as the Matadors had two bad snaps that went over the punter’s head, and one of them turned into a safety and the other gave eighth-seeded Escondido great field position.

The turning point was in the second quarter when Escondido attempted an onside kick that was returned by ULICES MONJE, who ended up running it back 50 yards for the touchdown to turn it into a 9-7 game.

Greene finished with a total of 201 yards of offense as he caught three passes for 55 yards.

Greene had a 13-yard touchdown that gave Mount Miguel a 13-7 lead lead.

Greene caught a 36-yard pass down the left sideline from senior quarterback MUGABE MILLER to set up a short rushing touchdown by the senior running back for his second score of the night.

“Our defense came out and played hard the whole game,” Miller said. “And the running game was established early. It was a great team win overall.

Escondido struck back with a touchdown to pull within two as Shawn Moscowitz scored on a touchdown reception, but a two-point try failed, as the Matadors retained the lead.

Then Greene ended up scoring on a 23-yard run with 3:45 remaining in the game.

“We just continued to hammer them with the ground game because we noticed when breaking down film is that they also had a lot of players similar to us that go both ways so we figured out how to wear them down to our advantage,” McDade said.

Greene started off with quite a few carries mostly for two- and three-yard gains early, but after wearing the Cougars down towards the beginning of the fourth quarter, Greene was gaining 8-to-10 yards per carry.

“One of the big keys on offense is we played no-huddle offense for a majority of the game allowing us to control the tempo,” McDade said. “I actually didn’t mind playing on the road even though at home it’s nice to play in front of your home crowd. This allowed us to focus on the task at hand.”

Freshman middle linebacker JACOB LAVERDIERE had 7 1/2 tackles for Mount Miguel.

CJ JACKSON and ALEX LEMON also had quite a few tackles, with several each making stops toward the end of the fourth.

Lemon and ALFONZO GUZMAN had huge blocks that would set up the touchdowns.

Mount Miguel was penalized 13 times for 131 yards. many of the infractions coming in the first quarter.

Mount Miguel knocked Escondido’s starting quarterback from the game in the second quarter as he left with a turned ankle.

“This win was a big boost to the team morale and next week we will be facing an undefeated El Centro Southwest so tomorrow morning we will be breaking down film to prepare a game plan for next week, but we are up for the task at hand,” McDade said.

The Matadors played without one of their senior star defenders in DAMIONTE WAFER, who was injured last week, but improved to 5-6, while the Cougars ended their season with an overall record of 4-7.

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