East County Sports

Matadors feast on Red Devil mistakes

Mount Miguel junior Aaron Carter tackles the Sweetwater punter on a bad snap in the first quarter. / Ramon Scott




By Ramon Scott


SPRING VALLEY – Mount Miguel came ready to eat to start the 2022 varsity football season.

The Matadors didn’t know the Sweetwater Red Devils would be serving a feast on a silver platter.

Mount Miguel looked prepared and ready while the Red Devils appeared to have started practice yesterday.

The result was one of the Matadors’ most lopsided wins in school history.

Mount Miguel newcomer Matthew Barton passed for five touchdowns – three to Matador veteran Jeremiah Castillo – in a 42-0 knockout of the visitors on Thursday night at Mount Miguel High.

Mount Miguel senior Daricky Burbidge carries on Friday night. / Ramon Scott

The 42-point blanking gave the Matadors their third-largest margin for a shutout victory at home in school history.

It was apparent that the Matadors were going to be a better team from the outset once the game began.

Mount Miguel limited the Red Devils on their first series and scored their first touchdown on a 19-yard pass-and-run completion from Barton to senior Chris Akridge just 2:28 into the game.

On the Red Devils’ next series, a backward screen pass that fell short of its target was ignored by the Sweetwater players, but alert junior Hector Armenta picked up the live football for a short fumble return.

Mount Miguel quickly capitalized from the Sweetwater porch, getting a 7-yard touchdown pass from Barton to Castillo in the left side of the end zone for a 14-0 lead at the 6:53 mark of the first quarter.

On the Red Devils’ third possession, which resulted in a punt attempt, Sweetwater had a snap go over the punter’s head and the Matadors’ Aaron Carter smashed the kicker down to the turf after he got to the ball.

The Matadors made it three-for-three with a 15-yard screen pass from Barton to Castillo, who got perfectly executed blocks from seniors Joseph Martinez and Jesse Murguia, allowing the Mt. Miguel junior to get into the end zone for the second time in less than eight minutes since the season started.

Barton, a junior transfer from Steele Canyon, was 15-for-23 passing for 161 yards to go along with his five touchdowns. Barton played six games for the Cougars last season and threw just one touchdown pass.

The Matadors added a pair of second-quarter scores, again, thanks to more help from the Red Devils but also because of the Mount Miguel defense.

Antrell Burbidge, a senior, scored a rushing touchdown, and Armenta scored on a short touchdown pass from Barton.

In the third quarter, Castillo grabbed his third touchdown reception of the game from his new quarterback while cutting across the back of the end zone to cap the scoring.

Last season, Castillo took some of the snaps for this team, but with the addition of Barton, the duo figures to be a popular connection for the next two seasons.

Now, Castillo is in position to excel as one of the best outside two-way players in the East County. Castillo had six receptions for 92 yards to go along with his three scores.

Akridge, fighting cramps in the first half, finished with five receptions for 30 yards. Burbidge finished with 65 total yards, including a pair of receptions.

Murguia had a sack for the Matador defense, which didn’t allow Sweetwater to run with its usual swirling sizzle. Akridge added a second fumble recovery for Mt. Miguel.

Juniors Tyler Lopez and Davian McGowan also helped keep the Sweetwater running game in check.

Senior Saul Salgado was a perfect 6-for-6 on his point-after tries.

The Matadors face another traditional early-season opponent next week when they travel to face the Spartans on Friday night.

Mount Miguel’s following home game, against Montgomery, will be another Thursday night game, the Matadors’ second and last scheduled Thursday game of the season.

The Matadors’ potential is hardly a secret now and the contending teams in the Grossmont Valley League are well aware of the Matadors.


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