MHS, PHS look to move on
In the aftermath of two tough losses, the Monache and Porterville High football teams had short weeks to rebound, not giving them much time to move on.
Monache has the difficult task of traveling to Bob Mathias Stadium to take on Mission Oak, still everybody’s odds on favorite to win the East Yosemite League, with one less day to recover from a heartbreaking loss. Porterville also had a short week to rebound from a loss not easy to forget as it hosts Tulare Western at Rankin Stadium. Both games are set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
MONACHE (3-3, 0-1) VS. MISSION OAK (5-1, 1-0), 7:30 P.M. FRIDAY AT RANKIN STADIUM
Monache coach Chris Likewise admitted it took his team one day to move on from last Friday’s 40-39 loss to Tulare Union in a game the Marauders led 39-19 going into the fourth quarter. “Monday, not so good,” said Likewise about his team’s practice on Monday in the wake of Friday’s loss.
“Tuesday’s practice was a million times better than Monday. I think they understand if you dwell in the past, you die. If you don’t move on, you die. If you actually move on, you live. They’re ready to go.”
The big question is if Mission Oak star running back Elijah Porchia will be able to play after sitting out the fourth quarter of last week’s 20-14 win over Porterville with a knee injury. “I’ve heard he won’t play, he will play,” Likewise said. “We’re going to prepare like he will.”
The Hawks didn’t miss a beat when Dustin Oliver replaced Porchia and gained 75 yards on 11 carries all in the fourth quarter. “Trust me there’s not much drop off from him to the other guy,” said Likewise, comparing Oliver to Porchia. “He’s just as fast.”
Mission Oak can still run the ball well no matter the running back because it has plenty of other weapons with a sizeable, athletic offensive line. The Hawks are led by experience quarterback Corbin Quinonez and tight end Kevin Palma, who’s being recruited at the Pac 12 level, and who plays both ways.
Quarterback Miguel Mejia, running backs Nick Aguilar and Julian Gonzalez and receiver David Renteria were among those who all had big games for Monache last week.
WESTERN (0-6, 0-1) VS. PORTERVILLE (2-4, 0-1), 7:30 P.M. FRIDAY, RANKIN STADIUM
Western is struggling coming off of a 49-0 loss to Delano, so this is a game the Panthers should win. But Porterville coach Carl Scudder isn’t taking anything for granted. “You can’t overlook anybody in our league,” Scudder said.
“There’s athletes all over the field,” Scudder also said about Western. “They’re a very athletic football team.”
Scudder also said Western has a similar game plan to his team. “They’re a lot like us,” he said.
Scudder also admitted needed a little time to move on from last week’s loss, saying it was “obviously disappointed.” But Scudder said his team is prepared for tonight. “The focus is back again this week,” he said.
Against Mission Oak, Porterville had just gone on a long touchdown drive to tie the game 14-14 when Scudder decided to onside kick. Mission Oak was awarded possession when it was awarded the ball and the Hawks went on to drive for the winning score.
But it looked like the Hawks may have touched the ball first, but it was ruled that PHS had touched the ball too early before it made the recovery. “I think it was the right call,” said Scudder about the onside kick. “I think I would do the exact same thing over again. It’s always a gamble. It’s always kind of a chess game.”
PHS was led on defense last week by Luis Paniagua, who had 13 tackles, and Josh Ames. The Panther continue to involve many players in its offense including Jordan Duran, Austin Hefner, Juan (Aldaco) Cordova and quarterback Dennis Chester. “It’s still by committee,” Scudder said.