Richard Diaz

Lindsay High School's Richard Diaz, left, runs with the ball while Salvador Perez, center, blocks a Corcoran defender during a game, Thursday, April 1, 2021, at Frank Skadan Stadium in Lindsay.

Thursday’s night battle between Lindsay and Corcoran High School football teams was not pretty, and the Panthers came away the winners after a 41-14 rout of the Cardinals.

Playing at home, Lindsay (1-1) didn’t find their rhythm until the second half, but by then, it was too late as the Cardinals were already trailing 34-0. 

Late in the third quarter, a 9-yard pass from Lindsay’s Randon Gomez to Richard Diaz on fourth-and-2 moved the Cardinals onto Corcoran’s 21-yard line. From there, the Cardinals pounded their ground game with Salvador Perez and Gomez using his legs before setting up a 1-yard touchdown run for Matthew Morales. Lindsay’s 2-point conversion failed, but the team was finally on the board.

“Like I told the kids right now, I’m extremely proud of them. They didn’t quit,” LHS head coach Casey Higginbotham said. “We were down by a lot, and they still fought and still fought and still fought. And no matter what the score was, that’s what I want to see out of these kids, and that’s why I know what they’re going to give me is they’re not going to give up. The coaches, everybody’s not going to give up on them; they’re not going to give up on us. And that’s a victory, in my book, for them.” 

The Cardinals’ fight carried over into the next drive, with Diaz intercepting Corcoran quarterback Herman Luna III and giving the team the ball back on the Panthers’ 35-yard line. But after moving the ball to the 13-yard line, Lindsay turned the ball over on downs and gave up an 87-yard touchdown pass to Gage Armbruster on the next play. 

“Sloppy,” Higginbotham said about the game. “I mean, we were there. We just didn’t execute. Corcoran executed when they had to, and it showed at the end.”

Lindsay scored on the next drive early in the fourth on another 3-yard run by Morales. This time the pass from Gomez to Diaz resulted in a successful 2-point conversion.

The Panthers (2-0) were held scoreless in the final quarter, but their damage in the first three quarters was enough. Luna had a touchdown pass in the first three quarters and recorded three in the second. 

On what the team works on to move forward from the loss, Higginbotham kept it simple.

“Clean it up,” he said. “We know what we did wrong. I had players come off, say, ‘Hey Coach, that was my fault. I know I should’ve did this.’ We know what we did wrong. Now it’s just turning that into not having to say, hey, I did this wrong. It’s going back to last week, where we did everything right.”

The Cardinals have a week to fix their mistakes against Corcoran and prepare for their next game. Lindsay travels to Orosi for a 6 p.m. game on Friday, April 9.

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