Strathmore High football is up and running again.
They ran the ball inside the tackles. They muscled their running backs between the hashes. They pounded the other team into a heaving puddle of exhaustion, because that’s the Strathmore way.
If Week 1’s win was an aerial sideshow, Friday’s follow-up was a rerun of what the Spartans have done the past three section-championship seasons. Four running backs combined for 219 rushing yards and six touchdowns in a 45-6 non-league victory over visiting Parlier.
Of greater import, the Spartans may have established their next running-man star.
Carlos Moreno ran 13 times for 132 yards, setting the smash mouth tone on the game’s first play from scrimmage with a 45-yard burst through the right side. His 10-yard touchdown run on the opening drive of the third quarter gave Strathmore a no-doubt lead of 25-0.
In other words, Moreno quickly matured into the sort of bell-cow rusher Strathmore needs.
On inside runs, he put his pads down and powered over defenseless defenders. On outside runs, he turned the corner and punched the gas for huge north-to-south gains.
Moreno did everything he didn’t quite do in the season opener, when he gained but 52 yards as the featured back.
“Just did what my coaches told me: knees up, pads down, cut upfield and don’t be bouncing around,” Moreno said. “They even called me pitter-patter last week. I’m glad they told me to make adjustments to be a better player.”
Indeed, Moreno gave Spartans fans all the assurances they’d ever need that Strathmore wasn’t going finesse. It just took him a week to get over a freshman-year collarbone injury that resulted in season-ending surgery.
Moreno admits he wasn’t exactly running shoulder-first into contact in his return to action last week. He got an earful all week from his coaches – and even more advice at home from two Strathmore alumni – and put their council to good use.
“I was kind of scared … it was a hard thing to get over,” Moreno said. “This week, I just came out and said, ‘You know what? Let’s just ball out and go.”
“We worked him through some demons and some fear,” Strathmore coach Jeromy Blackwell said. “He was running sideways a lot last week. We were hammering him to get vertical. Tonight, he got vertical. He was a violent running back.
“I think he proved his worth.”
Moreno wasn’t alone.
Senior running back Miguel Carranza ran five times for 55 yards, He punched in 10- and 25-yard touchdown runs in the first quarter to give Strathmore a 19-0 lead.
Another senior, Christian Onsurez, added 15- and 2-yard touchdown runs to close out the scoring.
The Spartans defense scored multiple assists for the offense. Christian Rodriguez had two interceptions, while Andre Bravo and Jaylen Oates added picks in the fourth quarter. Three of the interceptions set up Strathmore touchdowns.
Quarterback Trace Pugh rounded out the scoring with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Lee Navarro.
Strathmore (2-0) makes its first road trip of the season Friday to Orosi.
STRATHMORE 45, PARLIER 6
Parlier 0 0 0 6 -- 6
Strathmore 19 0 10 6 – 45
S: Carlos Moreno 45 run (kick failed)
S: Miguel Carranza 10 run (run failed)
S: Carranza 25 run (Hugo Fraga kick)
S: Moreno 10 run (kick failed)
S: Lee Navarro 24 pass from Trace Pugh (Fraga kick)
S: Christian Onsurez 15 run (Fraga kick)
S: Onsurez 2 run (kick failed)
P: Freddy Perez 2 run (kick failed)
PASSING – S: Pugh 3-10-0-55.
RUSHING – S: Moreno 13-132, Carranza 5-55, Cristian Rodriguez 3-11, Onsurez 3-21.
RECEIVING – S: Navarro 1-24, Carranza 1-16, Moreno 1-15.