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Biggest game of the year awaits Mustangs in D1 final

By Elk Grove Citizen, 12/01/18, 12:30PM PST


One by one, the Monterey Trail Mustangs have knocked opponents off of their to-do list during the best season in program history, and this weekend, they are ready to take care of another one.

The proud owners of a 12-0 record, the Mustangs have outscored opponents 607-117, won a Metro League Championship and have outscored playoff opponents 111-27.

Saturday will equal the biggest stage the Mustangs have seen so far, a Division I Sac-Joaquin Section Championship matchup against first-seed Folsom, and the second- seed Mustangs could upset the Bulldogs with players that have blown opponents away all year long.

The Mustangs last trip to the section finals was 2010, when they lost to pleasant grove.

Individually, the Mustangs have shown why they’re the team to beat.

Quarterback Zach Larrier, who tied the school record with 17 touchdown passes last week against Oak Ridge, has thrown for 1,268 yards. On the ground, Larrier has proven himself once again, running for 909 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Jehiel Budgett has 1,509 rush yards for 23 touchdowns and 232 receiving yards for an additional touchdown.

Andre Crump has been a clutch player with 704 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns; Prophet Brown has 546 rushing yards for nine touchdowns and Viktor Oliver has added 804 rush yards with nine touchdowns.

The Mustang defense has an impressive array of evidence to back why its held opponents to an average of just 9.75 points per game.

Among key defensive contributors are Marcus Jones, Jr., who has a team-leading 134 total tackles, Andrew Almonte, who has 79 tackles, and Arturo Pantoja and Germaine Spearman, who have five sacks apiece in addition to 53 tackles by Pantoja and 40 tackles and three fumble recoveries by Spearman.

That being said, the Mustangs have their biggest challenge in facing Folsom, which is ranked eighth in the state, 20th in the nation, and won the Sierra Foothill League with an undefeated 6-0 record.

The Bulldogs, who are 11-1 (their only loss having come at the hands of De La Salle), beat proven programs such as St. Mary’s in the semifinals 52-7 and Oak Ridge 62-6 during the regular season, and is led by Kaiden Bennett at quarterback (3,394 passing yards and 52 touchdowns), senior wide receiver Joe Ngata (1,084 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns) and junior wide receiver Elijhah Badger (838 receiving yards and 16 TDs).

Still, the Mustangs have held opponents scoreless four times this year and are also rated highly in the state with a 19th place ranking, and are led by the coach who started the program when Monterey Trail opened in 2004.

With the team chemistry and level of experience they’ve shown on the field, the Mustangs are set to hopefully cross another opponent off of their list.

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