Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week seven highlights: Santa Maria running back strikingly similar to former Mendota star

Mondo Mansera of Pioneer Valley-Santa Maria gets hoisted by one of his linemen after scoring one of his four touchdowns for the Panthers. Pioneer Valley defeated Cabrillo of Lompoc 38-20 (photo credit Phil Klein/contributed).
I didn't know anything about Mondo Mansera of Pioneer Valley-Santa Maria before the Panthers' game against Cabrillo of Lompoc on Friday, Oct. 17.

After watching him go off for 218 rushing yards and finish the evening with four touchdowns in Pioneer Valley's 38-20 romp, Mansera gave me flashbacks of a former Central Section star I got a chance to watch: Mendota High icon Edgar Segura.

Mansera, a senior, doesn't have half of Segura's credentials (Segura owns Central Section records with 8,029 career rushing yards and 137 touchdowns). In fact, Mansera has 1,663 career-rushing yards with 17 touchdowns. But Mansera's style of play is similar to Segura.

What traits do they share? Both are listed at 5-foot-9, 165-pounds. They can juke defenders. They can catch out of the backfield. The most impressive trait, though, is their ability to wear down defenses toward the end of the game. Segura got stronger as the carries increased during his career. Not once did I see Segura look gassed after a game. I witnessed Mansera execute the same strength as he broke Cabrillo's spirit late in the 18-point win.

With the Conquistadors looking to rally back from a 31-7 deficit, the Panthers turned to their workhorse on a 16-yard scoring run, extending the lead to 38-20 and deflating Cabrillo's comeback attempt.

I don't know if college football is in Mansera's future, but he showed me that he's skillful enough to compete at the next level.


Led by a deep backfield and stout defense, Sanger handed heavyweight Edison-Fresno its first loss of the season, a 15-14 stunner that sent shock waves throughout the Central Section and CMAC.

How did the Apaches do it against the section's top brawler in Division I? They overcame a 14-0 deficit, held the stud Tiger backfield duo of Khai Williams and DeAndre Lockhart to 74 combined yards after getting 251 total last week and lastly, a late interception in the end zone by Ray Aguirre sealed the victory.

Sanger - who had an up-and-down 3-2 non-league start - is now at the top of the CMAC standings at 2-0.

Side note: while several followers of high school football in the Central Valley view Sanger's victory as an upset, I'm not surprised by this for three reasons:

1) Sanger is used to challenging the monsters of the CMAC.

2) The Apaches have a 25-year veteran head coach in Chuck Shidan who knows how to prepare his teams.

3) Sanger has been a major player in the Central Section's DII title race for the last couple of seasons.

Sanger's victory, however, helped create a logjam for the rest of the CMAC with four teams sitting at 1-1. I've got a feeling that the CMAC could see co-league champions by season's end.


Central-Fresno, led by quarterback Nick Szpor's career-high four touchdown passes, extended its winning streak to four games with a 28-14 victory over Clovis.

The Class of 2016 prospect Szpor, who was once on Reedley High's varsity football roster as a freshman, threw two strikes that were good for 52 and 55 yards. He added two passing touchdowns to his tight end Zeandae Johnson, who's committed to Cal-Berkeley.

Central, once 0-3, is now 4-3 overall and 2-0 in the Tri-River Athletic Conference.


St. John Bosco-Bellflower and Serra-San Juan Capistrano had perhaps the game of the year in the Los Angeles region, as Bosco held on for the high-scoring 49-44 victory.

Junior Sean McGrew did most of the damage for the Braves, as he finished with career-highs in rushing yards (386), carries (26) and touchdowns (five).

McGrew, who's listed as a four-star recruit by of Yahoo! Sports, holds seven offers including five from the PAC-12 (UCLA, Washington, Washington State, Colorado and Cal-Berkeley).

The victory knocked Serra from the undefeated ranks. Both teams are now 6-1 overall.

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