Anzar High School won its opening football game 26 to 14 in Lemoore on Friday against Kings Christian after getting off to a fast start on offense.
Battling triple-digit heat, a team effort on defense for the Hawks kept the LeMoore team at bay, though. Twelve different Anzar players made tackles in the 8-man contest. On offense, the team had a whopping 364 yards rushing on 32 carries, or 11.4 yards per carry. There were big performances and plays across the board.
Hawks junior Greg Arispe rushed for 186 yards and 4 touchdown on 15 carries. Arispe also made crucial plays on defense with an interception and three tackles, including one for a 6-yard loss.
Senior Jake Lindholm did just about everything possible Friday night. He rushed for 78 yards on eight carries, caught a 50-yard pass from senior Jonathan Rocha, had 2-½ sacks, made a crucial fourth-down tackle in the fourth quarter, and put pressure on the Kings Christian quarterback all night.
Rocha was a real play maker as well, running for 92 yards on five carries along with that long pass. Rocha stepped in and played solid pass defense at corner and safety.
Both Rocha and senior Addam Banuelos played various roles and made big plays throughout the night. Banuelos had three tackles and multiple big pass defenses.
Senior Hector Jimenez stepped up big. Limited on offense due to a rib injury, he played solid defense with two tackles while blanketing the Crusaders' top offensive player, Julien Pierce. On special teams, Jimenez blasted two kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks and had several big punts, which were crucial in the field-position game in the second half. He also had a big fumble recovery taken away due to a referee's inadvertent whistle.
Senior Ben Minard played well on both sides of the ball. He led the team with six tackles at linebacker to go with multiple pass defenses. Minard stepped up on offense and snapped the ball consistently all night as part of the team's transition to shotgun formations.
As for the offensive line (Minard, junior Rafael Magana, junior Jose Pineda, sophomore Jorge Chavarria, junior Antonio Aguilar, sophomore Nick Nickerson and others stepping in), the group controlled the line of scrimmage throughout the game, allowing space to run for Hawks backs.
On defense, juniors Magana and Pineda were tough all night. They plugged the middle, forcing Kings Christian to the outside in the running game. Magana had four tackles and Pineda had two tackles.
Also defensively, senior Kevin Jimenez played solid pass defense throughout the night, with two tackles and an onside kick recovery.
Nickerson recovered a fumble to go with two tackles and was quick off the ball on defense to help disrupt the quarterback.
Chavarria filled in nicely at outside linebacker when called upon, making one of the memorable plays of the night when he climbed on a runner’s back and brought him to the ground for a tackle.
Aguilar was quick off the ball all night at linebacker, had several quarterback pressures and joined Lindholm on a crucial second-half sack.