Mustangs face early struggles

Winless record doesn’t tell entire story.


Photo courtesy of Giovanni Bonilla

Mustangs take the field for the first time on their home field here at LMC.

Juan Cebreiros, Staff Writer

The Los Medanos Mustangs football team has not gotten off to the start they anticipated as they have started the season off with zero wins and three losses, however all three losses have been very competitive games with each ending within seven points or less. The three straight losses have been brutal as the Mustangs had a chance to win all three games and could easily be undefeated right now but head coach Chris Shipe said, “We haven’t been able to make a play to win when needed.”

The Mustangs played their first home game taking on West Hills Coalinga on Sept. 10 in what was an entertaining, high-scoring game where both teams combined to score 83 points. The Mustangs took a 12-point lead late into the fourth quarter until West Hills came storming back scoring 13 unanswered points, taking a 1 point lead on a touchdown pass with just 10 seconds remaining and handing the Mustangs their second loss in as many weeks with a final score of 42-41. 

In week three, the Mustangs hit the road to take on Merced College in another close loss, dropping their third straight game 41-34. Despite scoring 34 points the Mustang offense didn’t perform the same way they did the two previous weeks. The Mustangs took a 13 point lead midway through the third quarter but then went silent as the offense was unable to produce anymore points and the defense allowed 20 straight points as the Mustangs left the field that day with now their third straight one possession loss. 

Coach Shipe said inconsistency is what’s costing them these games early on in their season as weeks one and two the offense was unable to move at will and the defense struggled, but then came week three it flipped with the defense being able to produce stops while the offense was unable to capitalize and went quiet majority of the second half. Coach Shipe said, “You have to be able to play consistently on all three phases in order to win games and we just haven’t been able to do that.” 

Despite the tough losses and winless mark in the standings, Coach Shipe feels his team is close and the scores reflect that, but he mentions the teams difficulty with finishing games out in key moments. He also notes that many players are playing very well on the team, with the quarterback completing 66% of his passes with over 800 yards and a 3-1 touchdown to interception ratio through the first three weeks of the season. Bryan Cruz leads the team in receptions and receiving yards, with 19 and 243 as he and Matt Quesada are the top two receiving targets on the roster. The defensive side of the ball has just as many bright spots as Quatama Massoquoi leads the team in total tackles with a staggering 32 in just three games. Bryson Parker has shined as a starting defensive back as a freshman with two interceptions and pass breakups.

Just looking at the Mustangs record doesn’t tell the whole story of this team early on this season. In each game they’ve had the lead with a chance to win but haven’t been able to piece together a full team win quite yet, but Coach Shipe said, “This team is so close to their first win, they just need to make those key plays in big spots to finish out wins”. 

The Mustangs are on the road for two more weeks as on Sept. 24 they will travel down to San Jose to play San Jose City College and the following week after on Oct. 1 they will travel to face De Anza College before finally having the opportunity to play in front of a home crowd again on Oct. 8.