LMC football team finishes season strong

Injuries plagued team early on

Juan Cebreiros, Staff Writer

The Los Medanos Mustangs football season was one that was filled with ups and downs. The season appeared to get off to a disastrous start with the Stangs dropping their first three games of the season. However, the team was able to turn their season around and finish 5-5 by winning five of their last seven games. 

The teams first three losses were all within one score with the team being unable to make a play when needed most to win. Head coach Chris Shipe on the rough start said, “Our young guys were still trying to figure out how to finish games and how to play within the scheme. Guys were trying to make hero plays instead of trusting the scheme and trusting their teammates.” 

Shipe and his coaching staff did not make any changes to their gameplan or preparation despite the 0-3 mark. They knew going into the season their defense would see struggles early on since the defense had freshmen at almost every position that were still adjusting to this higher level of play. 

The team got into the win column for the first time all season winning back-to-back games against San Jose and De Anza. The offense continued to produce but now the defense started to play drastically better as they didn’t give up more than 20 points in either of their back-to-back wins.

“Our defense started to make more plays and our offense limited their turnovers,” Shipe said on the teams back-to-back wins. LMC dropped their next two games before ripping off three straight wins to end their season on a high note and finish 5-5. Shipe said, “The team continued to mature and get better as the season progressed. I wish we had one or two more weeks with these players because of how much better they were getting.”

The team dealt with their share of adversity all season long with injuries affecting almost every position group both on offense and defense. However, injuries hit the team’s quarterbacks the hardest. Jake Byrne and Brenden Bush both dealt with shoulder injuries that lingered for a majority of the season, but Bush would also injure his wrist which would keep him sidelined for the rest of the season and would only play in an emergency. Shipe said, “Everyone has to be prepared to play because a backup player is just one play away from seeing the field.”

Down the stretch of the season there were players on both sides of the ball that stepped up greatly. Zeke Barber emerged as a star Running back taking over as the lead carrier for the offense. Safety Khi-ron Green was ranked high in the conference in tackles and Cornerback Bryson Parker ranked high across the state of California for interceptions. 

Shipe said, “If one of those close losses go our way, you’re looking at us possibly playing in a bowl game this past weekend.” Shipe has been coaching at LMC since 2002 and has been the head coach since 2010 and said if given the opportunity to return he would happily accept.