KING CITY — King City High School senior quarterback Jonah Mendez shook off two first-quarter miscues to lead the Mustangs to a dominating 58-28 victory over the Carmel High Padres last Saturday on the Monterey Peninsula.
Mendez led King City with his passing and as a rusher as the Mustangs beat the Padres for the first time since 2006.
“They couldn’t stop us once we got our offense going,” said King City head coach Mac Villanueva. “It was just a question of us cleaning up our game and not stopping ourselves. We only punted once in the first half, as we were executing on both sides of the ball. It was fun for sure. Win or lose, it was just a big win for both schools getting on the field and making the game happen.”
The Mustangs held Carmel to a three-and-out on the Padres first offensive series but turned the ball over on a play action pass attempt by Mendez that was picked off. The Padres used a long running play to set up a two-yard touchdown run and then added the point-after attempt to take a 7-0 lead.
King City tied the game at 7-7 on their next possession with a three-yard touchdown run by Jon Michael Soto and a PAT by Camilo Martinez. The Padres took a 21-7 lead with a long drive and score by their quarterback and a second interception by Mendez that set up the third Carmel score.
In the first play of the second quarter, Mendez threw a strike to receiver Devin Morales who scored a 28-yard touchdown. The PAT by Martinez cut the Padres lead to 21-14.
After stopping Carmel on the next drive, the Mustangs scored through the air again as Mendez threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Soto. The Padres scored their last points of the game after the King City touchdown with a play-action pass of the own to take a 28-21 advantage.
King City took the lead for good toward the end of the first half with a balance of the pass and run on a time-consuming drive. Fullback Sebastian Garcia ended the drive with a two-yard touchdown. The PAT by Martinez tied the game at 28-28.
With time running out in the half, the Padres lost the ball close to the goal line and the Mustangs jumped on it to finish the first half scoring with a safety that gave the visiting team a 30-28 lead.
“We just had to settle down and stop making mistakes as we turned the ball over early and we had some breakdowns with coverage and alignment on defense,” Villanueva said. “We felt good to be able to take the lead at 30-28 at the half. The boys showed how good they can be on both sides of the ball in the third quarter.”
In the first drive of the third quarter, Mendez called his own number to complete a five-minute drive and scored on a six-yard touchdown. Martinez added another PAT to give his team a 37-28 lead.
Morales displayed his defensive prowess at safety as he picked off a Carmel pass and outran the Padres for a 35-yard touchdown. The Morales touchdown and the Martinez PAT put the Mustangs up 44-28.
Carmel had the ball at midfield on third down but turned the ball over to King City after two incomplete passes. Mendez quickly moved his team downfield and completed a short drive with an 11-yard touchdown run. The sixth PAT by Martinez gave the Mustangs a 23-point lead at 51-28.
The King City defense got on the scoreboard for the final Mustang score as defensive end Juan Acosta batted a Carmel pass attempt in the air. The ball was caught by fellow defensive end Manuel Deniz, who ran 70 yards to the end zone. The seventh PAT by Martinez ended the scoring at 58-28.
Mendez completed 12 of 17 pass attempts for 188 yards and threw three touchdown passes. He was also the Mustangs leading rusher with 119 yards on 10 carries for a total of 307 offensive yards. Eli Clavijo added 44 rushing yards.
Devin Morales led the King City receiving corps with seven receptions for 121 yards, scoring one receiving touchdown and another score on a pick-6. Morales finished the game with two interceptions, and Ryland Hindersheid added a pick of his own.
“This is by far the best team that I’ve had in my time here as head coach,” Villanueva said. “On Saturday (April 3), we will get to play Palma at Rabobank Stadium at 2 p.m. They (Palma) began the season with a 37-14 loss to San Joaquin Memorial of Fresno. Palma always fields a good team, and I have been looking forward to playing them for a long time.”