Mt. Whitney opens WYL with 22-14 win over El Diamante

Mt. Whitney opens WYL with 22-14 win over El Diamante


Mt. Whitney opens WYL with 22-14 win over El Diamante


Mt. Whitney’s Tyler Boss plows through El Diamante defenders in a West Yosemite League at Mineral King Bowl.

Mt. Whitney’s Tyler Boss plows through El Diamante defenders in a West Yosemite League at Mineral King Bowl.

General consensus throughout the Central Section is that the top contenders for the West Yosemite League championship reside in Kings County — defending WYL champion Lemoore and preseason favorite Hanford.

But the Mt. Whitney Pioneers are aiming to derail conventional wisdom with hopes of emerging as a surprise title candidate.

The Pioneers reached the required state for WYL-contention status with a 22-14 win over the El Diamante Miners Friday night at Giant Chevrolet-Cadillac Mineral King Bowl.

“The boys did a great job,” Mt. Whitney coach Marty Martin said. “They played four full quarters [Friday], something we haven’t done in the last two games. We needed to play a full game to get the win, and they did exactly that.”

When Mt. Whitney (3-2, 1-0) has played at its best this season, it’s been behind outstanding defensive play — which was exactly the case on Friday.

The Miners (2-3, 0-1) had their chances to rally from an 8-0 halftime deficit in the second half, but Mt. Whitney forced three game-changing turnovers over the final two quarters that proved to be the difference in the game:

The Miners lost a fumble inside their 20-yard line early in the third quarter that the Pioneers returned to the El Diamante 3. Two plays later, Pioneer junior quarterback Isaiah Salazar was in the end zone on a one-yard sneak that extended the Mt. Whitney lead to 15-0.

Nate Aleman’s fifth interception of the season halted a promising Miner drive in the middle of the fourth quarter.

With the Miners on the verge of staging a game-tying scoring drive at the end of the fourth quarter, Lonell Goodman picked off a pass at the goal line with less than 20 seconds on the clock.

“Our defense played well. I thought our offense did a great job, but yes, the defense played well,” Martin said.

The story of the first half was also Mt. Whitney’s defense.

The Miners managed just 71 yards of total offense (36 rushing, 35 passing) and six first downs over the first two quarters.

The Miners’ third consecutive scoreless possession to begin the game ended with their punter being tackled in the end zone for a safety — that gave Mt. Whitney a 2-0 lead with 4:03 remaining in the second quarter.

The Pioneers coughed up the ball on the ensuing possession, but generated a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to extend their lead to 8-0 at halftime. Mt. Whitney scored on a five-yard pass from Isaiah Salazar to Nate Aleman.

Mt. Whitney’s rushing attack netted 216 yards on 47 carries. Isaac Campos rushed for a game-high 153 yards on 23 carries. Campos has a two-yard touchdown run during the first minute of the fourth quarter to cap a seven-play, 82-yard scoring drive.

Salazar was an efficient 15-of-22 passing for 169 yards and a touchdown.

El Diamante junior quarterback Joey Vink made a valiant effort to give the Miners a chance to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Vink orchestrated two second-half scoring drives, and had a part in both of the Miners’ touchdowns — a one-yard run by Vink in the third quarter and a 20-yard pass from Vink to Drake Beno with nine minutes left in the game.

El Diamante opened its final possession at its 34-yard line with 2:39 left in regulation. Vink drove the Miners to the 50, but was forced to leave the game with an injury.

Back-up quarterback Andrew Valdez completed a 35-yard pass to Nolan Montgomery to put the Miners in the red zone, but Goodman squashed the comeback attempt with his interception.

“This was a real big win for us. If you want to win a league championship, you need wins like this,” Martin said. “That’s the reason why we play a tough non-league schedule, to prepare us for this [very] tough league. We just try to compete every week.”

El Diamante






Mt. Whitney






Second Quarter

MW — Safety, El Diamante punter tackled in end zone, 4:03

MW — Nate Aleman 5 pass from Isaiah Salazar (kick blocked), 0:23

Third Quarter

MW — Salazar 1 run (Jose Mendoza kick), 9:16

ED — Joey Vink 1 run (Fredrich Kristiansen kick), 8:13

Fourth Quarter

MW — Isaac Campos 2 run (Mendoza kick), 11:03

ED — Drake Beno 20 pass from Vink (Kristiansen kick), 9:00



First downs






Passing yards



Total yards













RUSHING — El Diamante: Drake Beno 10-83, Joey Vink 10-37, Matt Kirven-DeLeon 5-7, Kymonte Williams 4-8, Andrew Valdez 1-0, Kamarea Stephens 1-12, team 2-(minus 18). Mt. Whitney: Isaac Campos 23-153, Tyler Boss 5-16, Isaiah Salazar 6-17, Eli Lopez 3-2, Brandon Porchia 1-(minus) 5, Michael Ingram 2-4, Nate Aleman 2-14, Malchijah Bowen 3-20, Jose Cisneros 1-1, team 1-(minus) 2.

PASSING — El Diamante: Vink 12-30-1 153, Valdez 1-2-1 35, team 0-1-0 0. Mt. Whitney: Salazar 15-22-1 169.

RECEIVING — El Diamante: Beno 4-57, Kamarea Stephens 3-56, Marson Garispe 2-17, Joe Ortiz 2-25, Nolan Montgomery 1-35, Kirven-DeLeon 1-(minus) 2. Mt. Whitney: Jose Cisneros 7-107, Aleman 7-53, Campos 1-7, Bowen 1-2.

Records: Mt. Whitney 3-2, 1-0. El Diamante 2-3, 0-1.


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Mt. Whitney opens WYL with 22-14 win over El Diamante

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