NCS Football: Middletown strikes quickly, often

By HOWARD SENZELL
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

In 26 years at the helm of Middletown’s football program, coach Bill Foltmer said he’s never had a more explosive team than this year’s squad.
Friday night on the Mustangs’ home field, St Helena found out how lightening quick Middletown can strike. In an opening round NCS Division IV matchup, Middletown put 28 points on the scoreboard in the first quarter and cruised to a 56-0 victory.

The competition will get tougher in the quarter-finals when Middletown faces the winner of tonight’s El Molino-Kelseyville contest.
“My team continues to amaze me by how fast they can put points on the board,” Foltmer said after Friday’s victory. “They’ve been doing it all year and they took St. Helena right out of the game in the first quarter.”

David Pike, the top running back in Lake County this year, started the scoring onslaught by returning a punt 75 yards five minutes into the game. On Middletown’s second possession, the senior running back scampered 39 yards for a touchdown.
When the St. Helena defense keyed on containing Pike, running back Jake Davis struck for a 16-yard touchdown.

Then to show the offense wasn’t one dimensional, Middletown scored the final touchdown of the first quarter through the air. Quarterback Kyle Brown tossed a 44-yard strike to John-Wesley Davis.
“St. Helena was done at that point,” Middletown place kicker Danny Cardenas said. “We were just bigger, quicker and overpowered them.”
Cardenas was perfect on seven extra points and has missed only once in nearly 70 kicks this season.

Pike rushed for four touchdowns, all in the first half. He carried the ball only seven times. The190-pound senior capped his evening with a 66-yard touchdown run on the final play of the first half.
“Pike has that uncanny ability to see a hole and then burst through before the defense can react,” Foltmer said recently.

Middletown, the No. 4 seed, captured the North Central League I-North with 4-0 record. The Mustangs lost their season opener, 57-52, to Salesian on Sept. 10 and have won 10 straight since.
The Mustangs have dominated the four other high schools in Lake County, scoring 205 points against Upper Lake, Clear Lake, Kelseyville and Lower Lake. Their defense didn’t allow a point to those opponents.
“We’re a veteran team with a solid group of seniors,” Foltmer said. “I have confidence every time we play.”

While Pike’s numbers were the highest, Jake Davis and Nolan Thachenko also had solid games. Davis rushed for 110 yards on seven carries with a touchdown and Thachenko had eight carries for 83 yards and a TD.
Brown passed only six times, completing four with the touchdown toss to John-Wesley Davis highlighting his evening. Davis caught three passes with Pike pulling in the other.

“St. Helena is a young team and they’ll continue to improve,” Foltmer said.
The No. 13 seeded Saints, winner of the North Central League I-South, finished with a 5-5 record. They started the season 1-5 before winning their last four games, all against conference foes.