Santa Maria focuses on defense during scrimmage vs Premont

SANTA MARIA — Santa Maria head football coach Steve Flores wanted some questions answered during his final tuneup game of the preseason.

After graduating some well-respected talent in some key positions last season, Coach Flores wanted to see who would step up and fill the voids.

And after Friday’s scrimmage against Premont he came closer to getting his answers.

“I think our first defensive group did well because I don’t think we let them (Premont) cross the 50-yard line,” said Flores. “We wanted to be aggressive defensively because defense wins championships. Our offense will learn and they will click with their young guys, but were really hoping to get our defense set to where we can at least hang in and finally know who we are.”

The Cougars fared well Friday, settling for a 1-1 tie in the controlled portion of the scrimmage and 7-0 victory in the live portion.

The touchdown drive came after the Santa Maria defense forced a Premont fumble. The Cougars turned around and capped it off with a 4-yard TD link up between quarterback Jesse Ortiz and receiver Julio Vega.

One spot that stood out for the Coogs was in the backfield where fullback Edward Martinez and freshman Erick Castellanos had some big runs.

“He (Martinez) did better; he’s still a little sideways, but he’s doing better and hopefully he can get going north and south, and our freshman is progressing,” said Flores. “Because we are never as good as we think and we are never as bad as we think we are. We are just hoping to get better every week and fix the mistakes, and get ready to face some tough opponents in district.

“For now our goal is to fix everything we need to by the time we get there.”

Time is something that Santa Maria might not have very much of. The Cougars begin their regular season schedule against MMA next Friday before Premont makes a return trip to Santa Maria again on Sep. 14.

District action begins on Oct. 12 at home against Three Rivers.