BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian
Stockdale coach Mike Snow wasn't thrilled about how his team played Friday night.
However, he was more than happy about the final outcome of the Mustangs' Southwest Yosemite League opener against visiting Independence.
Despite sloppy play at times, Stockdale demonstrated its immense offensive firepower in beating the Falcons, 68-34.
D.J. Martin had a huge night for the Mustangs (3-3, 1-0 SWYL), rushing for 385 yards and scoring five touchdowns (four rushing).
"Any win in this league is a big win because this league is murderers' row," Stockdale coach Mike Snow said. "We're excited to have the win. Not excited about how we played with all the penalties and turnovers."
Independence quarterback Preston Hodges kept his team in the game until late in the first half, mixing in several big passing and running plays.
He finished with 23 carries for 167 yards while completing 4-of-18 passes for 103 yards.
Independence, which came into the night having won four in a row after losing its season opener to Ridgeview, moved the ball well for most of the game but was hurt by four turnovers and two blocked punts that Stockdale cashed in for short touchdowns.
"It came down to the details," Independence coach Sean McKeown said. "They were a little more detail-oriented in the game than us. But I think that we showed we're a pretty good football team tonight."
The Mustangs rushed for 583 yards and eight touchdowns.
Stockdale led 28-13 after a first half that featured seven plays of 30 or more yards.
The Mustangs had four of them, and then added second-quarter touchdown runs of 33 and 64 yards by Martin, who had 164 yards on 13 carries in the first half.
Tied at 7-7, Martin scored the first of his three first-half touchdowns on a fumble recovery in the end zone with 4:39 left before halftime.
Independence (4-2, 0-1 SWYL) answered by scoring on its very next offensive play, when Hodges, stopped after a short gain, lateraled to Johnny Moore who raced 79 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.
Stockdale blocked the ensuing PAT to remain in front 14-13.
The Mustangs broke the game open late in the first half as Martin twice broke free and scored.
"They were giving us things (to take advantage of), so that we were able to exploit that," Snow said of Martin. "If we think that we can get him loose, we're going to get him loose. He had a great game."
After combining for just 14 points during the first 19:21 of the game, the teams scored 27 points over the final 4:39 of the first half.
Stockdale out-gained Independence 288-259 in the first half despite not completing a single pass.