The mighty Vista Murrieta (3-1) Broncos football team ran into a wall in San Diego and suffered their first loss of the season 35-28 against the Cathedral Catholic Dons (3-1). The Broncos were on a roll, dominating opponents by scores of 66-28, 52-13 and 69-21 in their first three games.
The Dons were huge underdogs with a 2-1 record and ranked 28th in the state. Vista Murrieta came into the game undefeated and ranked 6th. But just like David, the Dons rose to the occasion to slay Goliath. And they did it on Homecoming night.
“After last year, the returning players were confident we could play with them,” said Dons coach Sean Doyle of a 21-10 loss a year ago. “Rankings are rankings. Are they better than Oceanside or Helix? Who knows, but we knew they were good coming in.”
Cathedral Catholic wasted no time surprising the Broncos and jumped out to a 14-0 lead in first quarter. The Don’s running back Chris Moliga (32 carries, 169 yards, 4 TD’s) set the tone early in the game when he scored on 2-yard run on their first drive.
Later in the quarter, the Broncos’ Randy Beggs intercepted Dons’ QB Clayton Dale’s pass and was headed downfield for a sure touchdown. Moliga chased down Beggs, ripped the ball out of his arms and took the ball 85 yards in the opposite direction for a TD.
Vista Murrieta’s prolific offense found the Dons’ defense difficult to move the ball on. They scored only once in the second quarter and trailed 21-7 as the half ended.
The Broncos regrouped during halftime and came back to score twice in the third quarter. The game was tied 21-21 as the final quarter began. Coltin Gerhart’s 30-yd TD pass to Colin Baker tied the game at 21 at the end of the third quarter.
The Dons’ defense rose to the occasion and held the Broncos to one TD while the offense scored twice to come away with the victory in the final quarter. Dale engineered a 16-play, 80+ yard drive and capped it off with a masterful QB keeper that fooled the Broncos defense and gave the Dons a two-score lead. Vista’s final score was a 47-yard pass to Baker with two minutes left.
The Dons defense forced the Broncos to punt five times in one game. They had punted a total of three times in three games.
“We learned things about ourselves that I think will help us in the long run” said the Broncos All -League kicker, Aaron Ruth. “It was almost a bit of a wake up call, which is good. We’re ready to fix our mistakes and come back faster and hungrier than before”.
The Broncos will be home this Friday to host Crespi High School who lost to Westlake last week. The Celts bring a 3-2 record to Murrieta and are ranked 86th in the State.