Video by Chauncy Miller
“Congratulations to the first-ever recipient of the Mayor’s Trophy and Temecula City Champions, the Great Oak Wolfpack!” proclaimed Mayor Mary Ann Edwards as she handed the trophy to Team Captain and Player of the Game, Miranda Schulz. Edwards, whose twin daughters and son had graduated from Temecula Valley High School, consoled the runner-up Golden Bears saying, “If we had one more quarter . . . She also congratulated all who participated for their school spirit and sportsmanship.” The event was sponsored by Nutrishop Temecula and the perpetual trophy was provided by Valley News Sports.
Great Oak 8, Chaparral 0
Chaparral took on Great Oak in the first game. “Our girls are into week 15 of practice,” said Chaparral Head Coach Fawwaz Lawal, “and I’m 100% confident that my girls will give it their all and our coaches will prove why they’re the right ones I picked.”
Despite great running by Chaparral’s Lorena Ruiz and Stephanie Martinez, the Lady Pumas were unable to put together a sustained drive against the Wolfpack’s 2-5 defense and great linebacker play. A key interception by Mallory DeAvila ended Chap’s first drive, giving Great Oak the ball on their 21-yd line. Great Oak drove down to the Chaparral nine on a 41-yd run by Shulz and a 34-yd catch/run by Abby Welch. The Puma defense stiffened and denied Great Oak four times, sending the teams into the break in a scoreless tie.
Chaparral’s LeAnn Monidero intercepted Shulz’ pass at mid-field to stop Great Oak on their first possession of the second half. Great Oak’s defense forced a turnover on downs; Chap’s defense held Great Oak and forced a “punt.” On the second play of Chap’s next possession, Great Oak safety Hannah McConnell tipped the pass attempt and cornerback Adrianna Carrillo made the pick, sprinted twenty yards, juked a defender and scored. Schulz converted the PAT with a QB keeper to the right.
DeAvila had her second pick of the night on Chap’s next possession. The game ended 8-0, Great Oak. “The girls have been working hard for months,” said Great Oak Defensive Coordinator Matt Hobby, “We called a blitz on that interception play, Hannah went after the ball, and Adrianna was alert enough to make the pick and made a nice run. Our defense made the difference in this game.”
Temecula Valley 10, Chaparral 8
“We are honored to be playing for the first City Championship trophy,” said Temecula Valley Head Coach Garrison Flores, “The girls have been working hard and we are prepared for both teams.”
“After that last game, our girls understand what it takes to win the game,” said Chaparral Coach Lawall, “TV is our cross-town rival and this should be a good game.”
The Lady Golden Bears opened with consecutive first downs on a 15-yd sweeps by Nicole Robertson and Lorena Regalado and were threatening to score, but the Lady Pumas’ defense forced a turnover on downs at the four-yard line. TV’s Sophie Rivera then pulled Ruiz’ flag in the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 Temecula Valley lead.
Regalado scored on the Golden Bears’ next possession catching a swing pass and zig-zagging twenty yards past defenders. QB Sam Capuzzi kept the ball for the PAT to give Temecula Valley a 10-0 lead. TV and Chap traded the ball on turnovers on downs. Kaitlin Williams’ interception Chaparral’s drive at the end of the first half.
Chaparral got on the scoreboard with 55.9 seconds left in the game on a five-yard pass to Sahori Gomez; Lorena Ruiz caught another pass for the successful PAT, to close the gap to 10-8.
“We wanted to play it safe this game,” said Flores, “Props to the defense for the safety – that won the game for us.”
Great Oak 8, Temecula Valley 6
“We’re going to use every play in the play book,” said TVHS Head Coach Flores.
“Our defense will have to contend with their speed at receivers, running back and their very versatile and talented quarterback,” said Great Oak Head Coach Anthony Bandong, “but we have good linebackers and an exceptional secondary. Our offensive game plan has changed dramatically from when they scouted us last and we have a few tricks up our sleeve.”
Indeed, the Wolfpack ran inside reverses, counters, double reverses, the statue of liberty play, as well as the “swinging gate.”
Great Oak’s first possession featured a double wing formation with runs by receiver-turned-quarterback Shulz as well as running backs Hana Papaco, Haleigh Kincaid, and Lauren Patterson. Receiver Hailey Strode was also used on a double reverse. Temecula Valley’s defense gave up one first down, but forced a Great Oak punt. Great Oak’s defense returned the favor with a three-and-out. Welch gained 12 yards on a screen pass. The drive stalled.
McConnell swatted down a Capuzzi pass to the middle, but Capuzzi awed the crowd with a beautiful 45-yard deep spiral that was dropped just behind the Great Oak secondary. Nicole Robertson broke numerous tackles on a twenty-yard pick-up for a first down, but the half ended 0-0.
Great Oak’s second play of the half was a statue of liberty play, Kincaid was short of the first down. After an unsuccessful attempt at a hard count on fourth down, GOHS “punted” giving TVHS the ball at the 21-yd line. TVHS attempted a halfback pass by Robertson, but McConnell intercepted the ball and returned it to the 23. Patterson took a straight hand-off twenty-two yards to the one-yard line to set up a Great Oak score by Schulz on a QB sneak. Schulz also scored the PAT to make the score 8-0. “After Lauren got us one yard away, Coach Bandong told me to just get the ball over the line,” said Schulz, “so I just dove across, not knowing I wasn’t supposed to do that.”
An offensive pass interference call on Temecula Valley ended a two-first down drive (13 yards by Tori Gonzalez and 10 yards by Martinez) and TVHS gave up the ball on downs at the 45. The TVHS defense then forced GOHS to “punt” giving TVHS the ball at the 26.
With less than three minutes left, Temecula Valley took to the air, completing a slant pass for a first down, A swing pass to Gonzalez netted 25 more yards and another first down. A QB keeper by Capuzzi brought the ball down to the 30. A deep pass to Julia Cavazzos put the ball down at the one-yard line with one minute left in the game. Capuzzi scored on her second attempt with 50 seconds left on the clock. TVHS had gone 79 yards in nine plays for the score. “It was heart-throbbing,” said Coach Flores, “one of the greatest drives.”
Capuzzi’s attempt to turn the left corner for the PAT was stopped by Hailey Strode in the backfield. “Redemption is the best!” exclaimed Strode, “ I felt like the TD was my fault. It was so close.” If TV had converted the PAT to tie the game, they would have won the Temecula City Championship with a two-point advantage in overall points scored.
Great Oak beat TV 8-6 for the Temecula City Championship, their first win ever in seven years of the contest.
“It was a tremendous effort by all of our girls who sacrificed many hours of practice to get us to this point,” said Coach Bandong, “I am so proud of all of them and it is a great way to cap off an awesome senior year. We hope following Great Oak classes can continue the tradition we have started here.”