CIF Southern Section – Ford Football Championships, presented by Farmers: Ten teams went into the first round, seven went into the quarter-finals, and now only three remain in the hunt for a CIF title. Heritage rolls on, at-large Paloma Valley continues its Cinderella run, and Vista Murrieta’s defense carries another win. On the other side, Elsinore’s second-half rally comes up two points short, Temescal Canyon lost a hard-fought ground battle, Murrieta Valley couldn’t keep pace with Centennial in a 105-point scoring fest, and Linfield was a victim of the area’s best rusher.
Patriots roll over Lions, 35-7
The #2-seed Heritage Patriots (10-1, 5-0) Sunbelt League Champion rolled over the host Arlington Lions (7-4, 4-2) Inland Valley League #3 by a score of 35-7.
The Patriots’ defense held the Lions well below their season averages of 233 yards rushing and 25.2 points per game, allowing only 129 yards on the ground and seven points.
Heritage’s Sione Takitaki (25 carries, 160 yards) started off the scoring with a two-yard run to cap off an 11-play 62-yard drive. Takitaki scored again in the third quarter to make the score 21-0. Jamal Morrow (26 carries, 225 yards) scored the second touchdown on an acrobatic one-handed catch in the end zone following a 59-yard, seven-run-play drive. The pass was intended for someone else.
The Lions’ only TD came on a QB sneak by Roman Holston at the end of the third quarter completing a 12-play drive.
The Patriots’ final two scores came on QB Mat Bradshaw’s (2-for-2, 10 yards, 2 TDs) second pass of the game – a seven-yard pass to Marvin Hifo at the back of the endzone – and a three-yard run by Isiah Morrow.
Semi Final Playoff Game:
The Patriots (11-1) travel to Fontana to face the Kaiser Cats (11-1) Sunkist League runner-up who just beat Temescal Canyon 14-10. Kaiser’s only loss was to #1-seed Summit 29-7. The Cats’ defense has recorded three shutouts in the last six games. They have outscored their opponents 351 to 113. The Heritage defense needs to stop running back Marquette Washington (who rushed for 194 yards on 29 carries against the Titans). Running mate Taleeb Isom is reportedly no longer on the team. The Patriot offensive line will have their hands full with All-CIF linebacker Kevin Trujillo and Saenz (the other inside linebacker). This will be a match-up of two ground-pounding offenses; Heritage should move on into the finals round.
Tigers rally vs. Mustangs falls short, 42-40
The Elsinore Tigers (8-3, 4-1) Sunbelt League runner-up held the defending CIF Central Division Champion Moreno Valley’s Rancho Verde Mustangs (8-3, 5-1) scoreless in the second half, but their rally fell short 42-40. Elsinore had beaten Rancho Verde earlier in the season 46-42 after rallying from a 42-24 deficit.
The Mustangs ran wild in the first half, scoring on six of its seven possessions and leading at halftime 42-15. Running back Keshawn Slaughter (21 carries, 115 yards) scored two of his three touchdowns in the first quarter. University of Washington recruit WR Demore’ea Stringfellow also scored on a 10-yard run in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, converted safety QB Malcolm Hill (16 carries, 168 yards) scored on a 30-yard run, Slaughter scored his third TD, and Cedric Peterson (five catches, 60 yards) caught a 24-yard TD pass from Hill.
Elsinore’s Kevin Gatrost (8 carries, 66 yards) scored on a 30-yard run in the first quarter and again on a three-yard run in the second. Both PATs were missed by Christian Sandoval, who did nail a 23-yard field goal at the end of the half.
The second half was all Tigers as the defense forced two turnovers and three punts. Allan Stubbs (15 carries, 116 yards) scored on a 28-yard run and QB Tommy Wilson (7-for12, 75 yards) connected with Ryan Laverdiere (2 catches, 31 yards) for a 7-yard score in the third quarter. Stubbs scored both two-point conversions on passes from Wilson.
In the final quarter, Sandoval hit another field goal from 25; Wilson engineered a final drive in the closing minutes, hitting Anthony Sevilla for a seven-yard score with six seconds left in the game to make the score 42-40. A muffed exchange between Stubbs and Wilson on the two-point conversion that would have tied the game ended the Tigers come-from-behind rally.
Elsinore gained 415 yards on the night; 340 of it on the ground. Shane Pico rushed for 183 yards on 28 carries. Stubbs also caught three passes for 36 yards. Laverdiere led the defense with nine tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery.
SBL #3 Titans battle Cats, Lose 14-10
The Temescal Canyon Titans (6-5, 3-2), Sunbelt League #3 battled the Kaiser Cats (10-1, 4-1) Sunkist League runner-ups to a 14-10 loss. The Cats had won their league ten years in a row until Summit displaced them the last two years. The Titans had defeated the Desert Valley Champion, Palm Springs, 21-3 to advance to this round.
It was a hard-fought ground game with each defense making critical stops. In fact, neither offense scored in the second half. Kaiser’s Marquette Washington (28 carries, 195 yards) scored first on a 47-yd run on the Cats’ second possession six minutes into the first quarter. The Cats scored again at the beginning of the second quarter on a one-yd run by Ray Padilla.
Two minutes later, the Titans’ Tylar George (nine carries, 75 yards) broke free for a 42-yard touchdown. Brandon Chavez split the uprights on a 38-yard field goal to complete the scoring, 14-10 Kaiser.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Titans began a 12-play six-minute drive from their own five that ended with a fumbled pitch play on the Kaiser 15.
Temescal gained 219 total yards to Kaiser’s 199. Jacob Hetland (34 yards), Dawson Lindeman (30 yards), Marcus Kirkpatrick (23 yards), Jacob Zinda (17 yards), and QB Sean Trimble (14 yards) combined for 29 carries in the effort.
Cinderella Wildcats beat Titans, 56-14
The Paloma Valley Wildcats (8-3, 2-3) Sunbelt League At-Large whipped host Colony Titans (7-4, 5-1) 56-14. The Wildcats’ Cinderella season started with a 2-3 league season, a shocking 22-3 upset over the CIF ‘s Central Division #1-seed Summit, and continues now with a 56-14 blowout over the Mt. Baldy League runner-up.
The Wildcats leapt quickly to a 21-0 first quarter start. Steven Mayo (8 carries, 11 yards) capped off the opening three-minute, nine-play, 64-yard drive with a 4-yard run. On the Titans’ first possession, Wildcat DB Ray Golden’s interception and 22-yard TD return was negated by a penalty. David Solis (10 carries, 55 yards) then entered the game and scored two TDs on runs of 16 and 9 yards.
Paloma Valley’s offense and defense stretched the lead in the second quarter with another three touchdowns. Following an attempted punt fake, QB Brent Boehm (6 carries, 88 yards) capped an eight-play drive and scored on an eight-yard run. Defensive lineman Kre Webb recovered a fumble in the air and rumbled 44 yards for a score. Richard Krottmayer intercepted a pass and returned it 20 yards to the 3. Boehm (10-of-15, 124 yards, 2 TDs) then hit RJ Benz for the score and a 42-0 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Colony QB Devin Imbach (6-of-12, 76 yards) hit Phillip Hauser for a 29-yard score. Paloma Valley responded less than three minutes later with an 18-yard Boehm-to-Solis TD pass for a 49-7 score going into the fourth quarter.
With 3-and-half minutes left in the final period, the Wildcats’ DeMarco Pruitt’s single rush resulted in a score. Colony’s leading rusher Samjie Grant scored on a 20-yard run with 40 seconds left in the game. The 1300-yard rusher was held to 86 yards on 18 carries.
The Wildcats’ defense recorded four sacks (Benz, Webb, Charlie Wallace, and Matt Orzech) and three interceptions (Golden, Felix Bogroff, Richard Krottmayer). London Miller, Marshall Palmer, and Brandon Macgregor each had nine tackles.
Semi Final Playoff Game:
The Wildcats (9-3) travel to Moreno Valley to take on the defending CIF Central Division Champion Rancho Verde Mustangs (9-3, 5-1). The Mustangs survived a 42-20 game against the Elsinore Tigers to advance to the semifinals. Safety Malcolm Hill has been playing QB in the absence of sophomore QB Sherrion Jones who broke his leg in the Sept. 14 game against Las Vegas. Hill has won seven of his eight starts. Jones is rumored to be back for this next game. This game will come down to defense: Paloma Valley’s ability to pressure dual-threat QBs Hill/Jones and defend University of Washington-recruit Demore’ea Stringfellow. Can Cinderella make it to the big dance in the final round?
#1 Broncos dominate Huskies, 34-6
Top-seed Vista Murrieta Broncos (11-0, 5-0) defeated the Norco Cougars (7-4, 3-2) Big VIII third-place team 31-16. The Cougars defeated the Citrus League Champions Redlands East Valley 50-22 to advance to this round. Despite four offensive turnovers, the Broncos’ defense kept Vista Murrieta on top.
The Broncos opened with a five-minute, 14-play, 88-yard drive that QB Nick Stevens (14 rushes, 51 yards) capped with a 4-yard score. The Broncos’ defense stifled the Norco running game and forced two punts. Cougars’ DB Justin Martin intercepted a Stevens’ (4-of-14, 82 yards) pass and returned it from midfield to the ten-yard line. Cougars’ QB Coltin Gerhart (12-of-23, 87 yards) hit Juan Acosta (6 catches, 48 yards) deep in the corner of the end zone. A 2-point conversion gave Norco an 8-7 lead. Stevens was picked off again on the final play of the quarter.
Kishawn Holmes’ (9 carries, 83 yards) 20-yard TD run and speedster Bezhawn Hill’s 55-yard TD sprint gave Vista Murrieta a 21-8 halftime lead. Hill ended with 112 carries on 11 carries. Aaron Ruth kicked a 46-yard field goal in the third quarter for the only score by either team in the third quarter. With just over five minutes left, Norco scored on a four-yard Gerhart-to-Acosta pass and then recovered the onside kick. The Bronco defense held. Two minutes later, USC-recruit Su’a Cravens raced for a 70-yard TD to secure the win.
The Broncos’ defense held Norcos’ power running game to 62 yards rushing on 29 attempts. The Cougars had previously averaged 311 yards rushing and 38 points per game.
Semi Final Playoff Game:
The Broncos (12-0) will host the Rancho Cucamonga Cougars (10-2, 4-1) Baseline League Runner-up. The Cougars had defeated Santiago (33-17) and Charter Oak (23-7) to advance to the semifinals round. The Cougars’ balanced attack features a 1700-yd 14-TD passer Adam Friederichsen and two sophomore running backs Khalil Muhammad and Kiraun Mayo who combined for over 1400 yards and 10 TDs rushing. Receivers Ralston Compton and Jermel Walker combined for 76 catches, 10 TDs and over 1100 yards. The Broncos’ offense will return to a high level of execution, the defense will dominate again and Vista Murrieta will be the team to beat in the finals.
Nighthawks outpaced by Huskies, 70-35
The Murrieta Valley Nighthawks (10-1, 4-1) Southwestern League #2 hosted the Corona Centennial Huskies (10-1, 5-0) Big VIII League Champions, #11-ranked team in the state and were outpaced 70-35 in a scoring fest. The two teams scored a total of seven touchdowns and 56 points in the second quarter alone, including four scores within two-and-one-half minutes.
Despite posting total yardage of 445 yards and 35 points, as well as a 20-for-31, 327-yard, four-touchdown performance by QB Andrew Blake, the Nighthawks ended up on the short end of the score total.
Centennial’s fast-paced offense generated 393 yards in the air and 365 yards on the ground and 122 yards on kick returns for a total of 880 yards. QB Robert Webber passed for six touchdowns and ran for two more.
MV’s Brandon Iacobellis (8 catches, 141 yards) scored twice in the second quarter on a 39-yard pass and a 54-yard pass. Blake also hit Alex Montion for his only catch and a 19-yard score in the quarter. In the third quarter, Damon Nolan returned a kick-off 100 yards and Jacob Augustine (three catches, 86 yards) caught a Blake pass for a 35-yard score. Augustine also rushed for 68 yards on 15 carries. Taylor Rood caught four passes for 58 yards. Hector Bautista caught four passes for 23 yards.
Nolan recovered a fumble and Michael Almodovar had one sack.
Centennial (11-1) advances to face the Upland Highlanders (11-1).
Lions season ends, 71-14
The Linfield Christian Lions (5-7, 3-2) Ambassador League #2 ended their season at Banning High School (11-1, 5-0) where the Broncos, Mountain Valley League Champions, posted a 71-14 score.
The Broncos unleashed their thoroughbred race horse again and Sty Hairston showed over and over why he is the area’s leading rusher with over 3000 yards and 50 touchdowns on the season. Linfield became just one of 10 other teams that have been unable to stop the speedy all-purpose senior quarterback/running back/receiver/returner and punter Styrone “Sty” Hairston.
Hairston took the first snap of the game, executed the read-option to perfection and sprinted 71 yards for the first score. He also ran a sweep for the two-point PAT. Six minutes later he finished off a nine-play drive with a 22-yard scamper. Before the first quarter ended, Hairston scored on an 85-yard first down option play and again on a 45-yard QB keeper to make the score 29-0.
Hairston opened the second quarter with a first down run up the middle of the field for a 75-yard score and then a 76-yard sweep left on the third play of the Broncos’ next possession.
Linfield put together a 65-yard, eight-play drive that took two minutes and ended with QB Austin Hall scoring from two yards out.
Another Hairston 72-yard touchdown two minutes later was called back for a holding penalty. Hairston then distributed the rushing attempts among three other teammates. Alvin Edwards scored on a 15-yard sweep to make the halftime score 50-7. Hairston had rushed for 416 yards and six touchdowns on ten carries in the first half alone.
“I can’t do this without my line,” said Hairston. “I don’t feel unstoppable, but I do feel really good.”
On the Broncos’ first possession, Hairston’s QB keeper middle ended up in the end zone 65 yards later. Two possessions later, Hairston out-jumped his cousin, Lions’ freshman cornerback Lorenzo Burns, for a 14-yard score in the corner of the end zone and his eighth touchdown.
Lions’ QB Hall was injured and out of the game at the seven-minute mark of the final period. Burns stepped up to lead the Lions on a six-play 41-yard drive with rushing workhorse Logan Wakefield scoring from five yards out.
Linfield rushed for 137 yards led by Wakefield (27 carries, 100 yards), Alex Larsen (25 yards), Burns (23 yards), Ryan Geach (20 yards), Hall (35 yards), and Miller (13 yards).
Banning posted a total of 637 rushing yards and 65 passing yards. They advance to face Mountain Pass League rival Rim of the World in the semifinals.
“They (Linfield) are a well-coached team, but young,” said Banning Coach John Stockham. “I’ve learned a lot from Coach Burns (Linfield Defensive Coordinator).”
“The kids wanted to be good and grew up like crazy this season,” said Lions Head Coach Steve Silberman. “Our seniors were incredible leaders and this team became like family.”