League play has begun. Week six in Valley football saw three Sunbelt League teams win by a combined average margin of 15 points; the three wins in the Southwestern League were double that average margin. Three unbeaten teams were handed their first loss. Only two teams remain undefeated: both from Murrieta. One running back gained over 200 yards and scored three touchdowns.
Tigers win catfight with Wildcats, 31-28
Former CIF Champion Elsinore Tigers, who have had trouble finishing in the pre-season, held on to win the catfight with the previously unbeaten Paloma Valley Wildcats, 31-28. The Wildcats (Felix Bogroff and CJ Parker) had blocked two Elsinore field goal attempts, but ironically, it was a blocked field goal at the end of the game that cost the Wildcats the tie.
It was a 14-14 tie at halftime, but the Tigers scored 17 points on three consecutive possessions to take a 31-14 lead. Despite being stopped twice in the third quarter, the Wildcats clawed back behind the running and catching of David Solis. Solis rushed nine times for 170 yards and two touchdowns; he also caught eight passes for 136 yards. The Wildcats scored 14 unanswered points and had driven 45 yards towards a final score, but the 37-yard Diego Reutler field goal was blocked. QB Brent Boehm completed 18-of-27 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns to Ray Golden and Marcus Pope. Richard Krottmayer led the defense with 18 tackles.
The Tigers’ Allen Stubbs rushed for 237 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries. Junior Davis Peralta – filling in for the injured Shane Pico – provided the power running, rushing for 73 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. QB Tommy Wilson was 4-of-8 for 50 yards. The Tigers’ defense was led by Terry Adams and Noah Paculba with fourteen tackles each. Sophomore Chris Harris recorded a sack and an interception.
Elsinore (4-1, 1-0) will host Lakeside (0-6, 0-1) who lost 42-13 to Temescal Canyon. Paloma Valley (5-1, 0-1) will host Perris (1-4, 0-1) who lost to Heritage 52-6.
Patriots pound Panthers, 25-6
Defending CIF Champion Heritage Patriots pounded the Perris Panthers 52-6 in the league opener.
Valley-leading running back Jamal Morrow (eight carries, 106 yards) opened the floodgates with a 62-yard score five minutes into the game. A minute later, Marvin Hifo scored on a 20-yard run, following an interception by Berkeley-bound cornerback Darius Allensworth. Big Sione Takitaki scored on a 4-yard run before the first quarter ended. The score was 31-0 at halftime. By the time the game ended, seven different Patriots players had scored, including a 98-yard fumble recovery by senior Julio Calix. Kicker Logan Netter was 7-for-7 on PAT’s and also kicked a 36-yard field goal.
The Panthers’ QB Carlos Manuel completed 11 of 17 attempts for 146 yards and a 33-yard score to Jalen Liscomb. Liscomb also led the Panthers in rushing with five carries for 30 yards and in receiving with three receptions for 80 yards. He also returned an interception on 38 yards. Four sacks, an interception, and a fumble did not help.
The Patriots (5-1, 1-0) travel to Temescal Canyon (3-3, 1-0) who beat Lakeside 42-13. The Panthers (1-4, 0-1) will travel to Menifee to play the Paloma Valley Wildcats (5-1, 0-1) who lost to Elsinore 31-28.
Titans dominate Lancers, 42-13
It was a tough ball game first half, but a 21-point third quarter allowed the Temescal Canyon Titans to break a two-game losing streak and dominate the Lakeside Lancers 42-13.
The Titans’ Jacob Zinda scored first on a 7-yard run. Two minutes later, the Lancers answered with a 13-yard quarterback keeper by Dakota Wilson. The PAT attempt was blocked by Temescal Canyon’s Chase Patten to make the score 7-6. Tylar George pushed the Titans’ lead to 14-6 with a 29-yard run with 40 seconds left in the first quarter. The Lancers answered again with another drive capped off with a Wilson to Raymond Craven 3-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-13 midway through the second quarter. With three minutes left in the half, Marcus Kirkpatrick scored for the Titans on a 17-yard run, 21-13 at halftime.
Kirkpatrick (four rushes, 107 yards) tore off a 76-yard run to set up Tylar George’s second touchdown, a 1-yard run. Dawson Lindeman then intercepted a Wilson pass and less than 20 seconds later, Titans’ QB Sean Trimble (4-of-6 for 147 yards) connected with Kirkpatrick (two catches, 73 yards) on a 37-yard scoring pass. Trimble scored on a 60-yard QB keeper with 11 seconds left in the third quarter to seal the victory for the Titans. The Titans rushed for 245 yards. They also fumbled five times, but only lost two. Josh Chen led the defense with 11 tackles and a sack. The Titans’ defense recorded nine sacks on the night.
The Lancers’ Wilson was 17-of-31 for 183 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Sean Cabrera marked his return from injury with six catches for 102 yards, including a 41-yard catch and run on the opening drive.
The Titans (3-3, 1-0) host the Heritage Patriots (5-1, 1-0) who rolled over Perris 52-6. The Lancers (0-6) travel to face the Elsinore Tigers (4-2, 1-0) who got past Paloma Valley 31-28.
Wolfpack overwhelmed by Nighthawks, 26-6
After a scoreless first quarter, it appeared it might be a defensive battle all night, but then the Murrieta Valley Nighthawks took off and overwhelmed the Great Oak Wolfpack, 26-6.
“They’re a good football team,” said MVHS Coach Ireland. “Their defense was tough in the first quarter and their big offensive line wore us down in the second half. Our defense held its own and gave our offense a chance.”
Indeed the Nighthawks defense did its job: holding the Wolfpack to one first down in six possessions, less than 40 yards of total offense, and forcing six punts in the first half alone. They held one of the league’s leading rushers, Jakob Certeza to 23 yards on 14 carries. They pressured QB Carson Luna all night, sacking him five times and forcing numerous hurried passes.
The Wolfpack defense forced the Nighthawks to turn the ball over on downs and to punt twice in the first quarter. They held the Nighthawks to 24 yards on the ground, but gave up 61 yards in the air as QB Andrew Blake connected with four different receivers in the opening period.
Then, two minutes into the second half, Blake finished up a 7-play, 68-yard drive with an 8-yard keeper around the left end for the first score. Five minutes later, kicker Alex Montion hit a 22-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead. With his back to the end line, the Wolfpack’s Garrett Ackerman’s punt was partially blocked by Nighthawk linebacker Michael Almodovar and picked up by DeSean Bullock for a 17-yard score. Montion hit a 31-yard field goal with five seconds left in the half, 20-0. “Things were just clicking for us in the second quarter,” said MVHS QB Blake.
Both defenses tightened up in the second half, allowing just one score each. MVHS scored on a 51-yard halfback pass from Reginald Brown to a wide-open Nicholas Chapman. Brown had been a quarterback at the frosh and JV levels. The Wolfpack’s only score came on a six-yard end-around by sophomore Brandon Presley on a 4th down-and-1 on the goal line.
The Wolfpack did gain over 200 yards in the second half, but came up empty two out of three times in the red zone. QB Luna (13-of-27 for 115 yards) had the longest run for the Wolfpack on a 43-yard keeper down to the 4-yard line. A mishandled snap for a 19-yard loss, and a sack forced a missed 39-yard field goal attempt.
“We just didn’t execute,” said Wolfpack Head Coach Robbie Robinson. “I’m proud of our defense, we’re young at some key positions, but that is our future.”
The Wolfpack (3-3, 0-1) faces defending League Champion Vista Murrieta (6-0, 1-0) who beat Temecula Valley 58-14. The Nighthawks (6-0, 1-0) host the air attack of the Murrieta Mesa Rams (5-1, 0-1); the Rams were beaten by Chaparral 46-20.
Pumas hand Rams first defeat, 46-20
The previously undefeated Rams had no answer for the Chaparral Pumas 28-point explosion as they lost their first game of the season, 46-20.
Pumas’ QB Kellen Mataafa scored first on a 3-yard dive capping a seven-play, 60-yard opening drive. Running back Skyler Seibold followed with an 11-yard scoring run to make the first quarter score 13-0. Rams’ QB Chase Chambers scored on a 1-yard run set up by Davian Nietz’ fumble recovery on the 23-yard line. Then the Rams’ Defensive Player of the Game Billy Montoya stripped the ball and recovered the fumble on the Pumas 42 to set up a three play drive capped by a Chambers-to-Khalil Sharpe 29-yard touchdown pass to put Mesa ahead 15-13. This was short-lived as the Pumas Chris Stratton returned a punt 65 yards to score with only 15 seconds left in the first half. Stratton later scored on a tipped pass interception return of 27 yards. Seibold, Stratton and Mataafa each scored twice.
Despite 36 completions (54 attempts) and 331 yards passing, the Rams’ QB Chase Chambers was only able to connect for two touchdowns to Khalil Sharpe and Gilbert Toves. Chambers was intercepted twice and sacked eight times; a precautionary MRI after the game showed up negative. Sharpe was named the Rams’ Offensive Player of the Game, re-setting his own school record for receptions in a game at 18 (191 yards). He is currently ranked third in CIF-SS for receivers.
The Pumas (5-1, 1-0) host the Temecula Valley Golden Bears (1-5, 0-1) in a battle for the Mayor’s Cup. The Bears lost to Vista Murrieta 58-14. The Rams (5-1, 0-1) face cross-town rival Murrieta Valley (6-0, 1-0) for the Nighthawks’ Homecoming Game. The Nighthawks beat Great Oak 26-6.
Broncos outrun Bears, 58-14
The Temecula Valley Golden Bears hosted the defending league champion Vista Murrieta Broncos and played them to a 14-14 tie in the first quarter when the Broncos’ offense and special teams exploded for 44 unanswered points before halftime to run away with a 58-14 victory.
TV’s QB Kyle Plantier engineered an opening drive that used up half the time in the first quarter, completing 4-of-5 passes, including a four-yard touchdown to Andre Armstrong. The Broncos answered quickly, driving up the field in five plays, with sophomore WR Colin Baker catching a 27-yard TD pass from QB Nick Stevens. A minute later, following an interception of Plantier, Kishawn Holmes scored on a 3-yard TD run. TV Running back Bailey Gallagher then excited the hometown crowd with a fumble, a recovery, and a kick-off return down the middle of the field for an 88 yard score tying the game at 14-14. A minute later, Stevens hit Baker again for a 22-yard score, sending the teams into the second quarter with Vista Murrieta ahead 21-14.
Vista Murrieta then scored 37 points in the second quarter to ice the game. Kishawn Holmes scored on an 82-yard run. Su’a Cravens scored from 21 yards out. The Broncos defense recorded a safety. Kishawn Holmes returned a kick-off for an 80-yard score. Darrel Denby returned a punt for a 54-yard score. Nick Stevens scored from one yard out.
TV’s Plantier ended up 14-of-30 for 146 yards, one TD and two interceptions. The Golden Bears’ running game missed leading rusher Ryan Smith and were only able to rush for 83 total yards against the tough Bronco defense. Derrick Hooks led TV receivers with four catches for 73 yards.
C-hawks crush Panthers, 60-18
The California Lutheran C-hawks and crushed the Annenberg Panthers 60-18. Prior to the game, the C-hawks unveiled a flagpole memorial for Army Master Sargeant Noah M. Korte, a graduate of Cal Lutheran, who was killed in Afghanistan on his fourth tour of duty.
The C-hawks led 24-0 in the first quarter and added two more scores in the second quarter and three more in the third to cement their Homecoming win.
The 4-2 C-hawks travel to Victor Valley College to play the Excelsior Charter Eagles (5-1, 2-0) who beat Lucerne Valley 64-26.
Lions defeat fighting Lancers, 31-17
The Linfield Christian Lions defeated the Western Christian Fighting Lancers in their Ambassador League opener, 31-17.
Lions QB Austin Hall threw for one touchdown and ran for two. He was 9-for-16 and 89 yards passing; he carried seven times for 28 yards. Running back Logan Wakefield carried 27 times for 174 of the team’s total 212 rushing yards. Receiver Alex Larsen scored on a 13-yard pass reception as well as on a punt return. Lorenzo Burns caught three passes for 20 yards. Chasen Crowell caught four passes for 37 yards.
Ryan Geach led the Lions’ defense with three sacks. Western Christian’s Brad Hargis was able to pass for 175 yards and rush for 152 yards, accounting for virtually all of the Fighting Lancers’ offense.
Linfield (2-4, 1-0) will host long-time rival Calvary Murrieta Warriors (5-1, 0-1) who lost their first game of the season last week to Ontario Christian 48-13. The game will honor CPL Christopher G. Singer, the USMC, and all armed services personnel in uniform will be admitted free of charge.
Warriors felled by Knights, 48-13
In a battle of the unbeaten, the Calvary Murrieta Warriors perfect record of 5-0 was marred by a huge loss to defending Ambassador League Champion Ontario Christian Knights, 48-13.
The Knights scored eight times before the Warriors put points on the board. Nate Van Bruggen (3 rushes for 33 yards) finally scored on a one-yard run with 6-1/2 minutes left in the fourth quarter. QB Zach Chesser (8-of-15 for 44 yards) hit Brody Myers with a five-yard pass at the buzzer for the Warriors’ final score. Chesser led the Warriors in rushing with 16 carries for 58 of his team’s 86 yards. Trysten Taylor caught four passes for 24 yards; Van Bruggen added 15 on three catches.
Taylor led the defense with twelve tackles.
The Warriors (5-1, 0-1) travel to face rival Linfield Christian (2-4, 1-0). Linfield beat Western Christian 31-17.
Crusaders crush Cougars, 44-33
The Cornerstone Christian Crusaders crushed the Calvary Baptist Cougars (4-1) in an away game, 44-33. OL/DE Josh Crivello was named Overall Player of the Game for the Crusaders.
Zach Brisson rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Josiah Tupaj rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries. Joe Cody added 114 yards on 14 carries. Jake Anderson caught a Tupaj pass for a 5-yard score. Tupaj was 5-of-8 for 32 yards.
Tupaj, Anderson and Nico de Haun led the defense with double-digit tackles. Shane Hughey had a sack and Cody returned an interception 14 yards for a score.
The Crusaders (4-3 , 2-0) will travel to Moreno Valley to play the Calvary Chapel Lions (0-4, 0-2) who were blanked by Marywood-Palm Valley 69-0.
Dax McGregor Update
The 17-year-old Cornerstone Christian senior quarterback who suffered a traumatic brain injury in the Sept. 24 away game vs. Avalon and was airlifted to UCLA Harbor Medical Trauma Center was moved back into ICU due to blood clots on Oct. 10.
Dax is no longer in a coma or on life support systems. According to the fundraising website updates, as of Oct. 7, he was moved from ICU into a “step down” room which is less intensely monitored. He is able to communicate and responds to simple requests. He is still not able to move around; the plan is to move him into a specialized rehabilitation center. He has a long road ahead. His mother and father have been with him; his brothers were able to visit him for the first time.
His mother Shannon shared, “Being here in the hospital is like watching a crazy reality show open 24/7, and unfortunately since we’ve been here, we’ve seen quite a few families lose their loved ones. It constantly reminds me how that totally could’ve been us. It breaks my heart. Ryan is just so very lucky to be alive.” The family is extremely thankful for all the prayers and donations during this difficult and challenging time.
Fundraising efforts are still needed to help with medical costs and financial support for the family during this time. Many businesses and organizations have stepped up to help: Pizza Factory, Chick-Fil-A, KTLA, The Landing Zone restaurant, Temecula Valley Football Boosters, High School Football America, et al. The Avalon community is also showing their support; there will be a fundraising booth at the Fall Fest on Front Street on Catalina Island, Thursday, Oct. 18. The community is urged to visit www.giveforward.com for the latest updates and to donate.