The high school football season entered Week One and even with the fallback from COVID-19 taking more and more games away from CIF Southern Section teams, most local teams are trying to hold steady with business as usual on the gridiron. Just down the freeway, Corona had to cancel their first two games because of COVID-19 protocols, Rancho Cucamonga had to cancel their season opener against Roosevelt and Centennial had to cancel their football game against Mater Dei.
In Temecula, Great Oak (1-1) got off to a good start when they took the opening kickoff and drove to the Roosevelt 13, but an interception in the end zone deflated things. The Mustangs turned around and capped a seven play, 75-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown run and then took a 10-6 lead into the half when kicker Logan South drilled a 40-yard field goal. Roosevelt (0-1) appeared to have tied the game at 13 in the fourth quarter on another South field goal, but a personal foul on the Wolfpack gave the Mustangs a first down on Great Oak’s 11-yard line.
Great Oak senior quarterback Sean Givens would score on a five-yard touchdown run with 47 seconds to play as the Wolfpack defeated Roosevelt, 20-17, giving first year coach Ryan Garcia his first victory. Givens led the Wolfpack gaining 94 yards on 20 carries and completing 11 of 23 passes for 90 yards. Garcia has been a teacher and coach at Great Oak since 2008 and has six children with his wife Aliah (also a teacher at GOHS). Before coaching at Great Oak, Garcia coached at Santa Fe High School from 1996-2007. Also a pole-vaulting coach, Ryan will be taking over as the head track and field coach as well.
“I’m very excited for the direction of our football program,” Garcia said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the transformation of our athletes in the classroom and on the field. The kids have worked hard all summer and are excited to compete. Our schedule this year will be a great test for our program, and we are ready for the challenge and opportunity to get better.”
Over in Menifee, the Vista Murrieta Broncos bounced back from a loss to Norco in their season opener last week by defeating Heritage 48-6 in a nonleague football matchup. Vista Murrieta quarterback Brady Jones and tight end Ezekiel Vestal connected on a pair of touchdowns in the first half as Jones completed 11 of his 19 passes for 81 yards total. Vestal’s two touchdowns were the only two catches he had in the game.
Senior running back Gavin Galzote contributed to the offense, rushing for 94 yards on six carries. He had a 46-yard touchdown on his first carry of the game before scoring a 12-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Matthew Caldera of Vista Murrieta contributed with a 37-yard touchdown within the first 38 seconds of the second half and Grant Wayne added a score from the five-yard line.
Heritage relied heavily on the run game, which had limited success outside of a 47-yard run, and a touchdown by Angelo Serena. He finished the game with 61 yards on 22 carries. Quarterback Hayden Lara contributed to the run game with 58 yards on eight carries. He completed his only two passes to Elijah Smith for 22 yards.
Murrieta Mesa opened their season at home as Beaumont’s Christopher Cooper found the end zone four times from the air Friday night, leading the Cougars to a 42-27 victory over the Rams. The sophomore completed 25 of 37 attempts for 335 yards in the win. Murrieta Mesa came out of the first half scoring on their opening possession, but Beaumont answered with touchdowns in the third and fourth quarter to secure the victory.
Gabriel Nunez led the Beaumont receivers with 12 receptions for 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Armando Cuellar rushed for 83 yards on 18 attempts. Murrieta Mesa quarterback Ty Albao went 21 of 35 in the air for 274 yards, while the receiving duo of Jacob Van Patton and Isiah Rivas had almost 200 yards between the two of them. Jalen Ford led the Rams rushing efforts with 16 carries for 76 yards.
In Moreno Valley, Rancho Verde, who did not look like the Mustangs of old, fell 41-7 to Citrus Valley (1-0) behind a stellar performance by quarterback Hunter Herrera. With 5 TDs on the night, Herrerra threw for 229 yards and five touchdowns, including four in the first half. Junior running back Jeremiah Claiborne gained 123 yards on the ground and senior receiver Sergio Cervantes hauled in eight passes for 108 yards – all in the first half. Brock Lium, who only caught four passes, found three of those passes on his way to the end zone.
The Mustangs didn’t find the end zone until the game’s last play, when running back Rickey Renwrick (30 carries, 121 yards) crashed in from the 10-yard line.
The Temescal Canyon football team has been susceptible to big plays this season, so a win is never a sure thing. As their defense held strong late in the game, Eisenhower’s offense was stuffed twice on fourth downs to preserve a 24-23 nonleague win this past Thursday, Aug. 26. Despite the loss for Eisenhower, the evening also was a victory for the Eagles. Eisenhower was among a handful of Inland teams who did not play in the spring. Thursday marked the program’s first game in 21 months. Temescal Canyon (2-0) was led by Koa Apana, who completed 10 of 19 passes for 137 yards and led the Titans with 98 yards on 12 carries.
Other Week One prep football scores from around the valley include:
Garden Grove Pacifica 55, Linfield Christian 0
Shadow Hills 40, Citrus Hill 7
Temecula Valley 34, Elsinore 21
Citrus Valley 41, Rancho Verde 7
Murrieta Valley 63, Paloma Valley 21
Chaparral 19, Tesoro 16 (OT)
Orange Vista 29, Redlands 7
Beaumont 42, Murrieta Mesa 27
Cathedral City 41, West Valley 6
Hemet 26, Lakeside 20
Army-Navy 21, California Military Institute 6
Desert Christian Academy 35, Nuview Bridge 12
Warner 60, Cal Lutheran 12
Sage Hill 54, San Jacinto Valley Academy 0
Western Christian 50, Hamilton 0
Rancho Christian 34, Tri-City Christian 0
Arrowhead Christian 33, Temecula Prep 0
San Clemente 15, San Jacinto 13
Photos and sports scores/stats/highlights can be submitted to email@example.com. Stats, standings, results provided by MaxPreps, local ADs, fans of the game and the Valley News Sports Department.
JP Raineri can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.