Just as quickly as the high school football season arrived, in a much-needed time for players, coaches and families, it’s already halfway over. The typical yearly search that most teams use preseason games for is over, but this is far from a typical season as most teams have had their season affected by COVID. In any case, the dishes from Week Five for prep football are in the kitchen sink, and the chefs are done serving up non-league appetizers; starting this week, it’s time for the main course.

While most teams have been taking this preseason time to find their identity, perennial powerhouse Vista Murrieta used this time to ensure they are battle-tested against top Southern California talent, as did league-title contenders Murrieta Valley and Chaparral. This past weekend, in an unusual Saturday game, the Broncos were once again led by running back Gavin Galzote, who rushed for 285 yards in a 45-27 victory against Villa Park (4-1). Vista Murrieta, ranked 15th in the Southern Section by Calpreps, scored on their first four possessions to lead 28-14 at halftime.

Vista Murrieta’s Matthew Caldera scores a touchdown in the first half of a non-league game against Villa Park. The Broncos won, 45-27. Valley News/Jerry Soifer photo

Matthew Caldera added 108 yards on the ground while QB Brady Jones had three touchdowns in the air and rushed for another score. Vista Murrieta (4-1), who piled up 452 yards overall, won their fourth consecutive game after losing their season-opener to Norco. The Broncos open Southwestern League play at Chaparral in Week Six.

Murrieta Valley traveled to San Clemente to wrap up their preseason schedule, where, unfortunately, the Nighthawks were on the losing end of a memorable 21-20 win for the Tritons. When QB Brandon Rose threw a touchdown pass to Tiger Bachmeier with 6:19 left in the third quarter, it looked as if Murrieta Valley was going to take control of the game. That is when the Tritons defense stepped up to hold the Nighthawks to just a field goal leading up to Murrieta Valley’s final drive of the game.

Trailing 21-20, Murrieta Valley drove all the way to San Clemente’s one-yard line and took a timeout with three seconds left in the game. Instead of punching the ball in for the touchdown, the Nighthawks went for the PAT, which, in dramatic fashion, was blocked. San Clemente held the offensive powerhouse to just 20 points on the night and prevented touchdowns from inside their red zone a shocking three times.

Chaparral QB Caron Tyler drops back to pass in the Pumas non-league loss to Roosevelt in Week Five. Valley News/David Canales photo

More quick game recaps

Roosevelt (3-2) 37, Chaparral (3-2) 14: Roosevelt took down the host Chaparral Pumas as the Mustang defense converted three turnovers into 17 points, had four sacks, and forced the Pumas to punt four times. Chaparral running back, Hunter Roddy, led the Pumas, rushing for 163 yards on 23 carries.

West Valley (3-1) 16, Indian Springs (2-2) 8: Marcus Young rushed for a touchdown and caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Samuelle Garcia to help the Mustangs (3-1) win their final non-league game.

Temecula Valley (5-0) 35, Redlands East Valley (2-3) 28: Ben Botelho led the passing attack against the Wildcats, who came back and lit up the scoreboard in the fourth quarter for 25 points. Temecula Valley had controlled the game 28-3 up to that point, when they took some of their key players out to rest for their league opener against Murrieta Valley this week. Botelho threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns as Ryan Sanchez controlled the ground game for the Golden Bears with 158 yards and two touchdowns.

Other Week Five prep football scores from around the valley include:

FRIDAY 9/24

South Valley League

California Military Institute (1-1, 1-4) 21, St. Jeanne de Lestonnac (0-2, 0-3) 7

Non-league

San Clemente (4-2) 21, Murrieta Valley (2-3) 20

Santa Paula (3-3) 47, Rancho Christian (1-5) 22

Roosevelt (3-2) 37, Chaparral (3-2) 14

San Gorgonio (3-2) 34, Perris (1-4) 22

Summit (3-2) 45, Murrieta Mesa (0-4) 7

Orange Vista (3-2) 39, Vista del Lago (2-3) 21

West Valley (3-1) 16, Indian Springs (2-2) 8

Hamilton (2-2) 40, Whittier Christian (1-2) 2

San Pedro (4-0) 21, Heritage (1-4) 16

Academy of Careers and Exploration (2-1) 44, Cornerstone Christian (1-3) 12

SATURDAY 9/25

South Valley League

Santa Rosa Academy (2-0, 3-1) 42, Temecula Prep (0-2, 0-5) 14

Non-league

San Jacinto Valley Academy (2-3) 47, Cal Lutheran (3-1) 6

Vista Murrieta (4-1) 45, Villa Park (4-1) 27

Rio Hondo (5-0) 44, Prep at Linfield Christian (0-5) 9

Photos and sports scores/stats/highlights can be submitted to sports@reedermedia.com. Stats, standings, results provided by MaxPreps, local ADs, fans of the game, social media, and the Valley News Sports Department.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at sports@reedermedia.com.