What a difference one game can make. That’s the realization heading into the final week of the high school football regular season, which wraps up this week. Of course, in Week 9, all eyes were on the Southwestern League, more specifically, the Murrieta Valley Nighthawks and Vista Murrieta Broncos game. And what a game it was!

In what was a modern day wild-west shootout, where both offenses scored at will all night, this game would be decided by a missed two-point conversion when the dust settled. Going into the match-up, Vista Murrieta had won the last games between their crosstown rival and had a 13-4 edge in the face-to-face series. In fact, the last time the Nighthawks beat the Broncos, senior QB Brandon Rose was only in the eighth grade, as were most of his current teammates, and Hank Bachmeier (Boise State), who led Murrieta Valley to a Southwestern League title that same year (2017-18), was making a lot of the noise in his household.

Nighthawk senior quarterback Brandon Rose threw for 435 yards and six touchdowns in the Nighthawks win Friday, Oct. 22. Valley News/Action Captures Media Group

Fast-forward four years, Rose is a senior, turning in one of the most electric seasons by a quarterback in Inland history, and Tiger is the one making all the noise in the Bachmeier household.

Both teams sported a 3-0 record going into their Southwestern League match-up, so Friday’s winner would clinch at least a share of the Southwestern League championship. In a game that saw the scoreboard tied at the end of every quarter, the Broncos would take fate in their own hands as the game neared its end when they faked their final extra point attempt and went for a 2-point conversion. The pass failed…which gave the Nighthawks a 49-48 victory, and, so far, their share of this year’s SWL title.

Murrieta Valley (6-3, 4-0 in league) has outscored league opponents 147-14, and the Nighthawks are averaging 509 yards in those games. Rose has completed 70% of his passes, thrown for 2,117 yards, has 23 touchdowns and has zero interceptions. Vista Murrieta has also been as equally dominant during league games, outscoring its opponents 124-6 and Brady Jones has also posted impressive numbers, completing 62.1% of his passes for 1,416 yards with 22 touchdowns and only one interception.

Murrieta Valley wide receiver JT Saenz (11) makes a leaping catch for a first down against Vista Murrieta. Valley News/Action Captures Media Group

Go figure, in their matchup this season, it would be an air attack for the Nighthawks and a ground assault for the Broncos. Rose threw for 435 yards and six touchdowns, four of which went to receiver Tiger Bachmeier, who hauled in 14 receptions for 206 yards, including an amazing one-handed grab in the end zone in the first half. Tayven Lamprey added eight catches for 198 yards.

Vista Murrieta (7-2, 3-1) was led by Gavin Galzote, who ended the night rushing for 184 yards on 29 carries and three touchdowns while Matthew Caldera would run for 157 yards on 15 rushes and score three touchdowns.

Matthew Caldera (32) gets past the Murrieta Valley defense on his way to scoring one of his three touchdowns. Valley News/Action Captures Media Group

Now that the final week of the regular season for high school football has arrived, with it comes a great deal of big games with bigger implications. Section seedings will all be decided as teams sculpt their postseason paths moving forward, aiming for byes and home games as they anxiously await to see how this week’s results impact the CIF Southern Section rankings that play a significant role in determining who plays where and when as playoffs begin next week.

More quick game recaps

Temescal Canyon (4-0, 7-2) 23, Orange Vista (2-2, 5-4) 20: Ismael Figueroa kicked three field goals, including one in the final seconds to lift the Titans to another nonleague victory. Koa Apana threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns.

Elsinore (6-3, 2-1) 76, Notre Dame (0-3, 0-8) 23: Donovan Harvey rushed for 264 yards and four touchdowns and returned a kickoff for a touchdown as the Tigers won this Ivy League match-up. Elsinore finished with 590 yards on the ground. Oscar Flores rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns.

Temecula Valley (6-3, 1-3) 10, Murrieta Mesa (0-4, 0-8) 7: Jake Sinz returned a fumble 75 yards in the fourth quarter to help the Golden Bears come back and win over the Rams.

Chaparral (6-3, 3-1) 39, Great Oak (1-3, 3-6) 15: Freshman QB Dash Beierly threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as the Pumas won their third Southwestern League game of the season. Chaparral has the chance to move into a three-way tie at the top if they can get past Murrieta Valley in Week 10, assuming Vista Murrieta can get past a winless Murrieta Mesa.

Lakeside (3-1, 6-3) 49, Tahquitz (2-2, 3-4) 20: Desean Norwood rushed for 222 yards and two touchdowns as the Lancers (6-3) took home a nonleague victory.

CSDR (3-0, 8-0) 58, Cornerstone Christian (1-2, 2-5) 12: Trevin Adams threw for 215 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 160 yards and three touchdowns as the undefeated Cubs (8-0) won this nonleague bout. Phillip Castaneda had five catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Kaden Adams intercepted two passes, and Jory Valencia picked off another pass.

California Military Institute (3-2, 3-5) 12, Santa Rosa Academy (2-3, 3-5) 7:

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

THURSDAY 10/21

South Valley League

Temecula Prep (1-3, 1-7) 20, Hamilton (3-1, 4-4) 12

Sunbelt League

Paloma Valley (1-3, 1-7) 38, Hemet (1-2, 4-5) 0

FRIDAY 10/22

Ambassador League

Aquinas (2-0, 4-5) 45, Linfield Christian (1-2, 1-7) 7

Ivy League

Heritage (2-1, 4-5) 17, Rancho Verde (1-3, 2-6) 6

Mountain Pass League

San Jacinto (3-0, 7-1) 51, Perris (0-3, 2-7) 0

West Valley (2-2, 5-3) 19, Citrus Hill (1-2, 1-7) 16

Nonleague

Lakeside (3-1, 6-3) 49, Tahquitz (2-2, 3-4) 20

Rio Hondo Prep (2-1, 8-1) 41, Rancho Christian (2-7) 6

SATURDAY 10/23

Majestic League

California Lutheran (2-0, 5-2) 32, Hillcrest Christian (0-2, 0-7) 30

Victory League

Desert Chapel (1-1, 1-3) 38, San Jacinto Valley Academy (2-2, 4-5) 34

Nonleague

Capistrano Valley Christian (7-2) 52, Nuview Bridge (4-1, 4-4) 8

*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.