[Photo] Murrieta Mesa QB Julian Silva leads the Rams to a 42-13 victory over Santiago in the newly formed Big West Conference-Lower Division Thursday, Sept. 29. Valley News/David Canales photo
— Let the games begin…well, the beginning of the league games, that is. This week, homecoming was all the buzz at schools around the area, but it was also the start of league games for many of the local teams, including those in the new Big West Upper and Lower divisions. This is the new football-only conference that split the Southwestern League and the Big VIII schools into two separate leagues.
The upper half includes Centennial, Norco and Roosevelt of the Big VIII League and Chaparral, Murrieta Valley and Vista Murrieta of the Southwestern League. The lower half of the conference is comprised of Corona, King and Santiago from the Big VIII League and Great Oak, Murrieta Mesa and Temecula Valley from the Southwestern League. After the opening week of league games, the only former Southwestern League team to win in the Upper Division was Murrieta Valley, and in the Lower Division all three former SWL teams were victorious.
Linfield Christian was another local team that moved leagues this year, moving from the Ambassador League (for football only) to the Mesquite League. Joining Linfield Christian are Arrowhead Christian and Western Christian. Along with the three former Ambassador League teams are Capo Valley Christian, Trinity Classical Academy and Riverside Prep.
As for big games this week, all eyes were on the undefeated teams from our area. Two of them, Liberty and West Valley, played each other in Week Six. Santa Rosa Academy, Orange Vista and Perris were the remainder of the loss-less teams. With the playoffs lurking in the distance, everyone wanted a win this week for the advantage.
So, here are scores/schedules for the Week Six high school football games involving local teams inside our coverage area.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 29
Big West Conference-Upper Division
Norco (4-2, 1-0) – 69, Vista Murrieta (4-2, 0-1) – 28
Big West Conference-Lower Division
Murrieta Mesa (3-3, 1-0) – 42, Santiago (0-6, 0-1) – 13
Santa Rosa Academy (6-0, 1-0) – 46, Vasquez (0-5, 0-1) – 8
Lakeside (3-4, 1-0) – 27, Valley View (0-6, 0-1) – 14
FRIDAY, SEPT. 30
Big West Conference-Upper Division
Centennial (5-1, 1-0) – 70, Chaparral (2-4, 0-1) – 28
Murrieta Valley (5-1, 1-0) – 48, Roosevelt (5-1, 0-1) – 17
Big West Conference-Lower Division
Great Oak (3-3, 1-0) – 28, King (3-3, 0-1) – 21
Temecula Valley (4-2, 1-0) – 55, Corona (0-6, 0-1) – 6
Inland Valley League
Hemet (5-1, 1-0) – 37, Rancho Christian (2-4, 0-1) – 22
Elsinore (5-1, 1-0) – 35, Heritage (0-6, 0-1) – 10
*Orange Vista (6-0, 1-0) – 34, J.W. North (1-5, 0-1) – 14
Rancho Verde (1-5, 1-0) – 49, Temescal Canyon (1-5, 0-1) – 47
Mountain Pass League
* Tahquitz (5-1, 1-0) – 55, Perris (5-1, 0-1) – 14
*San Jacinto (4-2, 1-0) – 44, Citrus Hill (0-6, 0-1) – 0
Liberty (6-0, 1-0) – 35, West Valley (5-1, 0-1) – 0
Paloma Valley (4-2, 1-0) – 27, Riverside Poly (2-4, 0-1) – 13
SATURDAY, OCT. 1
St. Jeanne de Lestonnac (4-1, 3-0) – 32, San Jacinto Valley Academy (0-6) – 27
Temecula Prep (3-2, 3-0) – 28, Nuview Bridge (0-5, 0-3) – 13
Cornerstone Christian (1-5, 1-0) – 60, Hillcrest Christian (0-4) – 12
Capistrano Valley Christian (4-1, 1-0) – 29, Linfield Christian (1-5, 0-1) – 26
Editors’ notes from last week include the four former SWL teams that won, a huge Vista Murrieta loss, and a look at the still undefeated Liberty Bison.
Kicking things off in Thursday action was the Murrieta Mesa Rams as they recorded their first league win in the newly formed Big West Conference-Lower Division. Their 42-13 win over Santiago also paved the way for new head coach Oscar McBride to pick up his first-ever league victory with the Rams as well. Murrieta Mesa used their up-tempo offense to build an early 15-0 first quarter lead that they never relinquished, which also led to 20 fourth quarter points. Offensive stats were not available at the time of this article but defensively junior Luke Van Den Berg led the Rams with eight tackles, while Michael Hickey (Sr) and Ifeanyi Onye (Jr) had QB sacks, Onye with two. And to top it off there were two fumble recoveries, both which came from junior CJ Moran.
That same night Norco had few problems against Vista Murrieta, cruising to a 69-28 victory in their Big West Conference opener Thursday. Cougar QB Tyler Dudden completed 21 of 33 passes for 328 yards and five touchdowns, and Grant Gray ended the night with 10 receptions for 146 yards and three touchdowns. Kalani Kaleiwhaea brought down four of Dudden’s touchdowns. Norco finished the night with 554 yards of offense. Vista Murrieta’s Akili Smith Jr. completed 17 of 25 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns. Brody Guinn led the receiver core with six receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown, and Grant Wayne finished with five catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
The Murrieta Valley Nighthawks moved the ball extremely well on offense in their Friday night away game. But, despite a lopsided score, so did Roosevelt. Murrieta Valley’s Bear Bachmeier threw for 269 yards, running back Asa Chatman racked up 269 yards from scrimmage and the Nighthawks had nearly 600 yards of total offense. To counter that, Roosevelt (5-1) had close to 500 yards of total offense. The difference was four scoreless trips inside the red zone, and two botched field goal attempts. Bear would toss for four touchdowns, connecting with brother Tiger on multiple catches and scores, plus he ran one in on his own. Chatman ran for 174 yards on 16 carries and also had three catches for 95 yards.
Temecula Valley had a field day with Corona, punishing the winless Panthers 55-6. Jaden Eddy, Jake Sinz, Bryce Dewald and Ryan Sanchez were all selected as the Temecula Valley players of the game. Dewald threw for 140 yards with three TDs that went to Gavin Wellonen (Sr), Logan Prestifilippo and Blake Carter (Sr). Sanchez had a two-touchdown game, rushing for 34 yards, Eddy had 104 yards rushing and two touchdowns as well, and Valencia (Sr) had success on both sides of the ball with a score and eight tackles on defense. Sinz, Landon Alexander and Cole Holt each contributed with a QB sack on defense, while Sinz had 10 total tackles to lead the defense.
Great Oak took down King with their final score coming in the fourth quarter on a 55-yard run, as well as a late interception to seal the game, 28-21. Great Oak QB Cole Vasquez (Jr) would complete 11 of 25 passes for 158 yards and a TD, which went to senior Troy Bean (2 catches, 46 yards). RB Isaiah Lopez (Sr) controlled the ground attack with 129 yards and two TDs as junior Jefferson Roberts scored the other touchdown with his 48 yards of rushing.
Our final notes of the week come from the still undefeated Liberty Bison, who could not be stopped on both sides of the ball as they defeated West Valley 35-0 in their Mountain Pass League opener. The Mustangs also came into the game with zero losses in the season and kept Liberty at bay in the first half. After only leading 6-0 at halftime, thanks to an Eddie Smith pick-six, the Bison offense would score touchdowns on all four second half possessions.
The win gave Liberty their first league win in the school’s first-ever varsity season. Bison running back Anthony Ruelas gained 135 yards on 13 carries, scoring twice on the night. Andre Skelton and Dylan Ornelas would provide the other two rushing TDs. Liberty held the Mustangs to 92 yards in offense, recording their third shutout in six games. West Valley was led offensively by running back Roy Martinez who rushed for 70 yards on 14 carries.
Other Week Six wins came from Lakeside, Elsinore, Paloma Valley, St. Jeanne de Lestonnac, Temecula Prep, and Cornerstone Christian as well schools from just outside this year’s sports coverage area as Hemet, Tahquitz, Rancho Verde and San Jacinto all had victories.
*For the 2022-2023 prep sports season, the Valley News Sports Department will have photographers and game reports for schools and sports inside a limited coverage area due to print space and manpower. Those schools include Great Oak, Temecula Valley, Chaparral, Murrieta Valley, Murrieta Mesa, Vista Murrieta, Linfield Christian, Rancho Christian, Elsinore, Paloma Valley, Liberty, St. Jeanne de Lestonnac, Heritage, Temecula Prep, Hamilton (Anza), Cornerstone Christian, Temescal Canyon, Lakeside and the River Springs Charter Schools (no football programs). Scores and schedules may be posted for other area schools, but full coverage cannot be guaranteed.
All stats, schedules, photos, and scores are supplied by local high school athletic directors, MaxPreps, CIF-SS offices, contributing writers/photographers and countless fans of the games via social media. Is your team’s score missing? Let us know if your school is inside our coverage area and would like to be mentioned.
To submit any additions or corrections to the schedule or stats, please email email@example.com.
JP Raineri can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.