The start of the college football season has been successful for many of the area’s former local standout high school football players. Dwayne Johnson Jr. of Vista Murrieta High School and Ty Whitworth of Linfield Christian High School took their games to the next level when Johnson along with the San Diego State University Aztecs hosted Whitworth and the Weber State University Wildcats Saturday, Aug. 31. Whitworth is a three-year starter on the Wildcats offensive line and is projected to be an all-conference lineman. Dwayne Johnson Jr. won the starting safety position for the Aztecs, who won their season opener 6-0, in a defensive battle.
The Aztecs defense held the wildcats to 154 total yards, with 2.2 yards per rushing attempt, due in part to an impressive showing in run defense from junior Aztec Dwayne Johnson Jr. (82.3 run defense grade). Johnson finished the game with a career and team high 12 tackles. San Diego State’s next home game will be against Utah State University, Sept. 21. Area athletes playing for Utah State include Kevin Meitzenheimer of Moreno Valley High School and Andre Grayson of Etiwanda High School.
In other area alumni football news, former Heritage High School and Brigham Young University linebacker Sione Takitaki has made it onto the Cleveland Browns 53-man roster. Takitaki is listed at No. 2 on the depth chart.
Vista Murrieta graduate and University of Oklahoma linebacker Curtis Bolton was impressive in Green Bay Packers training camp enough to get reps with the first team and the start in the second preseason. Unfortunately for Bolton he suffered an injury early in the third preseason game. He was waived as injured when the Packers trimmed their roster to 53 players. Being waived and injured is not as bad as it appears. It is typical used when a team plans on returning the player to the active roster when healthy again; Bolton is likely to be playing on Sundays.
Vista Murrieta alumni and former Washington Redskin player Sua Cravens failed to make the team in Denver with the Broncos. Craven had expressed his desire to play as a traditional safety position and is looking at other opportunities to play in the NFL this season. It has been speculated that Cravens’ best role on a team would be as a hybrid linebacker and safety.
Also making waves is true freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier, the 2018-2019 Southwestern League Player of the Year from Murrieta Valley High School. Bachmeier led Boise State University football to a season opening victory over Florida State University. After a slow start, Bachmeier and the Boise State offense found their groove in the second half and defeated Florida State in Tallahassee, Florida. The former Nighthawk went 30 of 51 with 407 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception against the Seminoles.
Ardie Crenshaw of AC Sports contributed to this article.
JP Raineri can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.