Valley News -

By JP Raineri
Sports Editor 

HS Football: Week Five wrap up, let the games begin

 

Last updated 9/27/2018 at 7:37pm

Rob Davis Photography

Great Oak's defense, including Steven Moss (66), fought hard in their Week Five loss to San Juan Hills.

The midway point of the 2018 high school football season has come and gone and with so much league movement around the area, the true tests now await. While there were just a handful of home games in Week Five, almost every local team that played got a win, including the Heritage Patriots, who took down the mighty Cajon Cowboys. Cajon (4-1), the reigning CIF-Southern Section Division 4 Champions and top-ranked Division 3 team, had been unbeatable up to this point last week, throwing their weight around, even taking out the Murrieta Valley Nighthawks in Week One, 57-28. A last-minute Heritage interception by Carlos Ruelas would cut off the oxygen to the Cowboy's attack in Week Five though, leaving the Cowboys dazed and confused.

Cajon struggled with Heritage's power running offense, of course, two turnovers in the fourth quarter didn't help. Heritage (3-2), behind a standout game from Ika Tuatala (21 carries, 176 yards, 4 TDs) had over 450 yards on the ground. The last time these two top Inland Valley teams faced each other was in the 2015 CIF-SS Inland Division semifinals, which the Patriots won 24-15. Cajon has made it to at least a divisional final over the last three years, and Heritage has reached the semifinals in six of the last eight seasons, winning one title and being a finalist in two other seasons. For Cajon, Week Five wrapped up a healthy nonleague schedule as they look to start Citrus Belt League play against Redlands East Valley, who beat Heritage 35-16 earlier this season. The Patriots will play two more nonleague games before beginning their first season in the revamped Ivy League.

How about this one for some suspenseful, perhaps dramatic action? Temecula Valley versus Paloma Valley. Why you ask? Well, if ever there was a reason to get out of the house on a Friday night to catch some local high school football action, last Friday night would have been that night. New Temecula Valley Head Coach, Bert Esposito, who came over from Paloma Valley this year, and in fact, still teaches there, has coached 75 football games at Paloma Valley High School stadium during his career, but last week was the second time he did but not as the Wildcats head coach.

Esposito, who still has a healthy relationship with many of his former players, leaves school every day around 2 p.m. and hits the road to take the I-215 south toward his new home, on the field that is. A native of Temecula, Esposito was there in 2002 with Rancho Verde, but before this year, guided Paloma Valley to an 87-59 record over 13 seasons and returned in Week Five to take on the Wildcats with his Golden Bears in their final nonleague game of the season. The new head coach has already turned things around for Temecula Valley, who went winless last season, as they sat with a 3-1 record going into the game.

Temecula Valley's quarterback, Easton Gibbs, who went down with an injury against San Jacinto in Week Four, sat out to heal for this week's Southwestern League opener against Great Oak, and junior Zach Cutka (10-22, 127 yds, 3 int.) got the start against the Wildcats (3-2). The Golden Bears got off to a slow start, collecting just 11 yards in the first quarter, but showed some signs of life with 174 yards of total offense, scoring three times in the second quarter. It would be Temecula Valley's defense, just like those before them, that had their hands full with Mason Carvalho, Paloma Valley's fiery wide-receiver-turned-quarterback. For the second straight game, Carvalho put up serious numbers, running for 228 yards and three touchdowns to power the Wildcats to a 48-21 victory over the Golden Bears. With Temecula Valley (3-2) forced to concentrate on Carvalho, running backs Dereus Dortch and Jaylin Rembert, added their own fuel to the fire. Dortch finished with 155 yards on 19 carries and capped the Wildcats' big second-half with a 66-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Rembert had 104 yards on just seven carries, including a 53-yard scoring run in the first half. Brody Hughes had 100 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries for Temecula Valley and Cade Churchward caught six passes, including an exceptional grab for a 26-yard touchdown early in the game.

"It's never easy to turn things around right away," Esposito said. "We've got some wins and we are getting the culture right and things are moving in a forward direction. Now our focus moves to the Southwestern League and what we can accomplish there."

Other games that had their share of excitement included the always impressive Murrieta Valley Nighthawks, Citrus Hill ran away with an impressive win over Poly and Vista Murrieta got back on track with their third win of the season, without scoring a single touchdown. The Vista Murrieta Broncos have always had the ability to make big plays defensively and on special teams. Last Friday night, in what was more of a lopsided baseball score, the Broncos did it again, defeating the Loyola Cubs, 8-0, in a defensive battle as both teams played in their final non-league game. The Broncos took a 3-0 halftime lead on a Josh Baron 30-yard field goal late in the first quarter. Then, in the third quarter, Marcus Nguyen blocked a Loyola punt out of the end zone, giving Vista Murrieta a 5-0 lead. In the fourth quarter, Loyola (1-4) recovered a botched punt attempt, but on their first play after the turnover, defensive back Lavell Harris intercepted quarterback Nathan Priestley on the Bronco 32 and returned the pick 51 yards to the Loyola 17. Baron drilled his second field goal with just over five minutes remaining, and the Broncos led 8-0.

The Broncos forced the Cubs to punt 11 times on the night, including Loyola's first 10 drives and added two key fourth quarter interceptions, limited the Cubs to 39 yards rushing, and had four sacks, including two by Nathan Bolton. Vista Murrieta (3-2) was led by quarterback Michael Jimenez, who rushed for 107 yards on 25 carries and completed 10 of 17 passes for 83 yards, including seven for 76 yards to receiver Alex Hill. Priestley finished the game completing 13 of 32 passes for 100 yards.

Over in Perris, the Citrus Hill Hawks' invasive, fast, strong defense, held Riverside Poly to just 57 yards of offense while RB Armani Orange stepped up for his own offensive onslaught. Orange ran for 109 yards and three first-half touchdowns on only five carries as the Hawks pummeled Poly 49-7 in the nonleague finale for both teams during Week Five action. The game was pretty much over before halftime as Citrus Hill led 28-0 after one quarter and 43-0 at the half. Citrus Hill (5-0) has now outscored their opponents, 198-16, and has allowed two touchdowns and a safety off a bad snap in their first five games.

Murrieta Valley picked up their second win of the season in one of those unusual Thursday games last week, taking out the Buena Park Coyotes, 63-20. Senior QB, Hank Bachmeier, looked to be his usual self, throwing for over 300 yard as running backs, Josh Archer and DJ Watts led the ground attack with over 200 yards rushing and four TDs between the two of them.

With a handful of other games to mention, including Murrieta Mesa's homecoming win over Redlands, we still have to make some room for print, so here are the rest of the local scores from Week Five:

Friday 9/21

Desert Valley League

Yucca Valley – 42, Banning – 28

South Valley League

California Military Institute – 58, Sherman Indian – 0

Victory League

San Jacinto Valley Academy – 52, Desert Chapel – 12

Nonleague

Elsinore – 29, Wilmington Banning – 27

La Quinta – 54, Lakeside – 6

La Sierra – 21, Perris – 14

Rancho Verde – 69, Hawkins – 0

Andrez Imaging

The Calvary Murrieta defense came up big for the Warriors as they held Santa Rosa to just 8 points Friday, Sept. 21.

Murrieta Mesa – 33, Redlands – 22

San Juan Hills – 24, Great Oak – 0

Calvary Murrieta – 46, Santa Rosa Academy – 8

Saturday 9/22

Nonleague

Campbell Hall – 54, Temecula Prep – 6

*All stats, schedules, photos and scores are supplied by local high school athletic directors, MaxPreps, CIF-SS, 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.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at [email protected]

 

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