Matadors drop season opener but there is plenty of optimism for the future

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A lot can be said in a loss, and the Mount Miguel football team likely learned a lot about itself following last Friday’s season opening 35-30 non-league setback at Chula Vista High School.

A pair of untimely fumbles and several offsides penalties kept the visiting Matadors out of the win column. However, the Spring Valley team still showed flashes of brilliance throughout the fiercely fought contest that promotes optimism for the future.

A lot can be said in a loss, and the Mount Miguel football team likely learned a lot about itself following last Friday’s season opening 35-30 non-league setback at Chula Vista High School.

A pair of untimely fumbles and several offsides penalties kept the visiting Matadors out of the win column. However, the Spring Valley team still showed flashes of brilliance throughout the fiercely fought contest that promotes optimism for the future.

There’s obviously still a lot of football to be played this season.

Bright spots for Mount Miguel included the play of senior quarterback Benny Valadez and junior running back Shemar Greene.

Greene scored two touchdowns and Valadez ran for one and passed for another to rally their team from a 35-17 deficit midway through the fourth quarter to create a thrill-packed ending. 

Joel Beas scored the first points of the season for the Matadors on a 33-yard field goal with 3:41 left in the first quarter. Chula Vista responded with its opening points of the season five plays later on a 35-yard scoring pass from quarterback Paul Escobar to Sergio Figueroa.

Greene scored his first touchdown of the game on a 10-yard run to enable the visitors to take a 10-7 lead.

From there, the hosts took a 21-10 lead into halftime after rallying with back-to-back touchdowns. Escobar passed 27 yards to Daniel McPherren to put Chula Vista up 17-10 and Figueroa scored his second touchdown of the game on a seven-yard run with 1:50 to play in the opening half.

The Spartans would follow with a short touchdown run by Andre Stewart (seven yards) to kick off the second half as the hosts extended their scoring run to 20-0.

Much of the Spartans’ success came with Matador standout linebacker/running back Cameron Hanson was being administered yo on the sideline with an ankle injury. The loss of Hanson proved costly both offensively and defensively for the visitors.

Yet even with Hanson on the sideline, the Matadors made it close.

Mario Coker caught a five-yard scoring pass late in the third quarter to cut the deficit on the scoreboard to 27-17.

Chula Vista answered with a 67-yard bomb from Escobar to McPherren that, coupled with a successful two-point conversion, raised the hosts’ lead to 35-17.

But the visitors were not finished. Greene, who rushed for 140 yards on the night, scored from three yards out with 5:24 left in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 35-23.

Valadez then scored on a 72-yard breakaway run down the sideline with 3:27 to play to trim the deficit further to 35-30. The Matadors got the ball back with 2:02 remaining after the Spartans were pinned at their own 12-yard line on the ensuing kick-off. 

But the hosts stiffened on defense, forcing fourth-and-long. Greene got the ball but CV’s Timmy Wilkins recovered a fumble at the Spartan 30-yard line with 22 seconds left. 

It was an especially big win for Chula Vista, which won only one game last year.

“I told our team it was a good win over a quality opponent,” Spartan head coach Daryl Butterfield commented after the victory. “It took the effort of everyone to win this game … The defense was flying at times out there. The defense won the game for us.”

The Matadors shot themselves in the foot with costly penalties. Also, Valadez was stripped of the football at the Chula Vista two-yard line after making a long run toward the Spartan end zone.

In other season openers last Friday (Aug/ 26):

Granite Hills 14, San Pasqual 12

Chris Ostreng (64 passing yards, 75 rushing yards) scored on a quarterback keeper and Duarde Aqili scored on an interception return to lift the visiting Eagles. The Granite Hills defense came up big with two sacks, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries to preserve the non-league win.

Valhalla 30, Scripps Ranch 0

The visiting Norsemen piled up 418 yards in offense to ground the Falcons in the teams’ non-league contest. Jerome Johnson scored two touchdowns to pace Valhalla’s running attack. Jacob Paape kicked a 36-yard field goal, quarterback Bryan Madrid (161 passing yards) broke loose on a 90-yard scoring run and Miguel Perez recorded a two-point safety.

The Norsemen defense was also quite active throughout the game. Connor Moser scored on a 50-yard interception return while teammate D.J. Madera was credited with a fumble recovery. Brennan Cox also was credited with an interception. 

El Cajon Valley 40, Kearny 22

The host Braves bolted out to a 16-0 first quarter lead en route to avenging a loss in last year’s San Diego Section playoffs to the Comets. Quarterback Tyson Smith rushed for three touchdowns to lead El Cajon Valley, which built a 32-6 lead in the non-league contest. 

Monte Vista 51, Hoover 0

Rashaun Willis-Brown scored four touchdowns to lead the visiting Monarchs past the Cardinals in non-league play. Monte Vista raced to a 28-0 lead after the first quarter and led 42-0 at halftime. The Monarchs won despite not attempting a pass in the game.

Grossmont 31, Morse 12

Hunter Gaines passed for 127 yards and one touchdown (to Domonique Guevara) and also scored a rushing touchdown to lead the visiting Foothillers to the non-league victory. Shevell Sterling Jr. (11 carries, 135 yards) and Jailen Bailey (3 carries, 44 yards) also scored rushing touchdowns. On defense, Grossmont collected two sacks and recovered two fumbles. Cristopher Garcia booted a 24-yard field goal and also tacked on four point-after-touchdown conversions for seven kicking points.

In a non-league game played on Saturday (Aug. 27):

Christian 42, Brawley 21

Theo Goodwin scored two touchdowns, including an 88-yard kick-off return, as the Patriots turned back the Wildcats in a non-league game played at Granite Hills High School. Joey Morones, Alex Gonzalez and Tshombre Carter all scored rushing touchdowns while quarterback Bradley Jeremiah tossed a scoring pass to Garrett Nielsen.

After Brawley closed to within 28-21 on the scoreboard, the Patriots extended their lead on  Goodwin’s kick return. Goodwin racked up 230 all-purpose yards in the victory while Bradley completed 14 of 18 passing attempts for 137 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Prep football schedule

Friday, Sept. 2

All games at 7 p.m., unless noted

Poway at Mount Miguel

Christian at Monte Vista

Montgomery at El Cajon Valley

Mater Dei Catholic at El Capitan

Granite Hills at Valhalla

Grossmont at Otay Ranch

West Hills at Santana

Steele Canyon at Madison, 6:30 p.m.

Army0navy Academy at Mountain Empire, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 3

Helix vs. Clayton Valley at Mission Viejo, 4 p.m.

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