The Pumas Beat the Rams for their first Southwestern League Victory of the Year
Murrieta Mesa came into Chaparral full of confidence and optimism. This was the Rams best season in school history and the Pumas were to be their 8th victory of the year. It was not to be. Chaparral rose to the occasion and beat Murrieta Mesa and won its first Southwestern League victory of the year. They also spoiled a lot of Ram plans.
“We felt like we played really well in spurts the last three weeks against good teams, but playing well in spurts isn’t good enough,” said Chaparral head coach Jeremy McCullough. “We were finally able to finish a game. It wasn’t perfect, but it was probably a 90 percent. We found a way to beat Mesa, who has been on a roll.”
Stanley Dixon got things rolling for Chaparral on the opening kickoff. The junior took the ball 94 yards into the end zone to give the Pumas a 6-0 lead. Moments later, Alec Fonseca nailed a 30 yard field goal and it was 9-0 as the first quarter ended.
The Rams closed the gap in the second quarter. Gio Sanders scores on a 35 yard pass from Jeff Miller and it was 9-7. Chaparral quarterback Trilian Harris then completed his only pass of the game, a 41 yard toss to Dawson Fitzgerald on a flea flicker for a touchdown to make it 16-7 at the half.
Stanley Dixon increased the Pumas lead to 23-7 in the third quarter with a 14 yard run. It stayed that was until Miller hit Cayden Chambers early in the fourth quarter with a 27 yard scoring pass to pull the Rams to make it 23-15 after a successful 2 point conversion.
The Rams then made a turnover that ended their dream season in the fourth quarter. Senior defensive back Drew Kuykendall picked off a Jeff Miller pass and ran it back 23 yards for a score. Miller had 3 picks in the game. Final score, Pumas 30…Rams 15.
The Pumas only gained 256 yards on the ground, but it was enough. Orlando Ornelas led the way with 85 yards on 8 carries. Elgin Vasquez gained 57 yards, Jacob De lara 49, Justin Manqueros 35 and Dixon 27 yards for Chaparral.
The Rams play Murrieta Valley next Friday for their final game of the 2017 regular season. The Nighthawks are 4-0 in Southwestern league play. Chaparral will play Temecula Valley.
Photos by John Carpenter