The Nighthawks Break a 7-Year Losing Streak and are now Focused on the Southwestern League Crown
Vista Murrieta’s iron grip on the Southwestern League Crown was severed Friday night as the Nighthawks defeated cross town rival 42-37 Friday night. The Broncos had rolled off 35 consecutive victories against Southwestern League opponents in their 7 year streak. The last team that beat mighty Vista Murrieta was MVHS, way back in November of 2008.
It looked like the Broncos would continue the streak early in game. They scored on their first possession when senior Karson Greeley tossed Khalil Shakir a pass and the junior darted 30 yards into the end zone. The Broncos got the ball back on their own 20 yard line when MV quarterback Hank Bachmeier threw an interception.
Greeley was driving the Broncos for another apparent score when the Nighthawk defense struck. Senior defensive back Tanner Hoyt intercepted Greeley and raced 38 yards for a touchdown to tie it all up, The Murrieta Valley came up with a huge stop when they denied the Broncos on a fourth and 1 at the Vista 47 yard line.
Bachmeier took the Nighthawks to the 11 yard line, and senior Austin Bacher blew past the Vista Murrieta defenders on the next play to make it 14-7. Then, in a blink of the eye, the Broncos scored twice before the quarter ended on runs by senior Cole Dubots (3 Yards) and a 12 yard keeper by Karson Greeley after the Nighthawks fumbled on the ensuing kickoff. Suddenly it was 21-14.
The Nighthawk defense once again came up with big pays In the second quarter, MV recovered a fumble at midfield. Senior running back Lika Palmer led the charge downfield and would score on a 1-yard blast up the middle. Vista would threaten again as they took the ball from their own 20 to to the Nighthawks 8 yard line. Murrieta Valley came up with another fumble recovery to end the drive and keep the score at 21 apiece as the half ended.
The second half belonged to Palmer. He scored his second TD in the third quarter after senior Kane Page nailed a 35 yard field goal that had put the Broncos ahead 24-21. He also scored twice in the final quarter on runs of 46 and 9 yards to seemingly put the game away 42-30.
Back came the Broncos. Greeley drove his team from his own 20 into Nighthawk territory. Senior Javelin Guidry, running for Dubotts who was injurred and left the game in the third quarter, scored on a 18 yard run to pull Vista Murrieta within 5.
The Nighthawks next drive stalled on the Broncos 29 yard line and Vista Murrieta took over on downs. Once again, Greeley headed his team towards the end zone. On a fourth-and-2, Greeley tried to keep drive alive with a short pass. Nighthawks senior Maurice Bell knocked down the pass and gave the ball and the victory to Murrieta Valley.
Greeley completed 3 of 24 passes for 164 yards for the Broncos. His brother Kade caught 4 passes for 60 yards. Shakir ended the night with 2 grabs for 36 yards. Dubots carried the ball 16 times for 190 yards and had the Nighthawk defense scrambling before leaving the game.
Bachmeier only threw 18 passes, completing 13 for 156 yards. Bell hauled in 7 passes for 63 yards, senior TJ Griffin 3 for 34 and Marquis Spiker caught 2 passes for 55 yards.
Palmer carried the Nighthawk offense, rushing 30 times for 178 yards. “This is the game that we really wanted to win” said Palmer. “We got Anthony Pardue and Lut Fedler back on the O-Line, and that made all the difference”.
The Nighthawks will face the Pumas at Chaparral next week. Vista Murrieta heads to Murrieta Mesa to take on the Rams.
Photos by Mike Clary