Tough Competition in the Talented Southwestern League where there are No Favorites Each Week
By Jennifer Sevilla
Pre Season rankings had Murrieta Valley in first followed by Great Oak, Vista Murrieta, Murrieta Mesa, Temecula Valley and Chaparral. At the end of pre-league play Chaparral was 5-0, Vista Murrieta, Temecula Valley and Murrieta Mesa were 3-2, Murrieta Valley was 2-3 and Great Oak finished 1-4.
The “Any team can win” has become a bit cliché over the years, but in this league any team can win. In what is largely considered one of the top Leagues in the Southern Section The Southwestern league is loaded with talent from top to bottom. No team can be overlooked and its a battle every week, these kids often played with each other growing up and just don’t want to loose to one another. It’s truly a gauntlet week to week and the records coming into the game just don’t mean much in this league.
After two weeks of league play, the two time defending league champions Murrieta Valley are 2-0 with victories over Temecula Valley and Chaparral. The Nighthawks were taken to the brink by Temecula last week, but outscored Temecula 28-3 in the fourth quarter to pull away the victory.
Murrieta Valley quarterback Hank Bachmeir is playing at an ultra high level right now and makes the right plays when they need him. The likely game to decide the league champions may be week 10 when Murrieta Valley plays Vista Murrieta at home in a battle between Bachmeirs’ potent offense and the Vista Murrieta’s superb defense.
Vista Murrieta is 2-0 with wins against Murrieta Mesa and Chaparral. The Broncos are back to full strength with Robert Coleman back under center. The Vista Murrieta defensive front seven is fast and physical and could be the difference for them down the road. After two years of coming in second place to Murrieta Valley, the Broncos appear eager to make a challenge to be top dog. They will have the chance on October 25 at Murrieta Valley.
Chaparral is currently 0-2 and after playing two high caliber division 1 teams, Chaparral looks to rebound against Murrieta Mesa this week. Temecula Valley and Great Oak are on the horizon. The Pumas have a solid core of players and a hungry defense that is eager to get the team back on track.
Chaparral also boasts this years best home stands, with loud standing room only crowds ,and boy they get loud. This weeks matchup could decide who picks up the 3rd place spot in the Southwestern league, followed by two intercity game to decide the Temecula City Champs.
Murrieta Mesa has played solid all year and have a nimble quarterback in Jose Ayala who could make plays with his feet and cause defense coordinators to stay up late at night. Their defense has quietly been doing good work all year and kept a high scoring San Jacinto offense to only 12 points during week three action. Mesa is also hungry to get back on track and understands the significance of this weeks game versus Chaparral.
Temecula Valley under new head coach Bert Esposito is currently 4-3. This matches their 2015 win total and is more than the last two seasons combined. They are 1-1 in league, boasting a win against Great Oak for the first time since 2010. The Golden Bears lost to Murrieta Valley last week which they fought hard to the very end.
Great Oak is having hosting Murrieta Valley this week and is coming in at 1-6 on the season and 0-2 in league. They have losses against Temecula Valley and Murrieta Mesa with Murrieta Valley, Vista Murrieta and Chaparral coming up. The Wolfpack has struggled offensively, being shut out twice and only averaging 7 points a game. Defensively they have given up over 27 points a game.
Southwestern League Standings
Vista Murrieta 2-0
Murrieta Valley 2-0
Murrieta Mesa 1-1
Temecula Valley 1-1
Great Oak 0-2
Photos by Jennifer Sevilla, Mike Clary, Rudolfo Castillo, John Carpenter, Willie Shippen & Alicia Salcedo