Defense, Special Teams Make Difference for Vista, 42-18

Vista Murrieta quarterback Kyle Williams races past the Lakewood defense in the second quarter. Two weeks ago, Vista Murrieta High Schoo...

Vista Murrieta quarterback Kyle Williams races past the Lakewood defense in the second quarter.

Two weeks ago, Vista Murrieta High School junior Kyle Williams became a hero when he replaced injured starter Wes Long and played his first game ever at quarterback in a one-point win over Downey High. Last week, he played a solid game in a one-touchdown loss to a highly-ranked Del Oro team on the road.

But Williams is, after all, a converted wide receiver thrust into the spotlight. As much potential as he has, Williams sometimes will need all the help he can get.

Friday night was one of those times.

Williams ran for a touchdown and led the Broncos to a sluggish 14-6 first-half lead before defense and special teams took over in the second half of a 42-18 win over Lakewood in Vista's home opener.

"He struggled a bit," coach Coley Candaele (right) said about Williams, who completed just 4 of 13 passes. "He's a wide receiver playing quarterback. He had a great game last week and he struggled this week. You're going to have your hot spells and cold spells. Right now, we're going to live and die with him and see what he can do."

Candaele said Long continues in his recovery from an ankle injury and he doesn't want to rush the junior back into action. Meanwhile, Williams will be given time to mature at the position.

"Wes is week to week," Candaele said. "We're trying to to get through games without him playing so he can make a 100 percent recovery. If we had to put him into a tight game, we'd put him in right now. But we don't want to take a chance of him being out for another 3-4 weeks."

Candaele didn't have to consider that move once the Broncos got going in the second half. On the opening possession of the third quarter, the Broncos marched downfield on a 56-yard drive capped by Seth Acda's 3-yard touchdown run.

Moments later, Broncos defensive back Dwayne Johnson (left) came flying through the Lakewood offensive line to block a punt, returning the loose ball 25 yards for a touchdown. After the extra point, Vista Murrieta suddenly had a 28-6 lead.

Earlier in the game, Johnson blocked a PAT attempt.

"We're trying to find ways to get him around the ball," Candaele said. "He's a very good athlete and a kid you can trust."

The Broncos' defense held Lakewood on the ensuing possession, forcing another punt. This time, Williams returned it 31 yards for a touchdown and a 35-6 lead. The rout was on.

Running back Cole Dubots led Vista Murrieta rushers with 57 yards and a touchdown. The Broncos finished with just 47 yards passing but, as it turned out, an easy victory.

"We started playing Bronco football," Candaele said. "Punt returns, defense and field position ... we kept our offense off the field for a while. That's kind of how we're going to have to be right now until our quarterback feels more comfortable."

Next Friday, the Broncos are home once again to face Orange Lutheran.

Broncos senior running back Seth Acda gains big yardage on a second-half play.

Both Vista Murrieta wide receiver Colin Baker (3) and the side judge signal touchdown as Seth Acda dives across the goal line.

Dwayne Johnson blocks Taylor Dunlop's PAT attempt in the first half. He also returned a blocked punt for a touchdown.

Vista defensive lineman RJ Robiskie pulls down Lakewood's Jaylen McDuffie early in the game.

The Broncos' mascot joins in with the student section in cheering on their team.

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