Blocked Punt Helps Vista Murrieta Defeat St. Augustine

Vista Murrieta High School's defensive line stands in against St. Augustine Friday night. By Daniel Millhouse Under the Friday ...

Vista Murrieta High School's defensive line stands in against St. Augustine Friday night.

By Daniel Millhouse

Under the Friday night lights, Vista Murrieta High School celebrated its homecoming game against St. Augustine High School of San Diego with a 15-13 victory.

Both schools entered the game ranked in the top 100 in the state, so a battle was to be expected. Alumni filled the stands and the student body brought the energy. In what felt like a party atmosphere, the Broncos squeaked by the Saints.

The only score of the second half came from Vista Murrieta’s special teams in the third quarter. With St. Augustine pinned in its own end zone, senior Thomas Goodridge’s punt attempt was blocked by the Broncos’ Brandon Worthy. The ball ricocheted out the back of the end zone, giving Vista Murrieta two points from the safety to put them up, 15-13, for the last score of the game.

"Defensively, we’re playing well right now," Vista coach Coley Candaele said with enthusiasm after the game. "We’re staying in the game."

Kyle Williams returned to the quarterback role this game, going 7 for 13 for 87 yards passing, while rushing for 101 yards on 13 attempts.

When asked whether Williams or Westin Long would be the starting quarterback going into league play, Candaele said, "We’re going to look at films and see what match-up gives us the best chance to win."

After a quick, non-productive possession by St. Augustine to start the game, Vista Murrieta took the ball and struck quickly only three minutes into the first quarter when junior quarterback Kyle Williams took the ball in for a touchdown with a 3-yard run.

The Saints took to the ground, trying to control the pace of the game, and with 2:25 left in the first quarter, junior running back Francoise Sims pounded the ball in for a 1-yard rushing touchdown to tie the game up at 7.

St. Augustine scored again with 2:41 left in the half, when Sims scored his second touchdown of the game on another 1-yard run. Senior quarterback Thomas Goodridge mishandled holding the ball for his placekicker, Mark Ingraham, during the extra point attempt, leaving the score at 13-7.

Within 47 seconds, Williams ran the ball 43 yards for a touchdown to tie up the game at 13. Vista Murrieta missed its opportunity to take the lead when the point-after attempt was shanked left by senior kicker Austin Richardson.

The second half of the game was dominated by both defenses. The Saints tried to wear down the Broncos’ defensive line with a continuous barrage of rushing by Francoise Sims, who rushed the ball 40 times for 116 yards overall in the game. Even with the assault by the Saints running, the Broncos were able to stay strong and prevent St. Augustine from scoring again in the game.

Next week, Southwestern League play begins. Vista Murrieta (3-2) will face Great Oak (4-1) of Temecula at home.

Coach Coley Candaele addresses his team after Friday night's victory.

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