Vista Rallies From 24 Points Down to Stun Tesoro, 28-27

Above, Vista Murrieta tight end Garrett Long catches a pass from quarterback Kyle Williams and crosses the goal line with the game-tying t...

Above, Vista Murrieta tight end Garrett Long catches a pass from quarterback Kyle Williams and crosses the goal line with the game-tying touchdown as time expires Friday night. Below, Jared Gallegos kicks the PAT with no time left on the clock to give the Broncos an amazing comeback victory.


By Sierra Trujillo


The Vista Murrieta High School football team made one of the most dramatic comebacks in its history Friday night, beating Tesoro High 28-27 with a touchdown on the final play of the game after trailing by 24 points at halftime of its second-round CIF playoff game.

After forcing two turnovers for touchdowns in the third quarter and scoring again in the fourth on a touchdown pass from Kyle Williams to Jamie Nunley, the Broncos suddenly needed only a touchdown and the PAT to win the game. That became a possibility when they got the ball back with less than two minutes remaining.

Vista started its final drive with a trick play -- a double pass from Williams to senior tight end Jamie Nunley, then from Nunley to senior wide receiver Colin Baker for 27 yards.

The Broncos moved the ball to the 3-yard line with eight seconds remaining in the game. On first-and-goal, Williams threw an incomplete pass into the end zone, which left time for one final Vista play. Once the ball was snapped, Williams threw the ball to wide-open junior tight end Garrett Long for a 3-yard touchdown. With the clock at zero, the Broncos' Jared Gallegos kicked the PAT for the win.

"We just trusted our training, we just trusted our gut and we just knew what we had to do and it was just business from there," said Williams, with tears in his eyes, of the final seconds of the game. "It’s just a beautiful thing; I’m speechless."

With this dramatic win, the Broncos move into the semifinals of the CIF West Valley Division playoffs and will play at Upland High School next Friday.

The game started off slowly for the Broncos, with only one first down conversion in the first half -- during their first possession of the game. By halftime, Williams had completed only one pass and the Broncos trailed the Titans, 24-0.

"I told [the team] that Tesoro played a great half," said coach Coley Candaele. "Exactly what we do to teams, they did to us. The nice thing is, we got another 24 minutes to play. We’ve been a second-half team ... all we need is one play, one good thing to go our way and we’re back in the game."

The locker room talk must have helped the Broncos, because although the Titans received the second-half kickoff, they had their first three-and-out of the game and were forced to punt. Dwayne Johnson of Vista blocked the punt and returned the ball for the Broncos’ first touchdown of the game.

The Broncos’ defense struck again on the Titans' next possession of the third quarter, with junior defensive back Jalen Russell forcing a fumble and running the ball back to the end zone for an 80-yard touchdown.

"We had to get back to playing Bronco football," said Williams. "We came out slow, really undetermined with no purpose. We made some adjustments and we just played."

By the end of the third quarter, the Broncos trailed by only 10 points. After Williams threw an interception during the Broncos’ first possession of the fourth quarter, spirits were low. However, Vista was able to hold Tesoro to another three-and-out, and the Broncos scored a touchdown on their next drive, which had started on their own 9-yard-line.

"We kept on fighting, kept on fighting through that adversity and it was tough on us," said Candaele. "We kept on battling and finding a way."

Quarterback Kyle Williams kept the Broncos alive with his quick feet and instincts in the second half.

The Vista Murrieta defense stops a Tesoro ballcarrier short of the goal line on this play in the first half.

Helmets were raised in celebration after the amazing come-from-behind victory.

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Vista Murrieta High School 8441771871905824895

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