Late Fumble, Rancho Score Results in MVHS Defeat

By Alex Sims Murrieta Valley High's football team was two minutes away from going 4-0 on the season Friday night when a play that mig...


By Alex Sims

Murrieta Valley High's football team was two minutes away from going 4-0 on the season Friday night when a play that might've sealed a victory instead led to a 34-28 loss to visiting Rancho Cucamonga.

The Nighthawks were leading 28-26 with 2:09 left when defensive back Jaylen Moore intercepted a Rancho pass near midfield. But Moore lost the ball on a fumble, giving the Cougars one last opportunity. With 11 seconds left in the game, the Cougars scored a go-ahead touchdown on a 2-yard run by Aaron Manning.

The Nighthawks started the game with a strong defensive showing, opening with a fumble recovery of the kickoff return. The defense had a strong showing in the first quarter, denying the Cougars the red zone twice and getting turnovers. The offense took some time to get started, however.

While both sides were plagued by penalties throughout the first half, the Nighthawks took advantage of the Cougars' mistakes in the second quarter. Senior Quincy Wimbush had runs of 22 and 15 yards, with the latter resulting in a TD late in the second.

Freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier stood tall when he had to and made wise and athletic plays when necessary. He connected with wide receiver Marquis Spiker twice on the Nighthawks' second drive in the second quarter, once for 19 yards and another for 21 yards. On a QB keeper, he went in for a score to make it 14-0 with 2:10 left before halftime.

But on the ensuing drive by the Cougars, senior quarterback Angel Matute showed poise and drove down the field and scored, making it 14-7. The following kick was muffed by Murrieta Valley and recovered by Rancho Cucamonga. The defense held but did allow a field goal. The halftime score was 14-10 in favor of MVHS.

To start the third quarter, Bachmeier connected with three different players and drove down the field, where a shovel pass to Campbell Sawyers after a botched play resulted in a touchdown, making it 21-10.

The fourth quarter began with a drive that really showed that the freshman Nighthawks QB and his receiving corps are ready for Prime Time. A 69-yard catch and run from Spiker, followed by a 1-yard TD from Wimbish, put Murrieta Valley in good shape late in the game.

"We played a good team tonight, one of the best in our division," MVHS coach George Wilson said. "We led the entire game except the last 30 seconds. I think we played well."

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