San Jacinto hands Murrieta Mesa its first loss, 33-23

Murrieta Mesa quarterback Jeff Miller finds running room in Friday's game against San Jacinto. Photo by Corinna Root By Tim Sahar Aft...

Murrieta Mesa quarterback Jeff Miller finds running room in Friday's game against San Jacinto.
Photo by Corinna Root

By Tim Sahar

After dominating Montclair and Palm Springs over the past two weeks, the Murrieta Mesa High School Rams ran up against one of the bigger bullies in town in the San Jacinto Tigers Friday night and lost a 33-23 decision.

It didn’t seem the Rams (2-1) had a real answer to San Jacinto quarterback Isiah Bolding and running back Eddie Guerrero, who ran the ball for 120 yards.

The game started out extremely physical and low scoring. Later on, Mesa picked up the slack by playing with more aggression and energy. The Rams took the lead on a 13-yard touchdown run and a 31-yard pass from quarterback Jeff Miller to Giovanni Sanders, giving them a 15-12 lead.

Shortly after, Miller was sacked and fumbled on a play in which San Jacinto's Ryan Marty returned the ball 80 yards for a touchdown, giving the Tigers an 18-15 lead heading into halftime.

The Rams did not get into the end zone again until the tail end of the fourth quarter.

San Jacinto (3-0) slowed down the Rams’ star running back, Thompson, who finished with 106 yards and 1 touchdown a week after a 5-touchdown performance.

"Sometimes you learn a lot from losing; the ultimate goal is to make the playoffs," said Mesa coach Darrel Turner on his team’s first loss.

The Rams never gave up, though. Led by Miller’s 29-yard pass to Sanders followed by a 6-yard touchdown pass to Sanders, they cut San Jacinto’s lead to only 10.

However, the next time San Jacinto touched the ball, the Tigers never looked back, finishing the game with three crucial game-ending first downs.

The Rams started off their season playing three straight home games and will now travel to Valley View, San Ysidro and Temecula Valley in three straight road games.

"I want to see how we bounce back. That’s the key," Turner said.

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