Murrieta Valley wins playoff opener easily, 63-34

By Tim Sahar The CIF football playoffs officially kicked off Friday night and Murrieta Valley High School trounced St. Bonaventure 63-3...

By Tim Sahar

The CIF football playoffs officially kicked off Friday night and Murrieta Valley High School trounced St. Bonaventure 63-34 in a Division 2 game.

These were two offensively dominant teams that have defined their success through fast-paced ball movement all year long. Murrieta Valley's Lika Palmer continued his magnificent running, rushing for 224 yards with three touchdowns on 22 carries. Quarterback Hank Bachmeier also played calm and steady, completing 9 of 12 passes for 125 yards and four touchdowns.

The Bachmeier to Maurice Bell connection was in full swing early on. Bachmeier found Bell in the end zone for big-time scores with the game close in the first half.

"He’s my best friend," Bell said of Bachmeier. "He’s really busy with schoolwork and has with a 4.0 GPA. Outside of school, he’s my best friend," Bell said of his relationship with Bachmeier.

St. Bonaventure (6-5) looked like the hungrier team early in the game, as the Cougars kept on executing in the ground game with running back Chuck Wick. The first score of the night came on a fake hand-off to Wick as quarterback Mason Quandt fooled the entire Nighthawks defense to run it in for the 2-yard score.

Early on, the Cougars were able to hold off Murrieta Valley’s aggressive defensive front and blitz to constantly find extra throwing time for Quandt. He had an impressive outing, going 27 of 32 for 347 yards and three touchdowns.

It was a back and fourth showdown in the first half, with the Nighthawks having a 28-27 lead at intermission. Once the second half began, it was as if a light switch turned on for Murrieta Valley. Suddenly, their defensive intensity was apparent, they were getting to the quarterback and they allowed no yards after catch from any receiver in the third period.

"We just executed. There was no secret or mystery," said MVHS head coach George Wilson on his team's monumental third quarter.

As Murrieta Valley’s defense started to make critical stops, the offensive unit poured in touchdown after touchdown. This time, it was mainly their other tag team duo of Palmer and Austin Bacher on the ground game. In addition, Bachmeier initiated a few runs of his own – going 28 yards up the middle and 17 yards down the sideline for two extra touchdowns.

St. Bonaventure had no answer whatsoever and started getting sloppy with the football. Quandt threw careless passes along with an interception to Kelly Coleman, as well as a 78-yard pick-6 to AJ Larini late in the fourth.

"They did what they’ve been doing all year long. They’re playmakers and they made plays throughout the entire game consistently. That’s what we expect and that is what they expect," Wilson said.

Murrieta Valley (9-2) advances to its second straight quarterfinal, where it will play at Norco High School, which defeated Citrus Hill, 35-32 Friday night.

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