Coach Greg Ireland and his Nighthawks celebrated a 35-15 victory Friday night in their non-league season opener against a very tough Temescal Canyon team.
The Murrieta Valley team ran the ball over, around and through the Titan defense and into the end zone on the opening drive. The defense also held tough. Looked like an easy opening night for the home team.
Mental mistakes and penalties crushed the Nighthawks' first half momentum. A "roughing the kicker" penalty against Murrieta set up the first Titan touchdown scored by Dawson Lindeman. The Titans followed with an onside kick and recovered in Nighthawk Territory. Sean Trimble hit Marcus Kirkpatrick for a 32-yard touchdown pass. As the first half ended, MVHS trailed 7-12 as the Titans missed both extra point attempts.
The Nighthawks were a different team in the second half. After a blown punt attempt, Jacob Augustin drove the ball into the Titan end zone on 4th and 1 to give the Hawks the lead 14-2.
Damon Nolan’s game-changing interception and 87-yard return to the Titans 3-yard line set up another Nighthawk score. Quarterback Andrew Blake found Aaron Paisley for a 4-yard touchdown pass. Nighthawks lead 21-12.
Temescal countered on it’s next drive with a field goal, cutting the lead to 21-15.
The Nighthawks answered with their own 65-yard drive. This time it was Brandon Iacobellis who caught the defense by surprise and scored on a 11-yard run to give Murrieta Valley a 27-15 lead.
With less than seven minutes left in the game, middle linebacker Mike Almodovar took a Temescal Canyon fumble 20 yards for a touchdown and sealed the victory for the Nighthawks.
Murrieta’s defense allowed only three points in the second half. Almodovar, Terin Solomon, Michael Payne, Jordan Silva and Captain Jacob Macias lead the charge. The offensive line with Jerry Boggs, Jack James, Christian Vinsky, Grant Hatch and Tanner Mott looked impressive and will give Blake and company what was lacking on last year's team.
In other Friday night football action, Murrieta Mesa Rams traveled to Fontana to take on Jurupa Hills, winning 55-19. Read about the Rams' game on The Californian.