Coach Greg Ireland's Nighthawks reached down deep and pulled out a devastating fourth quarter performance to end Chaparral High School six-year winning streak over Murrieta Valley.
Quarterback Andrew Blake had an exceptional performance as he led his team to victory over a stunned Puma team that collapsed in the fourth quarter.
The Pumas came out strong early. Chaparral’s Justin Harris ran for two touchdowns and Chris Stratton caught a 20-yard scoring pass from QB Kellen Mataafa to give the Pumas a 21-0 lead early midway through the first half.
The Nighthawks staged their first comeback of the night, scoring 21 points in the second quarter to tie the Pumas 21-21 at the half. Blake hit Terin Soloman for the first of Solomon's three touchdown receptions.
Blake then drove the Nighthawks down the field where Jacob Augustin ended the drive with a 5-yard scoring run. Defensive End Jordon Silva tied the score at 21 with a fumble recovery and touchdown with four minutes to go in the Half.
Chaparral started the second half with the intensity and determination to finish off the Nighthawks on their home field. Mataafa drove the ball on the Puma’s first possession for the go-ahead score. Harris ran for his third touchdown of the game to put Chap ahead 28-21.
Puma place kicker Weston Salerno extended the Chaparral lead to 31-21 early in the fourth quarter with a 39 yard field goal.
Murrieta Valley then stunned the hometown fans with the second comeback of the evening with a run of 20 unanswered points to wrench victory away from paws of the Pumas.
Blake threw for three touchdowns in the final quarter, two to Solomon and one to Alex Montion.
The Nighthawk Defense shut down the Pumas in the fourth quarter, including a key fourth-down conversion with under two minutes to play on the Murrieta 29- yard line. Murrieta Valley swarmed all over the Pumas late in the game to extinguish any hope for a Chaparral comeback. Mike Almodovar and Michael Payne sacked the Puma QB twice as the game ended.
Blake ended the game with 267 yards and four touchdowns. Wide Receiver Hector Bautista kept key drives alive with clutch third-down receptions, including a 44-yard catch in the first half that led to a Nighthawk score.
Ireland was very pleased with his teams performance.
"They have been resilient all year," Ireland remarked. "We are not big. We are not fast. We are not strong. We have the hearts the size of Texas."
The CIF Play-off bound Nighthawks end their regular season schedule next week against the Golden Bears of Temecula Valley at home next week.