UPDATE 10 p.m.: Vista Murrieta clenched a semi-final playoff win over Upland 39-18. Check back for full story and photos.
The Broncos are getting ready to face their toughest opponent of the year as the Highlanders come into town for the CIF Southern Section Inland Division semi-finals tonight.
Upland (12-0) has been outstanding over the past 12 weeks and comes into the game having dominated and destroyed their first two playoff games, and Charter Oak 51-13.
Vista Murrieta (7-5) is facing a Highlander team that has scored 45 points per game this year. Coach Tim Salter has this team finely tuned as Upland averaged 160 yards passing and 263 yards running on their way to their perfect record. They are ranked No. 2 in the state.
Junior quarterback Nate Romine threw for 1,437 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. A threat on the ground, he also ran for 256 yards.
Running back Dontra Abron Jr. averaged 7 yards per carry on his way to running for a total of 1,354 yards. Wide receiver Kenny Lawler had 37 catches for 777 yards. Marques Mosley had a combined 540 yards on the ground and in the air.
Highlander Christian Powel had 13 sacks and 41 tackles to lead this tough, physical defense. Joe Mathis added 8 sacks while Bennie Robinson led the Highlanders with 42 tackles. This is a defense that has been improving as the season progressed.
Coach Coley Candaele’s Broncos have won both of their playoff games convincingly. Vista Murrieta totally and .
The Broncos are averaging 37 points each time they take the field. The offense has passed for 119 yards and run for 239 yards per game. Quarterback Nick Stevens threw for 1,036 yards and 10 touchdowns during the regular season. He also ran for 580 yards.
Vista Murrieta is blessed with outstanding running backs. Su’a Cravens ran all over Riverside North last week, putting on a one-man show scoring three touchdowns and running for 201 yards. Aaron Piecukonis and Joseph Brandao provided the rest. They proved to be too much for the overwhelmed Huskies. Vista Murrieta ran the ball 49 times, while attempting only 3 passes.
Coach Candaele brings one of the toughest defenses in Southern California into tonight’s contest. The Broncos systematically shut down North and their prolific offense last Friday night. Their defensive line overpowered the Huskies and controlled the line of scrimmage the entire game. Darion Williams and Randy Perez ended the only potential Riverside North scoring drives with interceptions.
Only the Huskies’ outstanding back Denzel Foster had limited success against the Broncos gaining 122 hard earned yards.
Game time is tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Come out and support the home team. Word of caution, get there early. The Bronco faithful is not only loud, supportive and energetic, there are lots of them!
--Contributed by Charles Mckee