The Nighthawk Defense once again lived up to its season of dominance Friday night, holding the mighty Broncos from Vista Murrieta to 23 points.
The Bronco offense was shut down in the second half as Murrieta Valley only allowed a field goal in the third quarter; this without the presence of their two star defensive linemen Michael Payne and Jordon Silva who received automatic one-game suspensions for evictions in the Murrieta Mesa game last week.
The Broncos, ranked No. 2 in Riverside County, No. 5 in the state and 70th nationally, were surprised by their cross-town rival’s performance.
The fate of the game remained in doubt until late in the fourth quarter when Nighthawk miscues stalled key drives. Murrieta Valley ’s defense held the VMHS to a season low 23 points.
For the Broncos, Nick Stevens passed for 167 yards with one touchdown. He also rushed for 88 yards.
Aaron Piecukonis ran for 82 yards and Su'a Cravens added another 78. He also had 62 yards receiving.
Under constant pressure from a much larger defense all night, Andrew Blake went 14-31 for 161 yards. He passed for two touchdowns, one in the first quarter to Jack Magpuaso and then to Brandon Iacobellis early in the third.
Sacked five times, Blake also threw two interceptions and was sacked five times.
Jacob Augustine rushed for 82 well-earned yards.
New faces in the Nighthawk defense played exceptional games. The trio of Jacob Macias, Anthony Iannuzzi and Gabriel Reyes proved to be efficient replacements for the evicted starters. They fortified the D-line with Noah Johnson and Sam Allen.
Safety Terin Solomon was moved to middle linebacker joining Andrew Hudson and Brandon Finne. Murrieta Valley’s secondary of Kody Thornberg, Charlie McKee, Lafayette Waters, Damon Nolan and De Sean Bullock helped shut down the dominate Bronco offense in the second half.
The win secures Vista Murrieta a tie for the league title and a CIF playoff berth.
The Nighthawks will host Chaparral next week and have also qualified for a CIF playoff spot; there is plenty more football for your local high school football teams.
In other area games played Friday, Calvary Murrieta shut out Arrowhead Christian, 22-0, and Murrieta Mesa lost a hard-fought, double-overtime game to Temecula Valley, 30-24.
--Contributed by Charles Mckee
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