The Nighthawks will end the regular season at home Friday night as they host the Temecula Valley Golden Bears. Murrieta Valley varsity football is coming off an emotional come-from-behind victory over the Pumas from Chaparral High School.
The Nighthawk win broke a six-year losing streak to the Pumas, and was Coach Greg Ireland‘s first victory against Chaparral, noted Ireland after the win.
"We are not big. We are not fast. We are not strong. We have the hearts the size of Texas," Ireland said.
Well, the 8-1 Nighthawks have talent, too.
Murrieta Valley’s offense came alive at the expense of the Pumas last Friday. Senior quarterback Andrew Blake threw for 267 yards and four touchdowns. He’s looking forward to getting the offense well tuned before the playoffs begin.
Defensive standout and wide receiver Terin Solomon caught three of Blake's touchdown passes. Alex Montion hauled in the other. They will be looking to wreck havoc on the Golden Bear secondary this week.
Hector Bautista is Blake’s go-to guy in the clutch. Bautista is a sure-handed receiver who has kept many Nighthawk drives alive this season. Aaron Paisley, Taylor Rood and Nick Chapman are Blake’s other receivers.
Jacob Augustin spearheads the Nighthawk running attack. He has seen many more holes and opportunities to advance the ball this year. His offensive line, dubbed the “filthy five” has been a key reason for Murrieta Valley’s success this year.
The “filthy five” consists of Christian Vinsky, Grant Hatch, Kyle Underwood, Jack James and team captain Jerry Boggs. Running backs Jayvy Ragudo and Michael Robles also benefit from the holes the five create.
The Golden Bears are 1-8 overall and 0-4 in the Southwestern League. Their only win this season was against Lakeside. Temecula Valley has allowed 358 points this season.
The Golden Bears score an average 24 points, run for 165 yards and pass for another 185 yards per game. However, they will be without their starting quarterback, Kyle Plantier who dislocated his shoulder last week.
Junior Derrick Hooks will start as quarterback against the Nighthawks. Look for Hooks to be throwing to Griffin Doran, Brock Dudley and Brendon Marchand.
Marchand is also the Bears' principle running back. Ryan Smith, Joshua Cortez and Garrison Flores round out the running attack.
The Golden Bears will be facing one of the best defensive units in the League. The Nighthawks have only allowed 136 points in nine games.
Michael Payne, Jordan Silva, Martin Gallegos, Michael Noone, Omar Mohamed and Joshua Van Hulzen make up the Nighthawks' outstanding defensive line. This is the defensive line that shut down mighty Chaparral in the fourth quarter last week.
Nighthawk linebackers DeSean Bullock, Kody Thornburg, Jacob Macias and Mike Almodovar Jr. are right behind them and seem to swarm and swallow up opposing backs and receivers.
The Nighthawk defensive secondary consists of Weston Brown, Lafayette Waters, Damon Nolan and Terin Solomon.
They have been successful at not only defending against the pass, but have caused devastating turnovers for opponents that have changed the outcome of the game throughout the season.
When asked about the Golden Bears, Coach Ireland said: “We have great respect for Temecula Valley. They are our oldest rival in the Valley. They are extremely well coached and their athletes play hard…(It) should be a well fought game."
Come out and support the Nighthawks as they face Temecula Valley and attempt to extend their record to 9-1 as they head into CIF Playoffs. Game time is at 7 p.m. at Nighthawk stadium where Murrieta Valley will be celebrating Senior Night.