Coach Tony Peralta’s Tigers ran into a Murrieta Valley defense that had only allowed 15 points in four games in this season.
They had three consecutive shutouts. The Nighthawk Defense has created havoc and turnovers and shut down offenses every time it has stepped onto the football field.
Friday night was no exception.
Led by defensive linemen Michael Payne, Jordon Silva, linebackers Mike Almovodar, Kody Thornburg and Davis Day, the Nighthawks shut down Elsinore’s highly ranked and prolific offense.
The swarming mass of the Murrieta Valley defense limited the Tigers to just three points in the first half and nine total in the game.
The Nighthawks forced four key turnovers last night. The first was Safety Terin Solomon’s interception of a Tommy Wilson pass at the goal line.
This was critical, as the Tigers were trying to keep it close and keep it a one- possession game.
Later in the half, Elsinore again fumbled inside the Nighthawk 10-yard line and the ball was recovered by Murrieta Valley, ending another Tiger scoring drive.
Tailing 17-3 late in the 3rd quarter, the Tigers imploded, as the Nighthawks scored three times in 40 seconds to put the game out of reach.
After Quarterback Andrew Blake hit Aaron Paisley for a touchdown to give MV a 24-3 lead, the Nighthawk defense once again rose to the occasion and forced two turnovers.
Lafayette Waters intercepted a Tiger pass and returned it 33 yards into the end zone. On the ensuing kickoff, the Nighthawk kicker Logan Mathews morphed into a linebacker, knocked the ball loose on the tackle, forcing a fumble.
De’sean Bullock scooped up the ball and returned it into the Tiger Red zone. Running back Michael Robles scored to make it 38-3.
The Tigers never recovered and the game was over at the beginning of the 4th quarter.
Murrieta Valley was playing without key starters Brandon Iacobellis
and Jacob Augustine, who were nursing injuries suffered in Alaska.
Replacements Jayvy Ragudo and Robles ran the ball well and each scored touchdowns. Blake also ran for a score. Damon Nolan has turned into a
threat on kick-off and punt returns.
The Nighthawk offensive line was in total control at the line of scrimmage all night long. They consistently opened holes for the running backs while protecting both quarterbacks, Blake and Preston Miller.
Dubbed the “Filthy Five," Grant Hatch, Jerry Boggs, Kyle Underwood, Tanner Mott and Jack James have developed into a very effective unit and a key to Murrieta’s success.
Elsinore’s Allan Stubbs rushed for 111 yards on 24 carries and
caught five passes for 84 yards. Running back Shane Pico was hurt early in the game and was later diagnosed with a potentially season ending injury.
Coach Greg Ireland commented that he didn’t expect his Nighthawks to totally dominate such a great football team like Peralta’s Tigers.
Peralta later took the time to congratulate the Nighthawks at the end of the game and delivered a very inspirational message to the team.
Murrieta Valley will have a bye week as they prepare for league play.
They are undefeated at 5-0 and have only given up 24 points. The offense should be healthy and eager to show what it can do.
Peralta’s closing message to Ireland’s Nighthawks last night was, “focus, concentrate, believe … I know you can win your league."