Murrieta Valley High School's Nighthawks proved to be a tenacious group of over-achievers last year. Forecasted to win only 3 football games, Coach Greg Ireland worked his magic and took Murrieta Valley to the CIF playoffs for his 4th consecutive season. MVHS finished with a 7-3 record but fell to Upland in the post-season.
This year, with 15 returning starters, Coach Ireland and his team are expected to be a dominant force in the Southwestern League. Ranked 8th in one of the toughest leagues in Southern California High School Football, Murrieta Valley is finally getting noticed. This is a team with experience, speed, and talent. The Nighthawks are ranked among the top 100 in the State.
On offense, the Nighthawks return seven starters. Senior Andrew Blake will begin his third year as the starting Quarterback. Blake will be joined in the backfield by running backs Jacob Augustine and Jayvy Reguto. Augustine is a power running back who punished opposing defenders who tried to bring him down last season.
"He's even stronger and harder to tackle this year," Nighthawk Coach Chris Dyer said."Look for Auggie to have another excellent season."
Dyer said: "Our wide receivers are very quick and talented. "Brandon Iocabellis is a gritty team leader who can make the big game changing plays. Hector Bautista and Taylor Rood are looking really good right now." The Nighthawks also have receivers Alex Montion and Aaron Paisley in the mix.
Quarterback Blake should have more time to execute Coach Ireland's offensive plan book this season. The O Line is another year older, bigger, and more experienced. Although smaller than most offensive lines in the league, last year the young Nighthawk line endured, played tough and has grown into a solid unit. The O Line consists of Juniors Jerry Boggs, Grant Hatch, Christian Vinski and Kyle "the man" Underwood.
Logan Mathews returns to the special teams as the Nighthawk Kicker. Mathews was quite successful as a junior last year and much is expected from him this season.
Anchored by senior safety Terin Solomon, Murrieta Valley has 8 starters coming back on Defense. The Nighthawk Defensive features All League Linemen Seniors Jordan Silva and Michael Payne. (PAIN) looking to wreck havoc on opposing offences. These two defensive linemen where a huge part of last years tough no-name Defense. So was returning senior linebacker Kody Thornburg, who is emerging as a key team leader.
Vista Murrieta transfer student Mikey Almovodar looks to be a key addition to the Nighthawks. He will play Middle LB and join Davis Day, Jacob Macias and De’sean Bullock in the line backing corps.
The defensive backfield has Oregon bound Terin Solomon at safety. He will be flanked by returning starters Lafayette Waters and Damon Nolan. This trio is tough, talented and looking to disrupt and destroy the opposing passing game.
Unlike many high school football programs that have 2-way players, Coach Ireland maintains a 22-starter philosophy. This gives the players more playing time and touches. It also makes the starting 22 more responsible for the team’s success on and off the field. It looks like it works. Coach Ireland’s Nighthawk teams have consistently improved since he took over at Murrieta Valley.
The Nighthawk season begins on August 24 when the Titans from Temescal Valley High School storm into town. Two games later, Murrieta Valley will travel to Alaska. Yes, Alaska, to take on the mighty Crimson Bears of Juneau-Douglas High School, ranked third in the state. Yes, it looks to be an exciting season for the Nighthawks. Come out and support these incredible student athletes. See you at the games. Anyone interested in helping the Nighthawk cause can contact Cathie Gentry at (951) 634-5599, Murrieta Valley High School Football Boosters.