Rancho Bernardo Broncos 47, Del Norte Nighthawks 7
In a game that has become a heated inter-league rivalry, Rancho Bernardo (8-0, 4-0) extended its win streak to 18 games this week as they defeated the visiting Del Norte Nighthawks (4-4, 1-3), placing the Broncos tied for ninth longest win streak in CIF history. The playoff implications were high as Rancho Bernardo needed this win to protect their undefeated mark in league. It was truly a night for celebration as Rancho Bernardo celebrated not only their senior class, but a victory as well as they shut out the Nighthawks, 47-7.
Matt Araiza sailed the ball out of the back of the end zone to kick off the game. Followed by a QB sack from senior Matt Roehrig, the Del Norte Nighthawks were not able to gain their footing on their first drive. On the Rancho Bernardo drive, Mark Salazar, making a comeback appearance for the first time in over a month of being out on injury, connects on a pass to senior running back Milan Grice, who tiptoes the line and puts the Broncos on the 6 yard line. On the following play, Grice found his way in to the end zone with ease, putting the score at 6-0. Milan Grice would go on to score three touchdowns and have 18 carries for 119 yards in the game. Salazar was welcomed back finding multiple receivers in their next drive, including senior wide receiver Christian Baker, Milan Grice, and senior running back Kaelan Pestano, who would then scamper down to the 4 yard line. With a flag on the following play knocking the Broncos back to the 9, Salazar found Pestano again who would leap up and over a Nighthawk defender before somersaulting into the end zone to bring the score to 13-0. On their following drive, the Broncos would make their way down the field once again where Matt Araiza would sail yet another flawless kick through the uprights. Score at the end of the quarter, 16-0.
Another Araiza field goal would start the second quarter off, to put the score at 19-0. On the DN drive, a Nighthawk pass was tipped off by Jordan Kowitz and intercepted by Rancho Bernardo’s Jackson Murdock. RB’s attempt to capitalize on their turnover was cut short, as Del Norte answered with an interception of their own by senior Michael Morales. Unfortunately the Nighthawks were unable to take advantage of the swing in momentum, giving the Broncos back the ball where Grice would then bull through the end zone for his second touchdown, now bringing the score to 26-0 at the end of the half.
Coming back from the half, Pestano was able to get untracked early, returning the ball all the way down the field for an impressive 77 yard touchdown run, putting the score at 33-0. It was in the third quarter where Del Norte was able to put some point on the board with a 5 yard pass from Jake Moore that finds a Nighthawk receiver in the end zone. Del Norte 7, Rancho Bernardo 40. Rancho Bernardo would have the last words though, scoring one final time as QB Christian Lewis takes to the air, finding senior wide receiver Tyler Holcomb lonely in the end zone. Final score, 47-7. Shout outs go to special teams as well as the Bronco defense who would only allow 7 points, 1 interception, and 2 sacks.
In what was a crucial game for Rancho Bernardo, the Broncos continue with their now 9-0 flawless record and look forward to a very big game with league-rivals, Poway. Del Norte will go on to face Ramona next week at their home stadium. Catch the highlights of the game on the PPR at 10:30pm.
PREVIEW: At this point in the season, the CIFSDS Power Rankings mean everything and every game counts. This week, the undefeated Rancho Bernardo Broncos (8-0, 4-0) will face off with league rival, Del Norte (4-4, 1-3) in what has the potential to be a heated cross-town feud. In a game that may appear to have limited value in league and division standings, with the Power Rankings updated every week, this game will have major impact for both teams.
In their so far flawless season, Rancho Bernardo, currently ranked #2 in the Division 1 Power Rankings, have defeated teams like Eastlake, Mt. Carmel, and Mission Hills. Even without the assistance of senior quarterback Mark Salazar, the Bronco offense has been able to find their stride successfully and dominate this season. Senior Milan Grice has led the Bronco ground game with an impressive 12 touchdowns and 961 rushing yards in his eight games. If you’re looking for players to watch, junior Malcolm Ross-Turner has had some impeccable receptions with 500 yards this season and 7 touchdowns. Senior Ramon Colon is a reliable Bronco both offensively and defensively, leading the defensive with 80 total tackles this season.
On the opposing side, we’ll find the Del Norte Nighthawks who hope to improve their standings, as they sit at #8 in the Division 3 Power Rankings. Del Norte is coming off of a tough loss to Mt. Carmel last week 24-14, but have defeated teams like Fallbrook and Westview. The Del Norte offense will be led by quarterback Jake Moore who has 1092 total passing yards and has completed 88 of his 152 attempted passes. Although Moore has a variety of capable receivers, he often connects with senior Anthony Ullrich, who has 369 receiving yards, and junior Ty Anderson, with 306 receiving yards. Look out for Scott McKirdy on both offense and defense who has racked up 122 rushing yards and 45 total tackles.
The Broncos will need this win to protect their undefeated mark in league and should not look past Del Norte in anticipation for next week's big match-up against undefeated Palomar League rival, Poway. Kick-off is at 7pm at the Bronco Stadium. Catch the highlights on the Prep Pigskin Report at 10:30pm.