Excitement was high as the Bronco stadium got ready to kick off the season with the Eastlake Titans traveling North to take on Rancho Bernardo.
Although a non-league competition, this match-up had heavy implications for both teams. RB was hoping to continue their success from last year as the Titans looked to rebound from their previous season. It was Eastlake who was not disappointed, coming out with the 1-0 record after defeating the Broncos 21-3.
First quarter opened with Rancho Bernardo getting in some dramatic plays early in the game. An Eastlake drive resulting in multiple first downs was shut down as running back Christian Long deflected a Titan pass. Senior Matt Araiza was in the perfect position for a Bronco interception. Rancho Bernardo was able to capitalize, putting their only points on the board that they would have in the entirety of the game in the following drive. The Broncos were able to push themselves to the Titan 20 yard line where a Matt Araiza kick would find the goalposts for a field goal, putting the score going into second quarter at 3-0.
Unfortunately for the Bronco crowd, their lead would not hold as the Rancho Bernardo offense was unable to get themselves going. An RB drive was cut short as Eastlake quickly found their footing. A 36 yard Titan toss by senior quarterback Daniel Amon would find Micah Pietila-Wiggs at the corner of the end zone. With a PAT, the score is 7-3.
The Titan defense continued to hold tough, resulting in another four short RB downs. In Eastlake’s ensuing drive, junior running back Parker Merrifield shook off multiple Bronco defenders to bring the Titans down to the 44. Riding that momentum going into the following play, a pass from quarterback Daniel Amon finds sophomore Darius Delos-Reyes who runs to daylight for 41 yards straight into the end-zone. Rancho Bernardo then cut the Titan celebration short, blocking their PAT. Score, 13-3 going into halftime.
Going into the second half, Eastlake attempted to keep their momentum going as much as they could despite the quarter being led by a series of penalties. The Titans were able to fit in one more Play-of-the-Week-worthy touchdown to finalize their scoring of the night. On their fourth down, senior running back Bernard Coe finished the night with an impressive 80 yard interception return for a TD.
Eastlake’s season is looking promising as they go into their game next week against Hilltop High, who has a matching record of 1-0. Rancho Bernardo will travel to Oceanside to face off against El Camino.
As we tackle the opening game, there will be many highly anticipated match-ups.
Some expect to continue their momentum following last season, as others hope for a turn-around. This week includes both, as the Eastlake Titans travel North to take on the Rancho Bernardo Broncos in attempt to rebound from their previous 2-9 record.
Last season, the Broncos defeated Eastlake and will try to continue that storyline. Although a non-league competition, still the South Bay / North County rivalry will make this a competition over bragging rights and decide who will kick the season off with a win.
Rancho Bernardo is coming off of a successful run, ending with an 11-1 record. RB went on to make the second round of playoffs before being defeated by powerhouse program, Helix High School.
The Broncos are looking to discover themselves after graduating a senior class of 40 who went on to win a State Championship, multiple League Championships, and an overall 44 victories with only four losses in their high school football careers. Rancho Bernardo is going into the season with only three starters returning to the field.
One of these returners is Quarterback Christian Lewis #5, who led the Broncos undefeated 4-0 while Mark Salazar’s was out on injury, including an impressive victory against open division team, Mission Hills. RB will also return senior wide receiver, #2 Malcolm Turner.
Last year’s Silver Pigskin finalist, senior running back Milan Grice,largely contributed to the Bronco success. Grice finished the season with an impressive 1,463 yards. Only time will tell if anyone will fill his shoes on this young team.
The Bronco overall offense looked strong against Torrey Pines in last week’s scrimmage. Rancho Bernardo looks to have a tough schedule this season, taking on four teams in the top 20 rankings.
The currently ranked #26 Eastlake Titans have been a perennial top team and figures to improve dramatically over their previous season after losing a heart-break 22-20 to Mt. Carmel in the first round of CIF playoffs.
On the offensive side the Titans will stick to their running game with an incredibly strong offensive line, anchored by 335 lb 6’5, William Dunkle #76. The strength of the offensive line hopes to compensate for the inexperience of their new quarterback, who will debut at the upcoming Rancho Bernardo game. Eastlake will be returning more starting players than Rancho Bernardo, including wide receiver #2 Jalyn Jackson.
The season will kick off with this highly-anticipated match-up at the Bronco stadium, Friday night at 7pm. Don’t forget to tune into the Season 19 premiere of the Prep Pigskin Report at 10:30pm to catch all the highlights of the game.