The Vista Panthers showed they are a force to be reckoned with tonight, as they beat the Poway Titans on Titan turf. Vista now improves to 2-3 in the Palomar League and 3-5 overall, while Poway falls to 2-2 in league and 3-5 overall. Ironically, the last time these teams met, Poway won 21-7, but Vista reversed the outcome this time and came away with the 21-7 victory.
It seems that the Panthers finally found their rhythm tonight as they played well on both sides of the ball. Their defense held the powerful Titans to just one TD, while their offense spread the wealth as three different Panthers scored.
Although it was Poway who was on the scoreboard first after senior T.J. Elkinton’s 40-yard QB keeper, Vista quickly responded. Sophomore slotback Desmond Taua turned on his wheels for a 61-yard touchdown run to tie the game 7-7.
In the third quarter, the Titans had some shining moments but they were not able to find the back of the end zone. Instead, it was the Panthers who did just that, as Nicholas Stormo ran the ball up the middle for a 21-yard TD run that put Vista on top. In the fourth quarter, with just three minutes left on the clock, Vista shut the door on Poway when Vavega Sialoi made a 26-yard touchdown run to make the score 21-7 Panthers.
Vista will look to keep the momentum rolling when they host on Westview next week for another important conference matchup. Meanwhile Poway will look to bounce back in a home conference game against Ramona, who is currently ranked first in the Palomar League. Tune in to PPR on KUSI every Friday night at 10:30pm to keep up with all the best highlights and recaps of games throughout the county.
PREVIEW: Week 9 of the Prep Pigskin Report takes us to Poway High School, where the Titans will be hosting the Vista Panthers under the Friday night lights. It will be a vital Palomar League matchup as both teams will look to move up in the conference rankings, with playoffs quickly approaching. Poway is currently 3rd in the the Palomar standings with a league record of 2-1 and an overall record of 3-4, while Vista is 6th with a league record of 1-3 and an overall record of 2-5.
The Titans, led by first-year head coach Scott Coats, are coming off a a hard-fought loss to Westview last week, where just one point made the difference in the 37-36 overtime thriller. Prior to that game, Poway had two straight wins against Del Norte and Mt. Carmel. In the Palomar League, Poway trails just two teams - Ramona and Rancho Bernardo - however they have yet to play both teams. Therefore the next three conference match-ups will be crucial for the Titans, as they seek to build momentum and finish strong in league. That all starts with a solid performance on Friday.
The Panthers, anchored by second-year head coach Dave Bottom, are looking to bounce back from a 24-7 loss against Rancho Bernardo at home last Friday. The week prior, Vista snapped a three-game losing streak by beating Del Norte for their first conference win. In that game, the Panthers finally seemed to find their rhythm with a dominating 52-0 victory. Coach Bottom explained their keys to success: “We curtailed penalties, focused on our assignments, and, in that game in particular, everybody came together as a single unit. We saw benefits from that.” Vista must place special emphasis on these areas, and on limiting mistakes, when they take on Poway this week.
On the Titans’ squad, be on the lookout for the following senior players who can play exceptionally well both ways: FB-LB Garrett Van Nostrand (#9), WR-FS Matt Blackburn (#4), and OL-DL Javier Espinoza (#52). Senior T.J. Elkinton (#1) leads the offense at QB, and had some solid TD passes last Friday against Westview. On defense, look for senior linebacker Donovan Bercasio (#22), who is one of the team leaders in tackles.
On the Vista team, watch for sophomore center & defensive tackle Isaac Tinoisamoa (#59), who was a first-team all-league selection of defense as a freshman. Other offensive players to look for include junior QB Josh Davies (#15), senior RB Nick Stormo (#29), and senior OL Tia Faatuiese (#32). The Vista team has a handful of sophomore starters on both offense and defense, including wide receiver Desmond Taua (#3).
The last time these teams met, Poway won 21-7, at Vista. Poway has posted big point totals in its previous three matches so Vista needs to bring its A-game. Looking ahead to Friday, Coach Bottom said, “Poway is a very good team, their offense and defense is very well coached. So we will try to match them from a technique and fundamental standpoint.”
Kickoff is set for 7pm. Make sure to tune in to the Prep Pigskin Report this Friday at 10:30pm on KUSI for recaps and highlights of this game and more throughout the county, and be sure to follow @RedJacketArmy on Instagram and Twitter.