Rancho Bernardo Broncos 59, Del Norte Nighthawks 14
In their first Palomar League matchup of the season, the Rancho Bernardo Broncos stampeded their rivals, the Del Norte Nighthawks, 59-14.
The Rancho Bernardo defense turned in a dominant performance, as they racked up three sacks, three takeaways, and two fourth-quarter scores to help the Broncos secure the win.
Del Norte capitalized on a couple of mistakes by the Broncos’ offense and jumped out to an early lead.
Two huge touchdown passes, including an incredible 69-yard catch-and-run score from Alex Moore, gave the Nighthawks a 14-0 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Unfortunately for the visitors, Rancho Bernardo circled the wagons in the second quarter, and the Del Norte lead was short-lived.
Bronco wideout Jackson Carpenter made an acrobatic snag for 30 yards at the start of the quarter, setting up the home team’s first score of the game.
After a rushing touchdown by quarterback Noah Morris and an improbable 30-yard touchdown grab by senior receiver Angelo Ducksworth on the Broncos’ next two drives, a late field goal put Rancho Bernardo ahead 24-14 going into the halftime break.
Rancho Bernardo was in control the entire second half, and their defense ensured any comeback effort from Del Norte would be unsuccessful.
There was a barrage of Bronco touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including defensive scores by Jackson Carpenter and Dylan Smith.
Running back Dallin Dunn capped off Rancho Bernardo’s 59 unanswered points with a 33-yard touchdown run.
Rancho Bernardo quarterbacks Noah Morris and Zeke Payne had a combined passing statline of 10-for-16 for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Tahj Martin finished with 28 carries, 117 rushing yards, and one touchdown.
Both teams enter a crucial Week 6 with a 3-2 record. Rancho Bernardo’s homecoming week will culminate with a game against El Camino. Del Norte hopes to bounce back next week with a home game against Westview.
The Rancho Bernardo Broncos (2-2) will host their rivals, the Del Norte Nighthawks (3-1), on Friday night. Emotions will be running high in the first conference matchup of the season, and Del Norte is eager to avenge last year’s 38-0 loss.
Rancho Bernardo is coming off of a tough 10-7 defeat against Point Loma, but it was a game in which their defense was impressive throughout. Despite surrendering the deciding touchdown late in the fourth quarter, the Broncos defensive unit racked up 6 sacks and 2 takeaways last week.
The Broncos’ fast and aggressive defense is highlighted by all-around playmaker Jonny Tanner, who currently leads the team in tackles, interceptions, and receiving yards. Look out for the senior standout on both sides of the ball, as he figures to have a big impact as a wideout and defensive back. The Rancho Bernardo offense features senior running back Tahj Martin, who enters the game averaging 6.1 yards per carry and 114.3 yards per game. He, along with Tanner, is expected to be a major focus in the Broncos offensive scheme.
Del Norte enters Week 5 after a gutsy, nail-biting 17-16 win over La Jolla last Friday. The Nighthawks have been kings of the fourth quarter over the last two weeks: they’ve won their two outings by a combined four points. Del Norte will take wins any way they can get them, and they will also continue leaning heavily on star running back Manai Hazlett. Though he’s only a sophomore, Hazlett has quickly proven his ability to dominate at the varsity level. He is averaging 160 rushing yards per game and over six yards per carry through the the first four weeks, to go along with his four rushing touchdowns.
For scores and updates throughout the game, follow the PPR on Twitter @RedJacketArmy. For post-game highlights, tune in to the Prep Pigskin Report on KUSI at 10:45pm.