Week 1: Mt. Carmel Sun Devils 22, Valley Center Jaguars 21

The Mt. Carmel Sun Devils (1-0) were able to hold off the Valley Center Jaguars (0-1) on Friday night, winning a closely fought game 22-21.

After forcing a punt on the Sun Devils’ first possession, Valley Center was able to push the ball down the field with little resistance. With the ball in the red zone, the Jaguars’ Frank Stehly finds the end zone from two yards out on a quarterback keeper. Later in the quarter, after the Mt. Carmel defense forces a three-and-out; the Sun Devils’ Ty Virgin blocks the Jaguars’ punt attempt and returns it to the house. That brought the score to 7-7 at the end of the first.

At the top of the second quarter, another special teams blunder puts Valley Center at a disadvantage. The ball goes over the punter’s head, and he is forced to throw the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety, giving the Sun Devils a free two points. Mt. Carmel got the ball back and was able to make a few big plays down the field and into the red zone. That’s when junior quarterback Carson Taumoepeau found senior receiver Jake Ventimiglia for the 3-yard touchdown pass, bringing the score to 15-7 Mt. Carmel. Not to be outdone, Valley Center drives right back down the field and scores on another short touchdown run from Frank Stehly. The Jaguars convert the two-point conversion to tie the game at 15 going into the half.

The Sun Devils came out of the gates out in the third quarter, pushing the ball down the field in just a few plays. Taumoepeau finishes the job himself this time, running the ball into the end zone coming off of a well-run play action bootleg. Valley Center’s offense struggled to get anything going in the third, as Mt. Carmel’s defense was stingy with giving up first downs. The Sun Devils’ defense forced multiple three-and-outs in that quarter alone.

In the fourth, it was much of the same for Valley Center’s offense. That is, until there was about two and a half minutes left in the game. Trailing 22-15 still, the Jaguars are able to get all the way down into scoring position with around a minute to go. Quarterback Frank Stehly finds the end zone once again for his third rushing score of the night. With the score 22-21 Mt. Carmel, Valley Center decides to go for the two-point conversion and the win. The Sun Devils come up with the huge stop to hold on to the lead. Valley Center nearly recovers the onside kick, but Mt. Carmel falls on top of the ball to end the game.

Mt. Carmel starts the season on a high note, after a tough year last season, and will head to Granite Hills (1-0) next Friday to take on the Eagles. Valley Center hosts the Otay Ranch Mustangs (1-0).

PREVIEW – Season 21 of the Prep Pigskin Report returns this Friday as the Valley Center Jaguars (0-0) are heading to Mt. Carmel (0-0) to take on the Sun Devils.

Valley Center is coming off a pretty successful season last year, going 8-4 (5-0 in league play) and outscoring their opponents by an average of 22.5 points per game. Their season came to an end against Mira Mesa in the 2018 Division II CIF San Diego Section Football Championships, losing 35-32 in a closely fought game. Now, the Jaguars are looking to the future. The Jaguars leaned heavily on running back Mateo Sinohui last year for a big chunk of their offense. With Sinohui graduating, the team is hoping senior tailback Tristan Garcia can help fill the void. The team is only returning three offensive starters and four defensive starters. Quarterback Frank Stehly will have the control over the offense, and you can expect junior wideout Keano Hernandez to be one of his favorite targets.

Mt. Carmel struggled through most of last season, finishing just 1-9 (1-4 in league play). The team was young last year, being led by a team of mostly juniors. They also had a sophomore in at quarterback. But now Carson Taumoepeau is now going into his junior season, with a full year of being the starting quarterback under his belt. Look for him to continue to build chemistry with senior wideout Bryan Benavente, who was one of Taumoepeau’s favorite targets last season. You can also expect the Sun Devils to put a better emphasis on the defensive side of the ball this season. Don’t be surprised to see senior defensive back Adam Robles flying around the field all year. As a junior, Robles led the team in solo tackles (40), total tackles (62), and tackles per game (6.9).

For highlights, tune into the Prep Pigskin Report on KUSI Friday at 10:45pm. To get live updates throughout the game follow us on Twitter @RedJacketArmy.

Categories: Final 4, This Week’s Games