Valley Center Jaguars 26, Vista Panthers 7
Neither the Vista Panthers nor the hosting Valley Center Jaguars reached their numbers Friday in terms of their respective averages of points scored in a game, but for fans paying attention to this one, there are really only five numbers (or sets of numbers) that mattered in the end: 26-7; 1,764; 7; 1; and 30.
In order, these numbers represent Friday’s final score in Valley Center’s favor; the updated total rushing yards for Valley Center’s star senior running back Mateo Sonohui; the seeding number awarded to Valley Center’s next opponent, Mira Mesa; the number of games the Jaguars have left to win before earning a spot in the San Diego Section’s Division II playoff championship; and the number of minutes the Panthers had to endure on the bus back home to Vista after a tough and unexpectedly blowout-style loss.
The score is on the list for obvious reasons. This was a blowout. Vista only managed its solitary score in the final moments — literally, with 2 seconds remaining on the clock — of the game. The second number on the list is a primary reason for why that was — the why and the how in this blowout. Sinohui was expected to be a big part of this game, but he delivered more than anyone could have asked, scoring all four Jaguars touchdowns and spattering several lengthy runs in between to amass 221 yards through the game on 35 carries, lifting his season rushing yards total nearer to 1,800 than 1,700. Sinohui even managed to help the Jags pull off a double-reverse in the second quarter — being the second of four young men to touch the ball after the snap and before quarterback Rikki Mazzetti launched a 41-yard pass to Tuupash Turner deep in Vista territory.
That pass led up to Sinohui’s 16-yard run into the end zone that would be his second score, by the way — just in case you were wondering.
During the fourth quarter, fans could be heard joyfully but cautiously looking forward to the potential week ahead: Mira Mesa was beating Poway late in the game, they said. Well, that score held up, too, and instead of facing a higher-seeded Poway team on the road next week, the Jaguars — seeded No. 3 in their bracket — get to host one more playoff game this season against the lower-seeded Mira Mesa Marauders — seeded No. 7. That leads to the 1 — one game standing between the Jaguars and a chance at the section’s championship game.
Finally, it’s probably not important to get too detailed in the significance of the 30-minute ride home for the Panthers Friday. Suffice it to say, it must have felt like much longer.
Stay tuned to the 20th season of the Prep Pigskin Report for another week to see how the Jaguars and other Week 13 victors fare. Catch it one last time starting at 11 p.m. next Friday night on KUSI.
Football fans making their way to Valley Center this week to catch the Jaguars’ hosting of the Vista Panthers might be wise to invest in a comfortable pair of shoes for standing, because sitting might be something they won’t be doing much of come Friday. That’s because these teams know how to score — a lot.
If only one of them had an average points-scored throughout the regular season of 35 or more, that would make for an interesting game to watch and several chances for rising from the bleachers and cheering. Here, both teams — which each finished the regular season 7-3 — have exceeded an average of 35 points scored each game. If only one of these two teams had scored 40 or more points in half of its regular season games, that would make for some potentially exciting football this Friday. Here, both teams have hit that score total at least five times during the regular season — Vista, in fact, hit it six times, and then scored 42 last week against The Bishop’s School in the first round of these San Diego Section Division II playoffs.
At this point, it doesn’t seem so much a question of which of these teams will come out scoring, but rather, which will outlast the other.
Expect Vista to stay low to the ground and grind out rushing yards throughout the game, with running backs David Flores, Desmond Taua and Brian Kelly — all juniors — leading the way. Combined, the three have rushed for more than 2,600 yards on the season. Kelly has led the bunch with 1,066.
Valley Center plays a very different game. Expect Jaguars quarterback Rikki Mazzetti to seek out his favorite receiver, Tuupash Turner, early and often, and for the Jaguars’ leading rusher, Mateo Sinohui, to keep the Panthers defense guessing with regular runs interspersing the air attack. With Mazzetti and Turner’s pass-receive connection for 894 of Mazzetti’s overall 1,657 pass yards on the season, and Sinohui’s 1,543 rushing yards, it’s hard to see how these three seniors won’t give Valley Center the advantage of a more well-balanced, adaptable offense in this second-round playoff match-up.
Either way, this one’s not looking like one to miss. Catch which team cashes in — and playoff scores and highlights from around the county — by tuning into the Prep Pigskin Report starting at 11 p.m. Friday.