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Vista Murrieta strikes twice on special teams in win over struggling Los Alamitos

08/31/2019, 4:15pm PDT
By DAN ARRITT

NORWALK — Vista Murrieta spotted some soft spots when watching film on Los Alamitos during the week and the Broncos exploited them Friday night, returning two blocked punts for touchdowns in a 24-12 victory at Cerritos College. 

Vista Murrieta coach Eric Peterson said he didn’t want to miss any big-play opportunities like the Broncos did in a 38-35 win against the visiting Griffins last season.

“Special teams is a big part of what we do,” Peterson said. “It’s a designed plan based on what you see and what you do. They do this, we do this. They do that, we do this.” 

The Griffins not only need to take a long look at their punt team, but their offense as a whole. For the second straight game, they were held to one offensive touchdown, which came in the final minute.

“It’s a brand new offense with different reads and once we get a couple concepts, then we’ll have more success,” said Los Alamitos coach Ray Fenton. “Right now, we’re just not going through our progressions and that’s hindering us going anywhere.” 

Fenton replaced senior quarterback Cade McConnell with freshman Malachi Nelson to start the second half, but Los Alamitos still struggled to get in the end zone. 

Like they did last week in a 36-10 loss at Torrey Pines, the Griffins scored the first points, this time on a 98-yard fumble return by Cochese Bradshaw, but mistakes plagued them the rest of the way. 

Vista Murrieta free safety Hunter Escorcia had two interceptions in the first half and blocked the first punt before returning it for a touchdown. Escorcia has committed to Washington State.

“There’s a reason why he’s a Pac-12 commit,” Peterson said. 

Los Alamitos put together its best drive of the first half, but senior running back Oscar Brown V sustained a knee injury on a 1-yard run. Two plays later, Escorcia outjumped a Los Alamitos receiver in the end zone for his second interception. 

“Our trainer is not optimistic,” Fenton said of Brown’s injury. 

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