MURRIETA – After a two-year hiatus, the Southwestern League championship is back at Vista Murrieta as the Broncos defeated crosstown rival Murrieta Valley 35-21 on Thursday.
Vista Murrieta quarterback Robert Coleman threw for four touchdowns and ran for one score, and the Broncos’ defense kept the high-powered Nighthawks’ offense in check, ending Murrieta Valley’s two-year hold atop the league standings.
The defense for the Broncos (8-2, 5-0) intercepted Murrieta Valley quarterback Hank Bachmeier three times and recorded five sacks in holding the Nighthawks (6-4, 2-0) to 21 points below their season average.
“Our defense was resilient,” said Vista Murrieta first-year coach Eric Peterson. “But hats off to Murrieta Valley. They are a great, physical team that just wouldn’t go away.”
Bachmeier did throw two touchdowns in the contest. The first touchdown, a 9-yard strike to Emilio Valencia in the second quarter, was Bachmeier’s 153rd of his career and broke the CIF Southern Section record for most career touchdown passes.
Coleman gave the Broncos a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter on a 23-yard touchdown pass to Alex Hill, but the Nighthawks answered with an 11-play, 80-yard drive as Bachmeier scored from the 1 to tie the game 7-7.
Vista Murrieta then scored on its next two possessions to take a 21-7 lead. Coleman connected with Rickie Johnson on a 34-yard score and hooked up again with Hill, this time from 9 yards out.
Trailing 21-13 at the start of the second half, the Nighthawks drove to the Broncos 46-yard line and on fourth-and-1, Bachmeier was sacked by Peni Masiva.
Five plays later, Coleman scored on a 3-yard run, giving Vista Murrieta a 28-13 lead.
The Nighthawks cut the lead to 28-21 late in the third quarter when Bachmeier found Jordan Murry sprinting down the sideline for a 97-yard touchdown.
The Broncos increased their lead to 35-21 as Coleman threw another touchdown pass to Johnson.
The Nighthawks had two more chances to score, but Bachmeier was intercepted by Hunter Escorcia, who had all three interceptions on the night.
“Our defense can definitely carry us in the playoffs and our offense just needs to do what it can do,” added Peterson.
Coleman completed 7 of 12 passes for 122 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 151 yards on 27 carries. Bachmeier ended the night 14 of 31 passing for 288 yards and two scores.