MURRIETA – The Vista Murrieta football team has had Chaparral’s number over the past decade.
It looked like Chaparral was going to put an end to a 10-game losing streak, but Vista Murrieta summoned up some late magic Friday night.
Vista Murrieta erased a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter by scoring twice in the final four minutes to pull out a 34-33 victory in a Southwestern League thriller.
The decisive touchdown came with 25 seconds left on the clock, as Brady Jones found Jalen Boston wide open in end zone for a 13-yard touchdown. The play came on fourth-and-6.
“I was surprised the safety went with Sean (McDermott),” Jones said. “That had to be a mistake because Jalen was all alone. I knew as soon as I threw it, Jalen would catch it.”
Chaparral scored on back-to-back possessions in the second half to take its first lead of the game. Caron Tyler scored on a 1-yard keeper late in the third quarter, and he added another 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth.
Tyler then connected with Tracy Dobbins for a 17-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter to extend Chaparral’s lead to 33-21.
Vista Murrieta answered back with a 7-play scoring drive on the ensuing possession. Jones hit Ezekial Vestal for a 17-yard touchdown pass. Vista Murrieta’s defense forced a punt, setting up the winning drive.
“Somehow. Someway. Find a way to get it done,” Vista Murrieta coach Eric Peterson said. “It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to finish strong and found a way to win.”
Special teams has long been an important part of Vista Murrieta’s success, and those units gave Vista Murrieta a double-digit lead before the offense took its first snap.
Sean McDermott could have called for a fair catch as he raced forward to field a punt in the opening minutes. He didn’t, and he shot through the middle for a 50-yard touchdown.
Two minutes later, Vista Murrieta’s special teams unit blocked a punt, and Jalani Jefferson picked up the ball and went 8 yards into the end zone to help extend the Broncos’ lead to 14-0 with 8:36 left in the first quarter.
Chaparral needed a big play to stop the early bleeding, and the Pumas got it as Dobbins took a screen pass and sprinted for a 70 yard gain. Chaparral’s nightmare start continued, however, as a fumbled snap was recovered by Vista Murrieta at the 1.
Tyler continued to find Dobbins for big plays in the first half. The duo connected for a 38-yard gain, which set up the Pumas’ first score of the game – a 3-yard run by Matthew Majel.
Vista Murrieta’s defense — led by lineman Landon Gallagher, shut down Chaparral’s running attack in the first half, holding the Pumas to 44 yards on 25 carries.
Chaparral cut the deficit to a point with a scoring drive late in the first half. Tristen Ramirez recovered a fumble at the Vista Murrieta 39, and the Tyler scored on a 1-yard keeper with eight seconds left in the half.
Vista Murrieta came up with another big play on special teams, as Jefferson blocked the extra-point attempt to endure the Broncos took a 14-13 lead into the locker room.