The Yucaipa High football team, led by a school-record 327 yards rushing and five touchdowns by Emmanuel “JoJo” Barajas, won its homecoming game on Friday, Sept. 17. The Thunderbirds defeated University City of San Diego 37-28.
The victory was the fifth without a loss for coach Justin Price’s team.
Barajas, as of Monday morning, Sept. 20, ranked second in the nation in rushing with 1,125 yards, behind only Hubbard High of Ohio’s Timothy Caffey (1,328 yards). Barajas also has 15 touchdowns.
University City, led by talented quarterback Samuel Cooper IV, led 21-17 at the half.
But the second half belonged to Yucaipa as Barajas ended a 63-yard drive with a 1-yard run to put the Thunderbirds ahead 24-21.
Timothy Monaghan then picked off a Cooper pass that led to Barajas’ 4-yard TD run and a 30-21 Thunderbird lead.
University City closed to within two points on Cooper’s 42-yard TD pass to Granfors. But then Yucaipa put the game out of reach with an 80-yard march to Barajas’ fifth TD, a 7-yard run around left end on which Barajas reached the ball inside the pylon as he was tackled near the goal line.
“He’s a dog that keeps running the ball for us,” Monaghan said of Barajas. “It feels good to have him on our team. It really allows us to spread out the offense.”
Yucaipa has a bye this weekend before opening Citrus Belt League play on Friday, Oct. 1, at Redlands.
Beaumont turnovers costly
Beaumont lost for the first time, dropping a 44-36 decision to visiting San Jacinto.
The Cougars lost three second-half fumbles and surrendered too many yards on the ground. David Myers rushed for nearly 150 yards and Malachi Brown ran for three TDs as San Jacinto (4-1) rallied from a halftime deficit. Beaumont led 22-14 at the break.
“I thought the one really critical part of the game came when we threw a slant-and-go and it was just overthrown,” Beaumont coach Jeff Steinberg said. “If it had been complete it would have been in the end zone. Then we ran a toss play and got tackled and fumbled.”
San Jacinto scored on its first three possessions of the second half. The pass-catching of Vincent Holmes was important as he caught six passes for more than 190 yards and a score.
Beaumont started well in this non-league game, scoring first on a 5-yard TD pass from Christopher Cooper to Anson Kraut.
The Tigers tied the game but Beaumont surged ahead again with a 1-yard TD run by Armando Cuellar.
Myers’ long TD run tied the game, but then Beaumont scored for a third time in the first half, on Cuellar’s 7-yard run.
Cooper threw for nearly 340 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver Gabriel Nunez had nine catches for more than 145 yards and a score. Kraut caught eight passes for more than 140 yards and two TDs. Cuellar chipped in with more than 60 yards on the ground and two scores.
“Win or lose we thought the last non-league game we’d have some great take-aways” Steinberg said. “There are plenty of things we saw that we need to fix and I think [playing San Jacinto] was better than playing a weak team.”
ACA routs Ganesha
Running back Hudson Cloar rushed for 252 yards and four touchdowns in Arrowhead Christian’s 54-13 victory on Thursday, Sept. 16, against Ganesha.
Jace Edwards contributed four TD passes and one rushing score. Steven Van Dam led the defense with 11 tackles, including two quarterback sacks.
Aquinas edged by Upland
Aquinas fell to host Upland 7-6 in a non-league game.
Upland struck first with nine minutes left in the first half on a touchdown pass by Sean York. The Highlanders led 7-0.
Aquinas scored with five minutes left in the game on a 2-yard run by JoJo Solis. The extra point was missed. The Falcons had the ball twice more before the end but could not advance it into Highlander territory.
The Falcons (1-3) open Ambassador League play at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24, against Riverside Notre Dame.
Blackhawks win again
Citrus Valley cruised to a 35-0 victory Friday, Sept. 17, against host Orange Vista.
Junior Brockton Lium had a monster game for Citrus Valley (4-0), playing quarterback, tight end, safety and doing the punting. Lium and three other Blackhawks were pressed into service at QB because Hunter Herrera had his tonsils removed.
Lium’s 40-yard TD pass to Jordyn Harris gave the Blackhawks a 7-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the first quarter. That was all they needed but they also got: a 6-yard TD run by Myion Walker, a 6-yard TD pass from Mikey Counce to Walker, and TD runs of 6 and 35 yards by Jeremiah Claiborne.
Citrus Valley coach Kurt Bruich said Herrera’s tonsils have plagued him for a while and that he’s lost 25 pounds during the season. He missed all of the Orange Vista game and his status for visiting Carter on Friday, Sept. 24, is uncertain.
Lium rushed for 54 yards, caught six passes and completed 2-of-3 passes while also booming some punts.
Another Blackhawk who had a big game, Bruich said, was defensive lineman Joseph Zelaya. Zelaya, the son of former Kaiser coach and current Citrus Valley secondary coach Phil Zelaya, had several sacks and acted as a spy on Orange Vista’s athletic QB.
Spartans fall to Yellowjackets
San Gorgonio lost its Hall of Fame Game, 34-12 to visiting Colton.
Colton (3-1) scored two touchdowns in each of the first two quarters to lead 27-6 at the half. Both teams scored once in the second half.
Devontay Evans had a pair of short scoring runs for San Gorgonio.
“We didn’t make plays,” Spartans coach Rich McClure said. “We threw the ball well at times but didn’t make some catches. Or we had key blocks (that needed to be made) and we didn’t make them.”
The Spartans (2-2) are scheduled to be at Arroyo Valley (1-3) at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24. But the last Arroyo Valley game was canceled.
Redlands blanked by Palm Springs
Redlands lost to host Palm Springs 40-0 in a non-league game.
The Terriers moved the ball some but were intercepted three times. Redlands was also the recipient of some turnovers but could not find the end zone.
Palm Springs led 19-0 at halftime and 33-0 after three quarters.
REV comes up short against Titans
Redlands East Valley trailed Temecula Valley by 32 points in the third quarter before losing 35-27.
REV (2-3) had four fourth-quarter TD passes, the last of which came with three minutes left.
Laviel Pickett caught seven passes for 142 yards and three TDs. Freshman QB Izaiah Holley threw four TD passes.
“Our kids fought back and showed a lot of resilience against a quality team.” REV coach Gavin Pachot said. “I’m proud of the fight left in these Wildcats. Our kids play with no fear. As coaches we need to be better at putting them in positions to be successful for four quarters. That starts with me.”
REV has a bye this week and then opens CBL play at 7 p.m., Oct. 1, against Beaumont at Citrus Valley High.
Cajon rolls against Grossmont
Cajon was too much for Grossmont of El Cajon as the Cowboys swept to a 39-7 victory.
The Cowboys open CBL play at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, against visiting Citrus Valley.
Trojans turn back Banning
Banning rebounded nicely from a 52-point loss to rival Beaumont to hang in there against Yucca Valley. But the Trojans got the victory, 15-6.
Marco Lopez scored Banning’s only TD with a 50-yard interception return.
The loss was the third without a victory for coach John Tyree’s team – although the veteran coach saw some glimmers of hope.
“We lost six fumbles but we had all our guys and this is the first time we were able to run our offense,” said Tyree, who complimented the play of quarterback Solomon Nicolas and fullback Erec Smith.
Banning is at Coachella Valley at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24.