In a surprising turn of events, the Valley View Eagles dominated the field against the San Gorgonio Spartans, 31-14, in the Division 5-AA south bracket title game. Both teams entered the field Friday with 11-3 records, only one moved on.
“We wanted to win it all. We practiced pretty bad throughout the week, working lightly… we underestimated them. They wanted to win it just as bad as we did and at the end of the game, they beat us,” San Gorgonio running back Xzavier Leslie said after the game.
Valley View took control of the field early on in the game, forcing two turnovers from the Spartans in the first quarter and taking two touchdowns themselves. The Eagles’ offensive lines broke holes into the Spartan’s defense, allowing running backs Dwight Brown and Justin Keeling slip through and make serious yardage.
“Our line [was our biggest strength], they took control of the game and did a hell of a job. I was a bit nervous but after the kick off the nerves wore off, you’re just playing football, just like any other game,” said Robert Heiermann.
San Gorgonio started off the second quarter re-assuredly, as quarterback Kaleb Hayes connected a 72-yard pass to Tyreque Jones for a touchdown, 14-6. The extra point was no good.
The Spartan defense came out and attempted to hold down the Eagles from scoring. They kept them from passing the 22 yard line. At 4th and 22 however, the Eagles kicked in a successful field goal, strengthening their lead, 17-6.
San Gorgonio’s next possession was short-lived, as Valley View defensive tackle Josh Johnson intercepted the ball with 4:30 left until halftime. Valley View also failed to keep possession of the ball and Keeling fumbled the ball, San Gorgonio recovered the ball.
San Gorgonio picked up the pace in their next drive, as Xzavier Leslie moved down the field and Hayes threw multiple receptions to Larenzo Mcmillan. At the five yard line, Leslie ran in the ball for a touchdown. Jones caught a reception for the two-point conversion. At halftime, Valley View held on to their lead, 17-14.
Keeling started off the second half running in for a touchdown barely two minutes into the half, 24-14. Valley View’s defensive line continued to cause the Spartans to turnover possession and held them from scoring for the rest of the game.
Valley View wide receiver Heiermann solidified the Eagles lead at the end of the third quarter, 31-14, weaving through the Spartans’ defensive line.
San Gorgonio continued to falter throughout the fourth quarter, unable to score and barely holding off Valley View from moving down the field.
“Valley View came in and punched us in the mouth. We didn’t stop them tonight. I probably should’ve done a better job of preparing the kids. It’s the first time in this position [state game]. Let’s hope we get better,” said San Gorgonio head coach Ron Gueringer.
The game ended with a final score of 31-14. Valley View will be facing off against Bishop O’Dowd in Oakland for the Division 5-AA state title game.