Saturday, September 28, 2013

Heritage, Now 4-1, Makes it Look Easy in 49-28 Win Over Rialto

Limihai Hifo heads toward the end zone on a 15-yard touchdown run for Heritage Friday night.
Heritage High School's football team cruised toward its bye week before Sunbelt League play opens Oct. 11 with a 49-28 victory at Rialto High Friday night.

Limihai Hifo, Sione Takitaki (left) and Jalen Glover each ran for two touchdowns for the Patriots, who will take a 4-1 overall record into league play following a well-deserved week off next week.

"We still have some things to shore up," said Patriots coach Kraig Broach, "but we took a big step today. Defensively, we improved. Rialto has a lot of skill players, but we handled ourselves well. And on offense, it was neat to see guys like Isaiah Morrow and Jalen Glover get some more playing time. And of course you can always talk about Limihai."

Glover (129 yards rushing) and Morrow (116) had impressive outings with more than their usual amount of carries, and Takitaki was solid as usual. But it was hard not to talk about No. 10.

Hifo rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns, one covering 60 yards in the second quarter. His first score, from 15 yards out, combined with Kyle Hernandez's PAT kick, gave Heritage a 7-6 lead in the first quarter, wiping out a 6-0 Rialto lead.

Hifo (right) virtually did it all Friday night. Switching to a new position of free safety on defense, he had a strong showing on that side of the ball as well. He came up with a couple of booming punts on special teams. And he even took a few snaps at quarterback when starting QB Brett Virgil left the game briefly with a twisted ankle.

"I just do whatever the coach says," said Hifo.

The 5-foot-11, 225-pound senior said he and his teammates thought it might be a closer game. Rialto came into the contest with a 2-1 record, defeating Summit High of Fontana last week.

"After watching the film, we thought maybe their quarterback (Javone Morgan) would make our defensive line tired," Hifo said. "But we learn from our mistakes quick. We still have to clean up things like penalties, but we played pretty well against a good Great Oak team (in a 43-40 loss) last week and we played well tonight."

Penalties denied Heritage some field position but didn't really cost the Patriots much on the scoreboard. They even survived the loss of starting defensive lineman Niko Cornejo-Gomez, who left the game late in the second quarter (left) with what appeared to be a broken leg.

Then there was the defensive play of Limihai's younger brother, Aleva Hifo. He recovered a Rialto fumble and made a big run to set up Limihai Hifo's 60-yard TD run inthe second quarter. Then when a Rialto player inadvertently touched a bouncing Heritage kickoff in the third quarter, Aleva recovered the ball, setting up a 9-yard TD run by Glover moments later.

And at the start of the fourth quarter, Aleva Hifo leaped in front of intended receiver Bryan Williams of Rialto for an interception in the end zone.

Another star of the Heritage defense was linebacker Caleb Marquez. The Menifee 24/7 Athlete of the Week made several key tackles in the first half.

"The bye week is coming at a good time, because we have a couple guys banged up," said Broach, who saw not only Cornejo-Gomez leave and Virgil sidelined briefly, but linebacker McKinley Grant limp off as well.

After taking next Friday off, the Patriots will open Sunbelt League play Oct. 11 against Perris -- Heritage's first home game since the first week of the season.

Aleva Hifo scoops up a Rialto fumble and gains big yardage, setting up a Patriots TD in the second quarter. 

Jalen Glover races for a 23-yard gain in the fourth quarter of Friday night's win.
Heritage quarterbak Brett Virgil was sidelined briefly with a twisted ankle but returned to action.

Boehm Leads Paloma to Wild Victory at Temecula Valley, 49-34

Paloma Valley quarterback Brent Boehm picks up yardage against Temecula Valley in the Wildcats' win.
(Photos by David Stovall)
It turned out to be a bit closer than they wanted, but the Paloma Valley Wildcats had more than enough offense to remain unbeaten at 5-0 with a 49-34 victory at Temecula Valley Friday night.

Quarterback Brent Boehm passed for 209 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two more scores for the Wildcats, who piled up 450 yards total offense. Junior running back Elliott Smith (below) scored two TDs, including a 9-yard TD in the final moments, helping Paloma put away the victory in a game it lead by just eight points (42-34) with 4:58 remaining.

The host Golden Bears (2-2) stayed in the game at that point when quarterback Kyle Plantier hit Griffin Doran with a 14-yard touchdown pass, followed by a two-point conversion. Paloma Valley responded, however, driving 40 yards in seven plays on the next possession, capped by the TD run by Smith.

Plantier passed for 253 yards and four touchdowns, but it wasn't enough for the Golden Bears in this nonleague shootout.

In addition to his 122 yards and two touchdowns rushing, Boehm threw two TD passes to Michael Valencia (27, 38 yards) and one to RJ Benz (11 yards) in the first half for the Wildcats.

Defensive back Felix Bogroff had a game game for Paloma Valley as well, leading the way with 11 tackles.

Touchdown passes by Boehm to Valencia and Benz and PAT kicks gave Paloma Valley a 14-0 lead in the early going, but Temecula Valley fought back. Plantier responded with two touchdown passes to Kumar Kilambi, but two-point conversion attempts failed following both scores, leaving the Wildcats with a 14-12 lead.

Fred Lundy made sure Paloma Valley kept the lead for good on the ensuing kickoff, however. He returned the kick 92 yards for a score, giving the Wildcats a 21-12 lead after the PAT.

After a bye week next week, Paloma Valley opens Sunbelt League play at home Oct. 11 against Elsinore High.

A crowd of Paloma Valley defenders wrap up Temecula Valley running back Garrison Flores.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Heritage Athletes of the Week: Castellanos, Marquez, Chilson

Heritage High School Athletes of the Week (from left): Alejandro Castellanos, Caleb Marquez, Nicole Chilson.
Alejandro Castellanos, Caleb Marquez and Nicole Chilson have been honored as the Menifee 24/7 Athletes of the Week for Heritage High School.

In last week's Sunbelt League cross country meet on the three-mile course at Paloma High, Alejandro Castellanos finished third among all runners with a time of 16:13. The senior is in his third year on varsity and has a personal best time of 15:35, established in the Bulldog Invitational in Hemet last year.

"My goal this year is to get under 15," Castellanos said.

Castellanos worked hard in training during the summer, running miles through open fields near his home. He continues to build endurance during the season. Every Monday, he and his teammates run a half-marathon in training.

"We're out there in the dirt and hills," he said. "I want to succeed and help the school look good."

Caleb Marquez had a big game at strong guard on the offensive line for the Patriots' football team Friday night in a narrow loss to Great Oak. In addition, he came into the game on defense in the closing minutes and made a major impact.

After making tackles on second- and third-down plays, Marquez blocked a punt on fourth down, keeping the game close.

"They put me at nose guard, which I don't normally play," Marquez said. "But they told me I would be a utility player on defense, so I could end up anywhere, and I have to be ready. I noticed there was some really big splits in their line, so I decided to try to get in there."

Marquez, who hopes to earn a football scholarship to play in college, said he is excited about the team's 3-1 start this year.

"We're doing fantastic," he said. "We just need to get started sooner in the game and stay consistent."

Nicole Chilson is the No. 1 singles player for Heritage's girls tennis team this fall. She won both her matches Tuesday in the team's first league match, a shutout victory over Perris. Chilson is captain of the team in her senior year.

She credits much of her success to an improved backhand shot.

"Last year I would avoid the backhand, but now I don't," she said. "Now I have a backhand slice that spins away from you."

Heritage, which is one of the favorites to win the league title, will play host to Temescal Canyon on Thursday.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Paloma Valley Athletes of Week: Paquet, Amador, Benz

Paloma Valley High School Athletes of the Week (from left): Brianna Paquet, Jared Amador, RJ Benz.
Brianna Paquet, Jared Amador and RJ Benz are honored today as the Menifee 24/7 Paloma Valley High School Athletes of the Week.

One of the Wildcat golf team's rising stars is Brianna Paquet. She broke 50 over nine holes for the first time in Paloma Valley's opening league match with a score of 49 and has since improved that to 45. This is only her second year on the team, but she has been playing golf since age 7, when she first took lessons.

"I played there a lot with my grandpa," said Paquet about her team's home course, Menifee Lakes Country Club. "I don't like all the water there, but I've gotten a lot more comfortable with the course. I've been working on my chipping and putting a lot."

Paquet is busy this week. Her team competes in three matches in addition to having a practice round.

Jared Amador competed in his first varsity cross country race last week in a Sunbelt League meet hosted by the Wildcats. Just a sophomore, he finished 11th overall in a race featuring all six league teams.

"Jared balances school, athletics and looking after his younger siblings to help his family," said his coach, Joe Ellett. "He displays excellent character. I am very proud of Jared and look forward to watching his development over the next three years."

Amador spent much of last year and the off-season recovering from a back injury. He looks forward to Friday's meet at Sunny Hills High in Fullerton.

"That's a race I missed last year," said Amador, who was on the JV team then. "I worked hard to get back in shape for this season. I've been eating right, drinking a lot of protein, working on my speed and my kick."

RJ Benz has had a great last couple of weeks for the Wildcats football team. Two weeks ago, he was one of the team's leading tacklers and came up with a key interception in Paloma Valley's 56-12 win over West Valley. Last Friday night, he caught the winning touchdown pass in overtime in a 41-35 victory against Moreno Valley.

"RJ is an outstanding leader both on and off the field and is a huge reason for our success so far this season," said football coach Bert Esposito.

"We know the offense will always be there," Benz said. "Even when we fell behind last week, we knew we could score quickly. Our defense needed to step it up, and they did."

The honorees each received a certificate from Menifee 24/7 and an Athlete of the Week T-shirt from the Pomona Valley athletic department.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Video Highlights: Paloma Valley 41, Moreno Valley 35

Our thanks to coach Juan Merida of the Paloma Valley High School football team for sending us these video highlights of the Wildcats' 41-35 overtime victory over Moreno Valley on Friday night.

Let us know if you'd like to see more of this on our site. We will add captions and/or narration on future videos if there is enough interest. We would also like to have similar video highlights submitted from Heritage High School.

If you have video of any Menifee area sports you'd like to send us, email it to as a .wmv file and we will consider it for publication. Please include in writing your permission for us to publish the video, as well as any information on what is being pictured. You can also send us YouTube links to your videos.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Paloma Valley Storms Back to Knock Off Moreno Valley in OT

Phillip Hauser (82) signals touchdown as RJ Benz falls into the end zone with the winning score in overtime.
As impressive as Paloma Valley High School's football team was in outscoring opponents 181-32 the first three weeks of the season, Wildcats coach Bert Esposito wanted to see what his team would do when the pressure was on.

Friday night, he found out -- getting perhaps a bit more than he bargained for.

Trailing by two touchdowns with eight minutes left in the game, the Wildcats rallied to take visiting Moreno Valley to overtime. In that extra period, quarterback Brent Boehm threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to RJ Benz and the Paloma Valley defense made its best stand of the night, resulting in a wild 41-35 win for the Wildcats.

"We needed a fight, and I knew we were going to get one tonight," said Esposito, whose team remains unbeaten at 4-0. "Overcoming adversity ... we needed this."

From the beginning, there was no doubt that Moreno Valley (2-1) was going to give the Wildcats all they could handle.

First, the visiting Vikings had a size advantage on the line, featuring the likes of 6-foot-4, 305-pound offensive tackle and defensive end Christian Afereti. Second, they had considerable success running the ball outside because of the speed of quarterback Justice Tyler (173 yards rushing) and halfback Amos Murphy (136 yards).

Paloma Valley held on to a 14-7 lead at halftime, but Moreno Valley took the lead late in the third quarter and appeared to have the game in hand with 8:13 left when Tyler ran 2 yards for a touchdown and a 35-21 Vikings lead. Even worse, Paloma Valley's No. 1 running back, Demarco Prewitt (right), was on the sidelines with a twisted ankle after rushing for 85 yards and two touchdowns.

But anyone who knows the offensive firepower of the Wildcats realizes they almost always have a chance to fight back -- especially the players.

"We knew we could come back," said Benz, who caught 5 passes for 50 yards, including the game-winner. "The whole time, we thought, 'We're still in this game.' "

The comeback began on the next possession, when Paloma Valley drove from its own 45-yard line to the Moreno Valley 12, where Boehm hit Michael Valencia with a pass in the left corner of the end zone. Valencia was able to haul in the pass and keep his feet in bounds for the touchdown. Derek Davis' PAT kick brought the Wildcats to within a touchdown at 35-28.

Paloma's defense, which had been pushed around by the bigger Vikings for much of the night, then rose to the occasion. Forcing Moreno Valley into a fourth-and-4 situation near midfield, the Wildcats took over on downs after linemen Kre Webb and Ashton Morgan sacked Tyler for a five-yard loss.

On the very next play, Valencia made a leaping catch of a Boehm pass at midfield (below) and raced into the end zone for a 65-yard tochdown pass play. Seconds later, the game was tied at 35 with 2:27 remaining.

"That's been a clutch play for us all season," said Valencia, who caught 6 passes for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns and had a big fumble recovery on defense. "I knew our line would step up against the big guys. We knew there would be overtime, so coach just told us, 'Don't do anything stupid.' "

Overtime in nonleague games is not mandatory but can be played if both coaches agree to that arrangement before the game. Knowing he and Moreno Valley coach Ted Wadkins had made such an agreement, Esposito felt good about his team's chances of sending the game to OT.

Moreno Valley attempted one final frantic drive to pull out a victory in regulation, but turned the ball over on downs at the Paloma Valley 7. Tyler spiked the ball to stop the clock with three seconds left, apparently thinking it was third down and the Vikings could attempt a field goal. After some confusion and a resetting of the clock, Paloma Valley got off one offensive play before the game went to overtime.

Under high school football overtime rules, each team is given the ball at the opposition's 25-yard line. Teams must continue to pick up first downs or score, or the ball is given to the other team for the same opportunity. Moreno Valley won the coin toss and elected to give Paloma the ball first, so the Vikings would have the last shot.

On the Wildcats' fourth play of overtime, Boehm dropped back from the 7-yard line, found Benz (right) with a pass at the 2, and the wide receiver fought his way into the end zone for a 41-35 lead. Davis' PAT kick was blocked, however, meaning the Vikings could win the game with a touchdown and PAT.

They never came close. Anthony Bereal was dropped for a two-yard loss by Webb on first down, Ruben Colon tackled Joseph Kinny at the 20 after a short third-down pass, and Colon broke up a potential game-tying pass near the goal line on the final play.

"We knew what we had to do on offense," said Boehm, who passed for 227 yards and 4 touchdowns. "But the defense really stepped it up at the end of the game. I'd give them the game ball."

Ruben Colon (32) and Michael Valencia (12) break up a potential tying touchdown pass to Ronald Gaither in OT.

Ruben Colon trips up Moreno Valley's Anthony Bereal in the second half Friday night.

Heritage Comes Up Just Short in Shootout With Great Oak

Heritage receiver Reggie Murphy makes a one-handed grab over a defender for a touchdown in the final minutes.
(Photos by David Stovall)
By Zac Force

Heritage High's football team lost to Great Oak 43-40 Friday night, giving the Patriots their first loss of the season.

The game literally came down to the very last play. After blocking a punt and taking possession, Heritage had the ball with 48 seconds left on the clock and a chance to tie or win the game.

With 28 seconds remaining, quarterback Brett Virgil took off running with the ball and went out of bounds to stop the clock. Great Oak was flagged for a late hit penalty, giving the Patriots 15 more yards and a first-and-10 at the 19-yard line.

After a defensive pass interference penalty on Great Oak, Heritage had the ball first-and-goal on the 9-yard line with only 7 seconds remaining. Virgil looked for Reggie Murphy in the corner of the end zone twice in a row but to no avail. With only 2 seconds left, Heritage lined up to kick a game-tying field goal, but Tyler Baca's kick was blocked by Great Oak defender Anthony Bandong, giving Great Oak the victory.

The total stats for both sides were very close. Heritage had 317 total rushing yards to Great Oak’s 297. Heritage had 199 passing yards to Great Oak’s 169. Limihai Hifo of the Patriots was the number one rusher with 187 yards on 25 carries, including three rushing touchdowns.

Heritage also had an interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter by McKinley Grant and a 16-yard rushing touchdown by Sione Takitaki.

Head coach Kraig Broach said it was an incredibly fun football game.

"You've got to give them credit; they were a high quality opponent and well coached.," Broach said. "It’s fun to play against such a good team."

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Great Oak started with the ball in great field position due to a fumbled punt by Heritage. Great Oak quickly scored, going up 40-33. With just over three and a half minutes left in the game, Great Oak tacked on a field goal to make it a two-possession game, 43-33.

With 3:30 left to play, Virgil completed a 54-yard pass to Matthew Palmer, then quickly rifled off a 25-yard completion to Hifo. Now in the red zone, Virgil escaped a potential sack, throwing a jump ball to Reggie Murphy in the end zone. Murphy made an acrobatic catch to come down with the ball for the touchdown, bringing the Patriots within three points.

Unfortunately for the visitors, they didn't score again. Heritage (3-1) plays its next game at Rialto next Friday night.

Great Oak's Anthony Bandong (5, center) leaps through a pile of players to block Tyler Baca's field goal attempt at the end of the game. 

Heritage quarterback Brett Virgil scrambles for yardage.

The Heritage defense wraps up a Great Oak ball carrier.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Flores Leads Paloma Girls Cross Country Team to Victory

Samantha Flores covered the three-mile dirt course through Menifee in a time of 20:00 to finish first and lead the Paloma Valley High School girls cross country team to victory in a meet involving all six Sunbelt League schools on Wednesday.

Flores, a Menifee 24/7 Athlete of the Week this week, finished 51 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, sophomore Bernadette Schmidt of Elsinore High. The Wildcats also got strong finishes from Stephanie Williams (sixth, 21:21.3) Symone Carreno (eighth, 21:37.7) and Melissa Melchor (ninth, 21:49.5).

In the boys race, Elsinore beat out Paloma Valley for first place as a team. Paloma Valley's top runner was Michael Arreola (fourth, 16:29.2. Zackery Castor finished seventh in 16:46.2.

Alejandro Castellanos of Heritage finished third in the boys race in 16:13.6. In the girls race, Kristen Briseno finished fifth in 21:04.2.

Varsity coaches or scorekeepers from Paloma Valley High, Heritage High and Santa Rosa Academy who wish to have results published should email information to

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Paloma Athletes of Week: Boehm, Simon, Flores, Jenkins, Rivas

Paloma Valley High School Athletes of the Week (from left): Brent Boehm, Johannah Simon, Samantha Flores, Connor Jenkins, Clarrissa Rivas.
The early success of Paloma Valley High School athletics this school year is evident in the latest selection by coaches of the Menifee 24/7 Paloma Valley Athletes of the Week.

The football team's representative on this week's list of honorees is quarterback Brent Boehm. The senior has led the Wildcats to a 3-0 start, passing for 520 yards and 10 touchdowns and displaying exemplary leadership.

"Brent is a stalwart athlete here at Paloma," said his coach, Bert Esposito. "He is one of the best QBs in the area and had another outstanding week last week. Beyond his stats is a kid who leads by example and who so many other kids follow. He takes his role seriously as a leader on the team and never lets it get to his head about all his successes."

Even though the Paloma Valley football team has outscored the opposition 181-32, Boehm says he and his teammates have no trouble keeping their success in perspective.

"We know the competition keeps getting better every week," he said. "We have to stay consistent and always work hard."

Boehm hopes to earn a Division I scholarship and study sports broadcasting or journalism.

Johannah Simon led the girls volleyball team in assists with 28 at the recent Desert Classic tournament at San Bernardino Valley College. In her first year on the varsity team, the junior setter plays a valuable role in the Wildcats' offense.

"I take the second ball," Simon said about her pivotal role in setting up the front row for the kill on the third allowable hit each turn. "Without a good set, you won't get a kill. You try to keep the ball two feet off the net, not too high, about arm height."

In addition to playing volleyball all three years of high school, she has played three years of club volleyball.

Cross country runner Samantha Flores achieved a milestone feat in the recent Bronco Round-Up meet in Escondido, running the second fastest two-mile time in school history (11:51). That was achieved on a hilly course in the heat of summer.

"I pretty much stayed near the front," Flores said. "I was kind of confused when I looked around. It was like, 'Why am I here?' I was really shocked to be in that position."

Flores said her father motivated her to get into cross country running. A senior, she has competed all four years.

Connor Jenkins earned a spot on the varsity boys cross country team with a strong performance at the Bronco Round-Up. He has competed in running events since the third grade and dropped soccer and tennis early in his high school career to focus on cross country and track.

"My motivation is my teammates," Jenkins said. "I've never had that much natural talent at running, but I keep working my way up."

Jenkins' coach, Joe Ellett, is impressed with Jenkins' improvement.

"Connor has dedicated himself to the training and to improvement in the classroom," Ellett said. "His running form isn't perfect, but he has determined not to let anything hold him back."

Clarrissa Rivas is a senior who has performed well for the golf team in its matches this season. Working hard in practice and competition at the Wildcats' home course at Menifee Lakes Country Club, Rivas is shooting consistently in the low 50s for nine holes.

"I'm trying to get into the low 40s," she said. "My scores are getting better each week."

Rivas became interested in golf by watching her father and grandfather. She is the only girl in her family to take up the sport.

The honorees each received a certificate from Menifee 24/7 and an Athlete of the Week T-shirt from the Pomona Valley athletic department.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Menifee Bobcats Soccer Team Gets Off to a Fast Start

The Menifee Bobcats U10 team opened soccer competition in AYSO Region 820 recently with victories over the French Valley Wolfpack, 3-0, and Chino Hills, 10-0.

The Bobcats also participated in the Simi Valley Labor Day Invitational club soccer tournament, taking first place. The team won all four games it played in the tournament: 5-2 over SMU, 5-1 over Hollywood FC Black, 7-1 over FC Golden State Black and 3-1 over SMU.

The Bobcats' schedule can be viewed on their Facebook page. The team is coached by Andres Guzman and Jennifer Christoffersen.

The team also is looking for a sponsor. Interested parties should email

The Menifee Bobcats and other AYSO Region 820 teams will be in action at Menifee Valley Middle School and Bell Mountain Middle School each Saturday for the next few months.

If you would like to submit photos or information about a youth sports team in Menifee, email

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Prewitt Has Big Night in Paloma Valley's 56-12 Victory

Demarco Prewitt turns upfield on one of his four touchdown runs in Paloma Valley's victory Friday night.
(Photos by David Stovall)
By Zac Force

Sophomore running back Demarco Prewitt rushed for 212 yards and four touchdowns and passed for another TD Friday night to lead Paloma Valley High to a 56-12 victory over West Valley in the Wildcats' homecoming game.

Prewitt compiled his rushing yardage on just 16 carries, giving him an average of over 13 yards per carry.

Prewitt gave all the credit to his offensive linemen, saying he could not achieve what he did without them.

"I am so grateful for my line," he said. "I have the best offensive line anyone could ask for."

Coach Bert Esposito said that Prewitt’s "future is gold."

Paloma Valley had a slow start, scoring only 7 points in the first quarter, but quickly turned it around, scoring 28 points in the second quarter and 21 points in the third. The Wildcats' defense also played well, sacking West Valley quarterback Mike Cordova (above) and controlling the line of scrimmage.

Paloma Valley quadrupled West Valley’s rushing with a total of 337 yards to 82 yards. The passing was closer, with Paloma passing for 221 yards to West Valley’s 293 yards. West Valley had more than triple Paloma’s passing attempts, however; the Mustangs threw the ball 51 times. Paloma racked up a total of 558 yards on 51 plays while West Valley had 375 total yards on 80 plays.

Paloma quarterback Brent Boehm had 170 yards passing and three touchdowns with no interceptions while his counterpart, Cordova, had one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown with three interceptions. One of Boehm's TD passes covered 15 yards to RJ Benz (right).

The biggest advantage for West Valley was that it only accumulated 40 yards on six penalties while Paloma was flagged for 16 penalties for a total of 146 yards. A large part of Paloma’s penalties and penalty yards came from defensive pass interference calls.

Prewitt's touchdown pass covered 47 yards to Fred Lundy, who carried it into the end zone for a 27-0 Paloma Valley lead (below). It was never a contest after that.

Esposito believed it was "a good test and they played us tough. Hats off to them; the game was a lot closer than the score indicated."

"They threw the ball over 50 times and their quarterback played very well," Esposito continued. "Number eight was the man out there. He was incredibly difficult to stop."

No. 8 was wide receiver Elijah Brown, who caught eight passes for 103 yards and a touchdown for West Valley. Fellow wide receiver Markus Cordova caught seven passes for 102 yards.

The Wildcats scored touchdowns on eight of their 11 possessions.

Paloma Valley's next game is at home next Friday against Moreno Valley.

Quarterback Brent Boehm prepares to hand off to Elliott Smith early in Friday's game.
Sabrina Carrillo, shown here with her escort, was introduced as Homecoming Queen at halftime.

Virgil Leads Heritage High to 49-13 Victory at Beaumont

Heritage High quarterback Brett Virgil heads down the sidelines on a 69-yard TD run in the third quarter Friday night.
Brett Virgil showed once again Friday night why there is no reason for Heritage High School football fans to be worried about a sophomore starting at quarterback.

In three quarters of play, Virgil passed for 122 yards and 3 touchdowns, rushed for 117 yards and two more scores and effectively led the Patriots' dismantling of a winless Beaumont squad, 49-13, at Beaumont High.

An opportunistic Heritage defense forced six Beaumont turnovers, coming up with five fumble recoveries and an interception, as the Patriots improved their record to 3-0 heading into a big nonleague game at Great Oak next Friday.

Heritage led 14-0 two minutes into the game, scoring quickly off fumble recoveries, and was ahead 49-10 at halftime. That allowed coach Kraig Broach to give the second and third string some valuable playing time in the second half.

"It was neat to see guys come in, show they knew what they were doing and play the scheme correctly," Broach said. "We got a lot of guys playing time.

"We're not there yet, but we're making a lot of improvement."

The Patriots have greatly reduced their penalties and are showing more consistency on offense and defense each week. In their first three games -- two of them on the road -- the Patriots have outscored the opposition, 124-38.

On the second series of the game, the Patriots recovered a fumble at the Beaumont 13-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Limihai Hifo ran 13 yards for a touchdown (above). Tyler Baca's PAT kick gave Heritage an early 7-0 lead.

On Beaumont's next possession, the Cougars fumbled the ball away again, with Reggie Murphy recovering for the Patriots on the Beaumont 22. On the very next play, Virgil hit Chris Nile with a 22-yard touchdown pass (left) and the Patriots were off and running.

"Chris Nile had a nice game at receiver and Evan Rodriguez was solid at tight end," Broach said. "It was nice to see so many people involved."

Of course, Broach had high praise once again for Virgil, who showed speed and versatility on a 42-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a 69-yard TD run in the third.

"Virgil had a great game again," Broach said. "Like we've talked about, eventually he's going to be a very special quarterback, and he's certainly on his way already."

On his first TD, Virgil rolled right, reversed directions and sprinted 42 yards into the left corner of the end zone.

"I rolled out to pass but had to bail out," Virgil said. "Hifo made a great block to help me cut back and take off."

Heritage compiled 309 yards rushing and 122 passing for 431 yards total offense. Murphy caught a touchdown pass from Virgil, Rodriguez caught a 10-yard TD pass and Jalen Glover ran 2 yards for a score.
Heritage defensive back Raymond Everett heads out of his end zone with an interception in the third quarter.
Tight end Evan Rodriguez heads into the end zone with a 10-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
Patriots quarterback Brett Virgil completed 7 of 10 passes for 122 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Paloma Athletes of the Week: Vinluan, Bogroff, Bennett, Cowan

Paloma Valley Athletes of the Week, left to right: Marc Vinluan, Felix Bogroff, Ashlyn Bennett, Alexandra Cowan.
Recipients of the Paloma Valley High School Athlete of the Week awards, sponsored by Menifee 24/7, are cross country runner Marc Vinluan, football player Felix Bogroff, golfer Ashlynn Bennett and volleyball player Alexandra Cowan.

Vinluan is hoping for big things for the Wildcats cross country team after competing in his first varsity meet last week at the Bronco Round-Up in Escondido. Vinluan worked hard last year to become one of the JV team's top runners despite dealing with a knee injury that requires constant therapy. He said Saturday's meet helped him gauge where he's at in preparing to realize his full potential.

"The meet was an eye opener," Vinluan said. "It showed me what I have to work on, like my stamina and my kick at the end. It just takes hard work and commitment."

Bogroff, a senior safety in the Wildcats' defensive backfield, leads the team in total tackles after the first two games with 16. He had eight each in big wins over San Benardino and Sultana. This is his third year as a varsity starter.

"Everything just comes to me more smoothly now," said Bogroff, whose goal is to "beat last year's stats," which included a total of 88 tackles, second on the team.

Last year, Bogroff averaged 6.8 tackles per game. He's ahead of that pace so far this season. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound defensive back is considering attending University of Redlands next fall.

Bennett is a junior who also played on the varsity girls golf team as a freshman. She has been playing the sport since she was 4 years old, when she started hanging out on the course with her father.

"I used to play in the sand traps, then I started wondering why I couldn't play golf, too," she said. "My dad taught me. I've never had a private lesson outside that."

Bennett's best nine-hole score ever was the 42 she recorded last week in a match against Temecula Valley at the Temecula Legends Club.

Cowan's position with the girls volleyball team is libero, which is the starting unit's defensive specialist. It's her job to receive serves whenever possible, absorb the hard hits from the opposition and set up the front-row players for kills.

Cowan's key stat is "digs," or digging out hard-hit balls to preserve a rally for her teammates. She ranks second on the team with 13 digs heading into today's match at West Valley High in Hemet.

"I like the satisfaction of facing the opposition's hitting and getting the ball back," said Cowan, a senior in her second year on the varsity team. "I try to get as many digs and return as many serves as I can. There's a big joke in volleyball that libero is the ballhog."

In addition to a certificate from Menifee 24/7, the athletes received an Athlete of the Week T-shirt from the Paloma Valley athletic department.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Heritage Improves to 2-0 With a 38-12 Win at JW North

By Zac Force

Heritage High beat JW North 38-12 on Friday, giving the Patriots a record of 2-0 to start the season.

The Patriots' running game combined for 446 yards. Limihai Hifo racked up 186 yards on 18 carries, earning himself an average of 10.3 yards per carry. Sione Takitaki rushed for 111 yards on 13 carries. Brett Virgil had 128 passing yards on 17 attempts.

The game started out slowly with a first quarter that ended scoreless. Heritage had a great first drive that seemed destined to score but came to a sudden halt after a fumble. The game soon picked up speed, however.

During the second quarter, the score went from 0-0 to 17-6 in favor of the Patriots. Even though an apparent punt return for a touchdown was called back for a clipping penalty, moments later Hifo caught a pass that netted a 38-yard gain. That led to a 5-yard touchdown pass from Virgil to Evan Rodriguez for the first points of the game.

The Huskies' first drive also seemed like a touchdown was inevitable when the Patriots were called for pass interference, giving JW North the ball on the Heritage 13-yard line. Aleva Hifo intercepted a pass thrown into the end zone, however, to stop the Huskies' drive.

The Huskies were soon able to put their first points of the game up when running back Dre Hall scored on a handoff. The extra point was no good, making the score 7-6. Heritage scored one more time in the second quarter on a Tyler Baca 39-yard field goal.

In the second half, Takitaki found the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown. Isaiah Morrow rushed for two touchdowns, including a 42-yarder. Reggie Murphy returned an interception for a 48-yard touchdown as well.

The only points for JW North in the second half came after a 67-yard kick return set them up for great field position, leading to a touchdown pass. The Huskies went for the two-point conversion but failed.

Heritage almost scored a final time but fumbled the snap on the 1-yard line, giving the Huskies the ball.

"We have a lot of areas that need work," head coach Kraig Broach said. "We had too many fumbles and too many penalties."

Broach also noted that the team "is still very young and has a lot to learn." He added, however, that "the offensive line played extremely well and made it easy on Hifo and Takitaki."

The Patriots' next game is at Beaumont.

Paloma Valley Puts This One Away Early, Beats Sultana, 64-14

Quarterback Brent Boehm directs traffic as he heads upfield in Paloma Valley's big win Friday night.
A couple days before the high school football season started, Paloma Valley coach Bert Esposito said he wanted to see the Wildcats get off to a fast start.

Mission accomplished -- and then some.

Quarterback Brent Boehm passed for 270 yards and 5 touchdowns in just one half of play, the Paloma Valley defense smothered the opposition all night, and the Wildcats cruised to a 64-14 win over an outmanned Sultana team Friday night.

In their home opener, the Wildcats piled up 525 yards total offense, scoring virtually at will in building a 64-0 halftime lead. The second half was played with a running clock and Paloma Valley's second- and third-string players got a lot of experience as the team improved its record to 2-0.

Last week, Paloma Valley opened the season with a 61-6 victory at San Bernardino, meaning the Wildcats have outscored the opposition 125-20 the first two weeks of the season.

Sultana ballcarrier Stephan Sanford (11) is dragged down by Paloma Valley defender Ruben Colon (bottom) in the first quarter.
"I didn't expect this at all," said Esposito, who managed to get his starters two quarters of playing time before turning the game over to the reserves. "I watched their scrimmage against Rim of the World and I knew they (Sultana) could do some things.

"But after a while, I started to wonder what all we could do in this game. As it turned out, we could pretty much do anything. I was trying to keep my starters in for at least a half. It's not football strategy at a certain point; it's management strategy, trying to get all the kids in."

Playing their first game of the season, the Sultans appeared to take the lopsided defeat well. There were no accusations of running up the score and no trash talking on either side. Esposito even declined a roughing the kicker penalty on a punt that would've kept possession for the Wildcats, instead turning the ball over to the Sultans with the score 64-0 in the third quarter.

"Honestly, they were very good sports about it," said Boehm. "I have to give them props for that."

Sophomore Demarco Prewitt (right), the Wildcats' No. 1 running back this year, carried the ball only 4 times but made the most of them. He finished with 123 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including an 80-yard TD run near end of the first half. Elliott Smith, a junior, carried 3 times for 80 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Another star of the Paloma Valley offense was wide receiver CJ Parker, who caught 5 passes for 116 yards and two scores. RJ Benz, Michael Valencia and Phillip Hauser also caught touchdown passes.

"He's a dynamic player," Esposito said about Parker. "You just put the ball in the air and tell him to go get it."

That's exactly what happened at the start of the game. After Fred Lundy returned the opening kickoff 43 yards for the Wildcats, Boehm hit Parker for a 37-yard gain. On the next play, Boehm lofted the ball toward the left corner of the end zone. Parker easily beat his defender for the catch and a 13-yard touchdown play.

Paloma Valley forced a Sultana punt and promptly marched 70 yards for another score, a 7-yard TD pass from Boehm to Valencia. On the ensuing kickoff, Sultana's Justin Flores fumbled the ball away and Lundy recovered for the Wildcats at the Sultana 22-yard line. On the very next play, Boehm hit Parker with a short pass and Parker carried the ball into the end zone.

Michael Valencia holds onto the ball and wards off a defender in the end zone for a 7-yard TD play.
Derek Davis' PAT kick gave the Wildcats a 21-0 lead and the rout was on.

Boehm, who was rested most of the preseason because of a sore shoulder, has shown no symptoms of lingering pain the first two games. Neither is he nor any of his teammates getting a big head because of the lopsided victories, he said.

"The coaches are very good at that," Boehm said with a smile. "They keep us in check and focused on each game."

CJ Parker hauls in a 23-yard touchdown pass to beat his defender in the first quarter.

Phillip Hauser heads for the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Friday night's easy victory gave the Paloma Valley cheerleaders plenty to celebrate.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Paloma Plays Home Opener vs. Sultana; Heritage at JW North

Paloma Valley High football players, shown here in preseason workouts, play host to Sultana at 7 tonight.
Paloma Valley High School plays its first home game of the football season tonight, while Heritage High goes on the road during Week No. 2.

Paloma Valley will play host to Sultana High of Hesperia in a 7 p.m. game. Gates open at 6 p.m. The Wildcats are coming off a 61-6 rout of San Bernardino last week, in which the defense held the opposition to 75 yards and intercepted three passes -- two for touchdowns by CJ Parker.

Senior quarterback Brent Boehm, who missed much of preseason practice with a sore shoulder, completed 6 of 13 passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore Demarco Prewitt led Paloma Valley rushers with 8 carries for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

This will be Sultana's season opener. Last year, the Sultans lost a 44-13 decision to Paloma Valley and finished the season 4-6.

Heritage will try to start the season with a 2-0 record tonight at 7 when the Patriots play at JW North High in Riverside.

The Patriots started strong last week with a 37-13 victory over San Jacinto in their home and season opener. Senior Limihai Hifo (right) rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and Sione Takitaki rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown.

Sophomore Brett Virgil, making his first start at quarterback, completed all six of his pass attempts for 116 yards and two touchdowns.

This will be the first game of the season for JW North, which finished last season with a 6-5 record.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Heritage High School Athlete of the Week: Brett Virgil

Quarterback Brett Virgil is the first recipient in Heritage High School's Athlete of the Week program, sponsored by Menifee 24/7.

Each week, one athlete from each sport in season will be honored for their athletic accomplishments, potential and sportsmanship. Menifee 24/7 has added this awards program to its Athlete of the Month Award, which honors one male and one female athlete from the school each month.

Football was the only sport in which an official game was played last week. Virgil, a sophomore, made his first varsity start a memorable one, leading the Patriots to a 37-13 victory over San Jacinto Friday night.

Virgil completed all six of his pass attempts for 116 yards and two touchdowns in Heritage's season opener. One of his biggest fans was seated in the stands -- his older brother, Chad.

Chad Virgil led Heritage to the CIF championship game two years ago. His advice and encouragement meant a lot, Brett said.

"He came down and talked to me before and after the game," said Brett Virgil. "He gave me some ideas and what to watch for. That made it an even greater night."

Virgil gave a lot of credit for his first starting performance to his offensive line, which kept the San Jacinto defense away from him.

"I didn't get hit at all," Virgil said. "Those guys did a great job. I was kind of nervous about executing all the plays, but as the game went on, I got more comfortable.":

Virgil's second start will come Friday night, when Heritage plays at JW North of Riverside.