Mustangs struggle early then Turn it on to advance to finals
By Gary Montgomery, BVN Staff –
Moreno Valley – Rancho Verde knew it was in for a battle when the Colony Titans matched their efforts point for point in the first half.
Titans’ quarterback Matt Simko threw for 174-yards completing 15 0f 20 passes in the first half, getting his team a 14-14 tie at the break.
Colony (11-2) lead by its lethal passing attack and chronically stingy defense kept the ball in the air on offense and pressured Mustang quarterback Carlos Hernandez on defense.
The Mustangs (13-0) are the top team in the Central Division cruising through the playoffs. In the first three games Rancho Verde has outscored its opponents 138-42. Being tied at the half was definitely a new experience for Coach Pete Duffy and his team.
“We let them know what the stakes were during the half-time. We had to explain the situation,” said Coach Duffy.
Along with their half-time speeches the Rancho Verde coaches also must have done a little offensive scheming. The Mustangs opened the second half in the ‘Wildcat’ no huddle formation and immediately sprung tailback Kenney Torrence for a 65-yard run off tackle on the first play. However, Rancho was ticketed for holding on the play and Torrence’s run was nullified.
No problem, on the very next play, Devonte Collier sliced across the left side and dashed 75-yards for a 21-14 Mustang lead. Rancho Verde’s defense got in on the act after that and held Colony’s offense forcing them to punt the ball back.
On the next possession quarterback Carlos Hernandez went up top and found Demorea Stringfellow for a 35-yard touchdown to stretch the Mustangs lead to 28-14. And more importantly, extinguish the last bit of fight left in the visiting Titans.
Colony would mount only one more serious threat that ended on a fourth and eight at the Mustang 19-yard line. The Titans turned the ball over on downs and Rancho Verde moved the ball down the field and scored again on a 1-yard run by Reyko Green.
The Mustang’s would tack on another score to reach the final 42-14 score but the story of the game was the way Rancho Verde came out after the half and took control and finished off the game. “I think it energized the offense (Wildcat Formation) and that energy was contagious,” said Coach Pete Duffy.
Rancho Verde’s win propels them to the Central Division Title game for the second consecutive year. The Mustangs will travel to the desert on Friday evening to dual the 13-0 Palm Springs Indians in the Championship game.
G. Montgomery can be reached at email@example.com
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