East County Sports

ROUNDUP: Vaqueros fall in OT thriller at Valley Center





By Ramon Scott



VALLEY CENTER – The El Capitan Vaqueros, who have won only one game in the last two seasons, took host Valley Center into overtime in Friday’s (Sept. 9) non-league affair in the North County.

They stood toe-to-toe in a blow-for-blow fourth-quarter battle that couldn’t be decided in just 48 minutes.

Valley Center scored first late in the first quarter on a short rushing touchdown for a 7-0 lead at the end of one.

Early in the second quarter, the Vaqueros fumbled to the Jaguars, but the defense bailed out their mates to keep Valley Center off the scoreboard.

El Capitan tied the game at 7-7 on a 45-yard reception for a score by sophomore YAPHET YOKLEY.

The defenses would continue to hold true well into the second quarter.

Valley Center took a 14-7 lead on a touchdown pass of 11 yards to Keith Vasquez.

El Cap had a modest drive at the end of the first half, but retired to the locker room down a touchdown.

Still down a score midway through the third, El Cap drove all the way down to the VC 1, but a fumble sent them back to the 10 and had the Vaqueros staring at a field goal try.

The Vaqueros would attempt a fake on the kick attempt, but the Jaguars would have none of it, stopping El Capitan and keeping them off the scoreboard entirely.

El Capitan drove down to the 15 yard line as time expired in the third, but the Vaqueros found the end zone on a touchdown reception to tie the game.

In the fourth, El Capitan would drive down to the VC 20, but turned the ball over on downs.

JAVIER VIDALEZ would tie the score on a 15-yard pass from quarterback PHOENIX CATES to tie the game, 14-14.

El Capitan’s COLTON SANDAVAL came up with a big play, stopping a punt, then the Vaqueros converted the possession into an 10-yard touchdown by Vidalez from Cates to take a 21-14 lead on a timing fade to the right front corner of the end zone.

Valley Center answered with a touchdown to tie the game after having an earlier score taken off the board because of a penalty.

Then El Capitan junior STAR IULI turned in the play of the night with a 90-yard kickoff return to put the Vaqueros back ahead 28-21.

The Jaguars would drive down to the El Capitan 35 with 1:32 left in the game, then Daniel Belcher later converted on a 20-yard touchdown run on a draw with less than a minute left as the Jags almost botched the handoff that ended up looking like a backhand Statue of Liberty play.

Valley Center elected to go for two, but was flagged for a penalty on the try, so they opted for a successful kick, which necessitated overtime after the teams actually traded a pair of possessions.

The Vaqueros managed to get down to the 2-yard line on their first possession in OT, but couldn’t punch it in. The Jaguars then kicked a field goal from 20 yards on their possession to win the game.

Cates was sharp, going 15-for-24 for 237 yards and the three scores with no interceptions.

Vidalez finished with seven catches for 60 yards to lead El Capitan, while senior receiver RYAN DUMAS caught a pair of 26-yard passes from Cates.

TRI-CITY CHRISTIAN 45, MOUNTAIN EMPIRE 7 – The Red Hawks played their game with Tri-City Christian on Friday night and came up short up in Vista.

FOOTHILLS CHRISTIAN 26, JULIAN 6 – Talk about interchangeable parts, the Knights led 16-0 after one quarter and 24-0 after three. FCHS added a safety in the fourth quarter.

NICK PUPA completed a pair of 52-yard passes for FCHS, both to senior ELI HALE, including one for a touchdown.

Hale also rushed for 68 yards on eight carries, while fellow seniors CALEB TARVER added 63 yards on 11 sorties and

JOSH GATE had 61 yards on 11 tries.

Pupa also hauled in a 46 yard TD pass from Hale.

Hale had 173 yards in punt return yardage, while Pupa had 146 yards on kickoff returns.

Sophomore JADON BANKHEAD had 11 tackles for the Knights, while Gate had three tackles for loss. Bankhead also had a sack and two fumble recoveries.

Tarver had eight total tackles, while ILAYAH BARTOLOME had seven tackles, including one for loss. Senior NOAH OLIVER had seven tackles, including a sack.

Pupa also had seven tackles, recovered two fumbles and recorded an interception, which he returned 99 yards for a touchdown.

The Knights now have a 2-1 record. They host Ocean View Christian for a nonleague battle on Friday, September 16.

Foothills Christian will play a Patriots squad coming off a 46-14 non-league loss to Calvary Christian Academy. The Patriots’ record now stands at 0-2.


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