East County Sports

Hernandez scores four in Matador win




EastCountySports.com staff report


SPRING VALLEY – The Mount Miguel Matadors have been the East County’s most pleasant surprise in the 2021 varsity football season.

And Matador Ruben Hernandez continues to be the area’s most overlooked star.

The Matadors rumbled past El Cajon Valley once again, rushing to a 35-0 halftime lead en route to a 47-14 Grossmont Valley League victory on Senior Night.

It was Mount Miguel’s 11th consecutive win over the Braves. The Matadors improved to 3-3 on the season with their second league victory.

Still, the team finds itself in a quandary when it comes to the postseason.

Hernandez, a senior, had a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter for Mount Miguel.

Hernandez followed that effort up with two more touchdowns in the second quarter, giving him four scores in the first half.

Jeremiah Castillo had a 20-yard touchdown run in the first quarter for the Matadors that made the score 14-0.

Castillo threw a short pass to Hernandez in the second quarter, in which “the man,” Hernandez, took down the field for a 65-yard score, giving the hosts a 28-0 lead.

Hernandez’s 10-yard touchdown run straight up the middle for the Matadors’ fifth touchdown of the first half. He finished with 194 yards of total offense.

“Our guys are always working hard and trying to get better for the next week,” Castillo said. “We know we have some things to work on but we are glad we came out with a win.”

Christian Lopez had a touchdown run to extend the lead to 41-0 in the third quarter. Lopez also recovered a pair of fumbles in the game.

Sophomore Eric White had a big night, as well, for Mount Miguel, rushing for 110 yards on just nine carries, including a fourth-quarter touchdown to cap the Matador scores.

“Ruben Hernandez, Eric White, Tyler Lopez are guys that are bulldozers,” Castillo said. “Those guys are the guys you see working hard at practice and in the classroom, too.”

Hernandez has over 900 yards of total offense this season and has scored 13 touchdowns. He has scored multiple touchdowns in four of Mount Miguel’s six games this season.

The Braves got their first touchdown in the third quarter on a 15-yard run to the right side of the end zone by Daniel Jacobs.

El Cajon Valley scored in the fourth quarter on an 85-yard kickoff return by Ruben Cosio.

Cosio practically filled the scorebook with a game’s worth of stats in the fourth quarter alone.

The El Cajon Valley senior caught three passes for 100 yards in the final stanza in addition to the exciting special teams’ score, which saw Cosio sprinting down the left side before needing the middle of the field to get away from the Mount Miguel tacklers.

Martine Moya had a sack for the Matadors.

Sophomore Demarrion White and Omar Jaimes combined for 11 solo tackles, including one for loss from each defender.

“Mount Miguel has only gotten stronger as the season has progressed,” El Cajon Valley head coach Nick Osborn said. “They are big and physical upfront and have no problem moving people around. They are able to run at will against most teams. Their game plan is simple and effective.”

The Matadors now come up to the biggest game of the season when they travel to meet the Valhalla Norsemen (2-6) in a league game on Friday night.

Should the Matadors qualify for the postseason – one of their games was canceled and another postponed with no date set – a win over the Norsemen, or in their season finale – will be a necessary ingredient.

Mount Miguel (3-3, 2-2 Grossmont Valley League) is currently in 11th place in Division the Division IV playoff power rankings, while Valhalla (1-3 GVL) sits in seventh.

The Matadors will finish the regular season at Del Norte, the current fifth-ranked team in the division.

Mt. Miguel may need at least a split of the final two contests to earn playoff consideration.

The Braves are also clinging to a playoff spot currently but have a bye this week coming up.

As a sure underdog in the finale against visiting Santana, the Braves can only assure themselves a berth with a victory, otherwise, they will likely be in a “wait-and-see” situation with teams such as Mountain Empire and Foothills Christian – with likely room for only two of those three local entries in the Division V playoffs.


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