Prep Impressions: Sept. 7, 2017

JURUPA VALLEY — Neither of these teams, both with big bird nicknames, are ready to fly.

Riverside La Sierra trailed 17-0 before flapping its wings. Sadly, the young Eagles tumbled to the ground.

Rubidoux let a lead slip out of the nest before senior RB Kaden Dionne picked a rolling egg off the turf and ran it into the end zone for safe keeping and the game-winning touchdown in a 30-27 nonleague victory on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017.

“I think you get really lucky if you work hard,” Rubidoux coach Patrick Thompson said. “The ball favored our way, kind of bounced our way.”

Dionne had four carries for 92 yards and two TDs, and junior RB Tyson Giles rushed for 235 yards and one touchdown on 40 carries for Rubidoux (1-1 overall), which bounces back from its 21-20 loss to rival Jurupa Valley Patriot in Week 1.

“I’m hoping there’s a little but of juice on our sideline now,” Thompson said. “After our Patriot loss last week, man… Our guys have some character but we were definitely down. Our program does not lose too often, so for us to experience that one-point loss last week was really difficult. And for us to go back-and-forth tonight was very hard but the guys held strong. I’m proud of them.”

On Thursday night, Rubidoux defense’s confused La Sierra junior QB Bryce Poppe into twice throwing interceptions deep in the red zone after the Eagles had rallied to take the lead on Poppe’s three touchdowns to junior WR Andre Thomas.

“I have a junior QB (and) it’s his second start and he had to throw for a bunch of yards — I have no idea — but it was 300-plus in his second start,” La Sierra coach Garry Hedlund said. “A kid who played JV last year and these are his first varsity starts. He showed a lot of grit. He’s down right now but he played a great game.”

Poppe was 10 of 18 for 324 yards, three TDs and two INTs, and Thomas had eight receptions for 256 yards and three scores in the loss for La Sierra (1-1), which hasn’t defeated Rubidoux since 2005.

“There’s a lot of things to take from it, a lot of things to learn from it. Little mistakes that we can shore up,’ Hedlund said. “Two times on the 10-yard line, and we let those go. We miss a cheap-shot field goal and two more touchdowns and we’ve won.”

Did you ever read the story about the ugly duckling that turned into the beautiful swan?

BOX SCORE
La Sierra 0   6  21   0—27
Rubidoux 7  10   0  13—30
First quarter

R – Montes 72 kickoff return (Lopez kick), 6:53
Second quarter
R – Lopez 37 FG, 8:00
R – Giles 10 run (Lopez kick), 1:43
LS – Thomas 32 pass from Poppe (pass failed), 1:34
Third quarter
LS – Thomas 91 pass from Poppe (Wheelwright kick), 9:02
LS – Thomas 37 pass from Poppe (Wheelwright kick), 6:44
LS – Poppe 10 run (Wheelright kick), 0:20
Fourth quarter
R – Dionne 42 run (run failed), 11:43
R – Dionne 45 fumble recovery (Lopez kick), 7:41
TEAM STATISTICS
First Downs
LS – 11 / R – 13
Rushing
LS – 24-95 / R – 53-326
Passing
LS – 10-19-326-2 / R – 1-3-7-0
INTs
LS – 0-0 / R – 2-64
Fumbles
LS – 0 / R – 1
KO Returns
LS – 5-113 / R – 4-99
Punt Returns
LS – 0-0 / R – 1-4
Penalties
LS – 10-95 / R – 6-50
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Rushing: La Sierra, Simmons 10-27, Gaines 4-32, Fuentes 3-20, Poppe 5-10, Torres 1-3, Thomas 1-2. Rubidoux, Giles 40-232, Dionne 4-92, Rosales 1-3, Chavez 1-3, Montes 4-2, Nieves 1-1, Hernandez 1-(minus-5).
Passing: La Sierra, Poppe 10-18-326-2, Fuentes 0-1-0-0. Rubidoux, Hernandez 1-3-7-0.
Receiving: La Sierra, Thomas 8-256, Acedo 2-70. Rubidoux, Montes 1-7.

Rubidoux Head Coach Patrick Thompson:
OPENING REMARKS – “We hung tight, all four quarters. We knew it was going to be a good game and that they had some tough athletes. They (La Sierra) are much improved this year from last year and from previous years, so it was a fun, fun football game be we knew it was going to be like this going into it.
ON DEFENDING VS. LA SIERRA – “We had a specific red-zone period where we knew they were going to throw waggle, they were going to be doing drags and the quarterback was going to be boot-(legging) so that was a specific part of our game plan. But La Sierra is fast, and they had a couple of really, really good athletes. It was a battle of attrition.”
ON RUNNING GAME – “We would like to spread the wealth a little bit. That would be the ideal situation. Tyson, for sure, is our premier back. We try to get him off of defense. We want him on offense. He’s a junior, he’s young and he’s just learning the running back position in the offense. He ran it really well as a JV guy last year so we’re really looking forward to him and his ability moving forward.”
ON 21-20 LOSS VS. PATRIOT – “It was a very, very tough football game. We went for two, and they stuffed us on the two-point. It was late in the game. We went for the win and they played some defense and they shut us down.”
ON DIONNE’s GAME-WINNING TD – “I think it was a fumble. I got to see film but I’m pretty positive it was a fumble. I thought the play was dead. It was a very interesting play. It’ll be really interesting to see on film tomorrow.”

Riverside La Sierra Coach Garry Hedlund:
ON GAME-WINNING TD – “That… no comment. No comment on that play.”
ON RESULT – “They played Patriot 21-20 last week, and Patriot is a team that’s either a playoff team in our league or a team you have to beat to get into the playoffs. We played them to 30-27.”
ON HIS TEAM – “These kids fought hard, and that’s all your can ever ask of them; to have heart and never give up.”
ON COMING BACK TO LEAD – “17-0! I completely forgot that. They played their butts off and they didn’t quit and I’m proud of them.”
ON RUBIDOUX DEFENSE – “I feel like they were pretty much shutting us down in the run game. That’s their style of football; tough, physical football and I still feel like we ran the ball quite a lot. We probably threw more than we ran, I’m not sure. I think that when you ask Bryce what we’re going to do on offense and he’ll say ‘Whatever we need to.’ I stick behind that kid and doing whatever we have to do to try and move the ball and score.”
ON POST-GAME EMOTIONS – “It’s really hard to be a 15-year-old or 16-year-old kid. There’s a lot of emotions. They played their butts off. I wish they would’ve handled the last one second of 60 minutes a little bit better but other than that, I’m proud of them.”
ON MISTAKES – “If we fix little mistakes we beat that team by two touchdowns. And that’s a good football team. They went to the semifinals of CIF and went 12-0 before it. We played them tough last year, and here’s the thing.”
ON LOSS AS MOTIVATION: “We have to either let this fuel us to make sure we don’t feel like this again or it crushes you. In life you’re going to have bad days. You’re going to get fired. You’re going to have to do overtime. Your wife is sick. Your kids are sick. You learn from these little things and you handle it better in the future and you become a better man because of it. I think that that’s what football is about more Xs and Os and touchdowns and field goals and tackles and all that type of stuff.”
ON BRYCE POPPE – “We practice it all the time and we have to keep practicing it. It’s little things and it’s frustrating. That’s a kid in his second start. Me and my brothers made a lot more starts and a lot worse throws.”

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