Prep Impressions: Oct. 1, 2021

SAN BERNARDINO – The Redlands Citrus Valley-San Bernardino Cajon varsity football game on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, was not the uprising many had prognosticated.

For Citrus Valley, losing star quarterback Hunter Herrera was a gut punch the Blackhawks didn’t expect from its game with Corona Centennial in Week 5. In his place in Week 6 was sophomore QB Kade Finazzo, who had a hard time handling the ball and botched a pitch that was recovered by the defense and returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Now, it’s hard enough getting first-team reps with the daily protocols and time lost, but with only a week to really prepare it looks like the job is a too much for Finazzo and will instead go to senior receiver Brockton Lium, who has a better grasp of the offense.

Citrus Valley head coach Kurt Bruich: “It did effect us but we got out-coached. We straight up got out-coached. We got outclassed. They were definitely the better team tonight. Let’s say what it was. We got a lot of work to do. (Brockton Lium) will be the quarterback going forward. We have a lot of work to do. We did some good things. I was very, very proud of the effort of our defense. Our offense kept fumbling the ball and putting them in scoring position, so what do you do? In my four years this is probably the work we’ve every played on offense. Hats off to Cajon. They’re a very good football team but at the end of the day you have to look in the mirror. That one was on us, definitely. (Freddy Fletcher) is hard to tackle. He’s definitely hard to tackle, and they have a lot of other weapons, too, it’s not just him.”

For San Bernardino Cajon, winning and this level of sloppiness with the ball is not sustainable. Sophomore QB Martinez Miles had his first throw picked off and returned for a touchdown, and also threw another bad interception in the second quarter. Freddy Fletcher’s fumble across the goal line was more a mistake of effort, but even the reining Citrus Belt League Offensive MVP must do better to keep possession in such crucial moments. The Cowboys’ punishing defense set the tone against Citrus Valley’s beefy offensive line, though, holding the Blackhawks to under 25 rushing yards in the first half.

Cajon head coach Nick Rogers: “We’re still not executing everything offensively. We still have a lot of work to do thereto get ourselves better. Defensively, we played lights out (and) gave up, I think, a couple of big plays but other than that I think our defense has been the anchor for our team. Hats off to our defensive coaches and those players. They had that big run in the third quarter but I think we played lights out defensively. I’m really proud of the job they did, but offensively we’re still making too many mistakes so if we want to do anything these next few games we have to clean it up offensively otherwise we’re going to get a shocker coming our way. In the second half we kept shooting ourselves in the foot with turnovers. We’ve had a lot of success in the double wing vs. these guys, even the year before, so we went to it again. Right now, we’re just not comfortable enough running the ball in our spread sets so we have to bring in some extra guys, some extra size, and I think the offensive line in the double wing did a great job tonight. We still have to clean it up in the spread system. (Citrus Valley) does what they do. Injuries are part of the game. We didn’t change anything. That was the game plan for (Hunter Herrera). That the thing with injuries. We really don’t know what they’re going to come in here with We didn’t know what his injury was. We expected him to play so we planned that he was playing and we didn’t change from that. Obviously, he’s a big-time player for them but they were successful in some of the things that they did with their back-ups. (Freddy Fletcher) is the reigning league MVP from last year. He’s an ace football player. When the game’s on the line we give him the ball. He had a turnover that he’s kicking himself over – he won’t sleep well tonight – but he ran hard. He got some hard yards and it was good to get him going this week.”

Citrus Valley – 7 – 0 – 7 – 7 — 21
Cajon – 17 – 0 – 7 – 7 — 31
First quarter

CV – McLaughlin 20 int. return (Johnson kick), 11:44
Ca – Powell 21 pass from Miles (run failed), 7:19
Ca – Fletcher 1 run (Smith run), 4:23
Ca – Morris 28 FG, 1:07
Second quarter
No scoring
Third quarter
Ca – Ford 4 pass from Miles (Morris kick), 6:55
CV – Claiborne 71 run (Johnson kick), 6:16
Fourth quarter
Ca – Williams 44 fumble return (Morris kick), 9:30
CV – Gallegos 37 pass from Lium (Johnson kick), 6:01
Team statistics
Total plays
– Citrus Valley 54; Cajon 73.
First downs
– Citrus Valley 11; Cajon 18.
Penalties – Citrus Valley 6-60; Cajon 8-70.
Turnovers – Citrus Valley 4; Cajon 3.
Individual statistics
Rushing
– Citrus Valley: Claiborne 19-164, Counce 3-10, Lium 3-8, Finazzo 4-(minus-34); Cajon: Fletcher 32-172, Ford 4-40, Smith 6-15, Tikluk-Bernal 1-(minus-1), Miles 4-(minus-9).
Passing – Citrus Valley: Lium 2-2-0-54, Finazzo 9-18-0-45; Cajon: Miles 12-22-2-125, #19 1-1-0-7.
Receiving – Citrus Valley: Gallegos 4-47, Harris 3-46, Lium 2-13, Counce 1-5, Claiborne 1-(minus-5); Cajon: Smith 4-57, Powell 2-39, Fletcher 3-27, Ford 3-12, Maust 1-(minus-2).
Interceptions – Citrus Valley: McLaughlin 2-34; Cajon: None.

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