Prep Impressions: Sept. 2, 2022

NORCO – The Rancho Cucamonga-Norco varsity football game on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, was not at all what we expected.

For Rancho Cucamonga, playing without junior RB Trey Wilson really hurts the balance of the offense right now. Senior QB C.J. Tiller is a potent offensive weapon and can make plays, but without a running back who can get the linebackers to back off, his time on the ball diminishes as does his effectiveness. Wilson, who suffered a broken left collarbone in the Cougars’ 13-12 win over Apple Valley, was on the sideline chatting up cheerleaders and the staff while his teammates got run off the field.

Rancho Cucamonga head coach Brian Hildebrand: “We were ready for four quarter of football but it’s not the start that we wanted, obviously, but we wanted to be tested a little bit. We had to dig ourselves out of a hole and there was just too many mistakes on our part, penalties kind of hurt us, and we have a lot of stuff to try to clean up. We tried to establish the run game early, and we knew that Norco had a good run defense but we wanted to try to be more balanced but we couldn’t really get it going. Losing Trey is tough, but we have confidence in whoever is behind him and we’re going to keep on working and fixing some of the mistakes that we make. C.J. made the plays that you’d expect. He had a couple of great throws and I think the turnovers, we just got to eliminate those. He’s the leader of our team and we’ll keep going to bat and learn from some of the mistakes, but he helped put the 14 points on the board. It just wasn’t enough today. We’re battling a lot right now. We’ve got some injuries. We’ve got some guys out. It’s something that we’re going to learn from and get better. We found out some of the mistakes we were making and learned that we can’t make those and expect to beat a team the caliber of Norco.”

For Norco, a little pissed off after getting its tail kicked in its opener, these Cougars took out some frustrations in Week 2. New QB Tyler Dudden completed 3 of 5 passes and hit senior WR Grant Gray for a 21-yard TD on the team’s first possession and connected with senior WR Connor Thomas for a 27-yard score later in the first quarter. Dudden was solid on the night but supported by a strong running game led by his offensive line and senior RB Kalani Kaleiwahea, who had 130 rushing yards on 24 carries.

Norco head coach Chuck Chastain: “It feels good to right the ship. We knew what we were going to get last week out there (Yorba Linda), and we didn’t play our best and that’s what happens against that caliber of opponent, but it’s good to be at home and get a win and get the ship right. (Budden), it’s only his second start so to get him comfortable in the game makes a difference in executing and we’re just trying to find ourselves on offense. We lost a lot of firepower from last year, but it was a big improvement from last game to this game and we’re getting there. (Dudden) is a pretty good athlete. He runs well and he’s got a really strong arm. He just has to take what they give him – the intermediate stuff – but he can make the deep throw that’s for sure. Kalani ran hard and we have to find our future back, too, we have a lot of backs to rotate in, but Kalani did a real good job of establishing himself tonight. For us it’s about getting better.”

Rancho Cucamonga – 7 – 0 – 7 – 0 — 14
Norco – 14 – 5 – 7 – 0 — 26
First quarter

N – Gray 21 pass from Dudden (Verdiell kick), 9:01
R – Harrison 12 pass from Tiller (Hagan kick), 7:54
N – Thomas 27 pass from Dudden (Verdiell kick), 2:28
Second quarter
N – Verdiell 33 FC, 6:27
N – Safety, ball snapped out end zone, 0:59
Third quarter
R – Harris 47 pass from Tiller (Hagan kick), 5:57
N – Carrillo 18 pass from Dudden (Verdiell kick), 2:01
Fourth quarter
No scoring
Team statistics
Total plays
– Rancho Cucamonga 62; Norco 84.
First downs
– Rancho Cucamonga 9; Norco 15.
Penalties – Rancho Cucamonga 10-75; Norco 12-120.
Turnovers – Rancho Cucamonga 2; Norco 2.
Individual statistics
– Rancho Cucamonga: Daily 6-9, Mikaele 1-3, Tiller 5-(minus-1), Dhanifu 3-(minus-8), Chambers 1-(minus-12); Norco: Kaleiwahea 23-130, Ayers 7-26, Diaz 2-11, Jensen 1-1, Budden 7-(minus-9).
Passing – Rancho Cucamonga: Tillers 16-36-2-257, Chambers 1-2-0-22; Norco: Budden 20-23-1-204, 0-1-1-0.
Receiving – Rancho Cucamonga: Harris 7-198, Lundy 5-46, Harrison 1-22, Mikaele 1-11, Wimbush 1-9, Dhanifu 2-(minus-7); Norco: Gray 8-93, Thomas 3-91, Carrillo 4-44, Ayers 1-5, Beadle 3-1, Kaleiwahea 1-0.
Interceptions – Rancho Cucamonga: Pierce 1-45, Brooks 1-10; Norco: Windham 1-15, Cl.Zentner 1-0.

Photo by The Press-Enterprise


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