|Paloma Valley running back David Solis races past the defense for a big gain in the first half.|
"We hadn't been tested yet," Esposito said, referring to his team's four previous blowout victories. "This one was tough, but you guys hung in there. 5-0, guys!"
Granted, it was something to celebrate. Finding themselves in a real ballgame for the first time this season, the Wildcats used a strong offensive line, the running of David Solis and a defense led by linebacker Richard Krottmayer and lineman Charlie Wallace to improve to 5-0 for the first time in more than a decade.
Solis carried the ball 14 times for 231 yards and five touchdowns in addition to playing outstanding defense at linebacker. With an aggressive line opening holes for him to use his speed, Solis scored four touchdowns in the first half alone.
The first three came on pitchouts from quarterback Brent Boehm to the left side, exploiting a defensive weakness to which Temecula Valley didn't adjust until the second half.
"There was a major hole on that side in the first half," Solis said. "If you would've seen that, your eyes would've gotten that big. The whole offensive line was opening up holes for me."
Temecula Valley (2-2) kept the score close, however, answering with a 17-yard TD pass from Kyle Plantier to Andre Armstrong, cutting the Wildcats' lead to 13-10 after the extra point. Before the Golden Bears knew what had happened, however, Solis struck again, running 38 yards through another hole in the left side of the line for a touchdown.
Thanks to the passing of Plantier (33 of 47, 332 yards and and two TDs), Temecula Valley was able to hang around until a 47-yard TD pass from Boehm to RJ Benz and the PAT gave Paloma Valley a 41-30 lead early in the fourth quarter. Temecula Valley actually outgained Paloma in total offense, 511 yards to 500.
"I knew this would be a tough one," Esposito said. "Temecula Valley is very well coached. We knew when we stopped the run, it would turn into a throwing fest. Their quarterback made us look bad at times; my hat's off to him.
"On defense, our guys just stepped up. Our players aren't big; people don't come here and say, 'Wow, look at those guys.' But they play their hearts out every week. What coach wouldn't want that?"
Paloma Valley has next Friday off before opening Sunbelt League play at Elsinore on Oct. 5.
|Quarterback Brent Boehm has his team close to the goal line late in the second quarter.|
|Wildcats head coach Bert Esposito addresses his players after their fifth consecutive victory.|