Paloma Valley Overcomes Mistakes, Defeats JW North, 28-12

Quarterback Pohaku Kaheaku-Paiva prepares to pass to Demarco Prewitt, coming out of the backfield....

Quarterback Pohaku Kaheaku-Paiva prepares to pass to Demarco Prewitt, coming out of the backfield.
By Daniel Millhouse

Paloma Valley High School kicked off the 2014 football season in Riverside, going head to head against JW North Friday night. Despite 107 yards in penalties and being held to only seven points in the second half, the Wildcats held off the Huskies, 28-12.

During the first quarter, Paloma Valley struck for a quick 21 points. Six minutes into the first period, quarterback Pohaku Kaheaku-Paiva tossed the ball to receiver David Hamilton for the first Wildcats touchdown of the season.

Following a recovered onside kick, Jake Newton went in at quarterback to replace Kaheaju-Paiva, who twisted an ankle on the opening drive. Newton tossed the ball to Demarco Prewitt for a 10-yard touchdown on a swing pass to the right. With two minutes left in the quarter, Prewitt scored again, this time on a 1-yard goal line rush.

Kaheaku-Paiva (right), who returned later in the game, completed 12 of 18 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns in his first varsity start.

Only one score came in the second quarter, when Armstrong Mephors of JW North scored on a 9-yard run. The Wildcats were able to minimize the damage by blocking the extra point.

Each team racked up seven penalties in the first half.

When asked how he would grade his team’s play, Wildcats coach Bert Esposito had a quick answer.

"I would rate it a D+ to a C-," he said. "There were too many mistakes by our side. Bad decisions. We have a lot of new players on the team, but we also have a lot of veterans."

With Paloma Valley leading 21-6 to start the third quarter, Kaheaku-Paiva took over at quarterback for the rest of the game. He threw a second touchdown pass to Hamilton in the third quarter, this time for 2 yards.

The Wildcats' special teams also contributed in the second half. During a punt in the third quarter, Andrew Ramos forced the punt returner to fumble the ball, which was recovered by teammate Ruben Colon (32, left).

Paloma Valley continued to pressure JW North in the fourth quarter by forcing quarterback Jerrod Bartley to throw errant passes.

Wildcats penalties gave hope to the Huskies, however. North got on the board one more time on a 32-yard run by Mephors with 6:16 remaining. The Paloma Valley defense denied a 2-point attempt by the Huskies, however, leaving the score 28-12.

In a last-minute effort by North, the Wildcats’ Jose Cruz applied pressure to Huskies quarterback Ricky Moreno, forcing an interception by defensive lineman Joey Dunn with 50 seconds left.

Paloma Valley finished with just 17 yards rushing, including 19 yards in sacks of the quarterbacks. Prewitt carried 15 times for 38 yards and a score.

Next week, Paloma Valley plays its home opener against Clackamas High of Oregon.

Paloma Valley players take part in the postgame handshakes after the win.

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