With both students sections chanting loud and proud, it was all Yuba City High in the end Friday night as Honker Stadium. The Honkers defended their possession of the Mayor’s Cup defeating River Valley, 40-7.
“It was a great battle by these kids tonight, we were able to capitalize on a lot of opportunities and ultimately that helped us in the end,” Yuba City head coach Aaron Gingery said. “We’ll celebrate this win and get right back to work next week,” he added.
After Yuba City’s Keola Abreu scored on a 17-yard rushing touchdown with 3:56 to go in the first half, the Honkers started to use their home field momentum to their advantage. On the ensuing Falcons drive, cornerback Brigham Lessard intercepted a pass and took it 22 yards to the house to give Yuba City a 28-0 lead.
“At first I didn’t even know I had the ball and then next thing I know I’m running into the end zone with my teammates around me,” Lessard said. “It was a pretty cool feeling especially to do it in a game like this,” he added.
In the opening moments of the first quarter the River Valley defense appeared to have done its homework. With multiple Falcons flying to the football – including and Tanner Brown and Jaden White – River Valley forced the Honkers to punt twice.
On the second punt for Yuba City however, River Valley muffed the reception. After jumping on the football, running back Erik Palmqiust scored the game’s first touchdown just three plays later with 3:02 left in the first quarter.
“We didn’t have the start we had hoped for but we were able to get things rolling there once we recovered that fumble from the punt,” Palmquist said. “From there we grinded things out and held the momentum,” he added.
Once the Honkers got their offense rolling, the River Valley defense struggled to make adjustments.
Palmquist then added his second touchdown of the game when he bounced to the outside on Yuba City’s next drive to make it 14-0 Honkers after an extra-point was added.
The last five minutes of the second quarter would be the segment of the game River Valley wished it could have back. The Honkers poured it on, forcing two turnovers and scoring on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Palmquist to receiver Antonio Henry. Heading into halftime the Falcons found themselves in a 34-0 hole.
After adjustments were made it appeared that River Valley was back in the swing of things. Once the Falcons were able to extend a drive on a successful fake punt, River Valley’s Raymond Beissel made two outstanding receptions. The first for a long first down conversion and the second for a 60-yard touchdown.
However the Honkers defense wasn’t going to give up anything that easy. The rest of the way Yuba City held up strong adding one more score on the ground on its way to the 40-7 victory.
“I’m really proud of the way our team fought tonight. We didn’t let up and we need to bring this kind of energy heading into the rest of our schedule,” Yuba City’s Luke Afato said.
River Valley (2-3) will host Roseville next week, while Yuba City (3-3) will rest up on its bye before facing Bella Vista on Oct. 11.