RANCHO BERNARDO —- The Rancho Bernardo High football team started the season playing significantly better than it finished 2008. Unfortunately for San Pasqual, this season is starting to look a lot like last year’s dismal campaign.
The Broncos, who lost their final four games last year, kicked off the new season Friday night with a 16-3 nonleague victory over the Eagles. But for San Pasqual (0-2), the loss marked its ninth straight, including the final seven games of ’08 and last week’s season-opening letdown against Valley Center.
“Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy,” San Pasqual coach Tony Corley said.
It’s easy to see why Corley would feel that way after his Eagles rushed for 220 yards on 39 carries —- a respectable average of 5.6 yards per carry —- but still failed to find the end zone.
“We put ourselves in good position, but we just haven’t learned how to make that big play,” Corley said. “That’s what we’re still searching for. We’ve got a lot of young guys trying to figure it out. … We had plenty of opportunities, but we just didn’t finish.”
Rancho Bernardo grabbed momentum in the first quarter on a wacky play that left Broncos fans holding their breath. After going three-and-out on its first possession, Rancho Bernardo was attempting to punt when the snap sailed high over Jeremy Hutchens’ head and into the end zone.
But the junior didn’t panic, scooping up the bouncing ball while avoiding onrushing San Pasqual players . He managed to boot it 78 yards and swing field position in the Broncos’ favor.
“The ball went over my head and I knew what I had to do —- I had to try and get out as fast as I could,” said Hutchens, who was attempting his first varsity punt.
Hutchens’ save —- as well as a botched punt attempt by San Pasqual’s Manny Topete —- led to a safety on the Eagles’ next possession, giving the Broncos a 2-0 lead.
The Broncos kept the pressure on San Pasqual on the ensuing possession, when running back David Jones broke loose for a 20-yard touchdown, giving Rancho Bernardo a 9-0 lead.
The Eagles kept the game close when Cory Barton intercepted a pass right before halftime, which led to a field goal by Topete. The 25-yard boot gave the Broncos a 9-3 halftime lead.
But in the second half, the Eagles’ offense continued to sputter and the Broncos’ running game turned it up a notch, racking up 101 of their 139 rushing yards.
“We ran well as a team tonight,” said Rancho Bernardo running back David Jones, whose second touchdown —- a 7-yard burst early in the third quarter —- put the game out of reach.
“I just want to thank our O-line. They did a great job. We’re looking forward to playing Torrey Pines next week.”