By: Ray Connor
Photos: By Donna Harris
The varsity Broncs football team got into the win column by holding off Mission Prep.
After their bye week and an opening season loss to Taft, Kern Valley was back at home to square off with the Royals.
The game was a see-saw battle that ended with the Broncs collecting their first win of the new football season.
The final score was 21-20 when Mission Prep could not convert a two-point conversion.
With the score sitting at 21-14 for Kern Valley, the Royals scored a touchdown to pull to within one point. They by-passed the PAT and the tie and decided to go for two points to give them the lead.
Kern Valley’s defense stopped the two-point try leaving them with a 21-20 lead with 10:20 left in the game.
Mission Prep had two more possessions, but could not come up with any more points. Both times the Royals would give the ball back to Kern Valley on downs. The last time, the Broncs would move into victory formation and run out the clock.
The teams started slowly as the first quarter was scoreless. In the second the Royals took the early lead at 7-0 on a 35-yard scoot into the end zone. The PAT was good and the scoreboard read 7-0 for the visiting Royals.
Kern Valley would answer that touchdown with one of their own as Kaden Preston scored from seven yards out and Brett Grimsby added the PAT to tie the score at 7-7. Neither team would find the end zone the rest of the first half leaving the halftime score sitting at 7-7.
Coming out of the break, the Broncs took the lead as they took the second half kick-off. The drive would make it to the one-yard line of the Royals. Preston scored for the second time on the night as he plunged in from the one. This time the PAT would be missed to make it 13-7 for Kern Valley.
The Broncs defense would slow down the Royals as they picked off a pass on their next possession. Unfortunately, the Broncs could not do anything with the ball and turned it back to Mission Prep on downs.
With new life, the Royals drove down the field and put points on the board. They finished the drive with a three-yard touch-down run. When they booted the extra-point they took their first lead of the game at 14-13. The third quarter would end that way and it was time for the fourth.
On the ensuing kickoff, a penalty would leave the ball deep in Kern Valley territory. They would turn the ball over as they fumbled it away to the Royals. With a chance to put more points on the board, Mission Prep took over at the nine-yard line. On the very first snap they returned the favor and gave the ball back to the Broncs by fumbling to keep the score at 14-13.
This time Kern Valley would take advantage of the freebie as they went 91 yards for the touchdown. Preston hooked up with Davin Lee from nine yards to put them into the lead. They went for two and were successful as Preston found Lee for the conversion. With the score at 21-14 Kern Valley kicked off to the Royals.
Mission Prep would cap the drive with a touchdown to make it 21-20.
The next decision proved costly in the end as they went for two and were denied.
When the final horn sounded 10 minutes later, the Broncs had their first win of the season.
The Royals amassed 286 yards of offense in the game. They ran the ball 25 times for 139 yards. They threw the ball 17 times and completed nine for 147 yards and the one interception.
Kern Valley totaled 353 yards of offense in the victory. Kern Valley threw for 161 yards and the one scoring toss.
Kieran McCarthy led the Broncs in receiving with four catches for 49 yards. Lee and Ryan Walker each grabbed four passes for 44 yards. Lee had the touchdown grab. Vincent Pearman caught four passes for 15 yards, while Airian Navin hauled in one reception for nine yards.
The Broncs only had two players carry the ball the whole game. Preston and Pearman shared the rushing workload. Pear-man went for 100 yards on 17 carries, while Preston finished with 92 yards on 13 rushes.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncs were led by Sheldon Alley with eight tackles. Kenny Porter collected six tackles, while Lucas Harris and Pearman each had four tackles. Pearman pounced on the Royals fumble, while Harris picked off the Mission Prep pass. Tristen Kuiper, Walker, and Damon Sage each had three tackles, while Grimsby, Blake Kempster, and Ernesto Topete were credited with a pair of tackles each. Navin had one tackle to close out the defensive stats.
Head coach Ben Goffinet said, “I’m really proud of how the players responded to a rough couple of weeks. They have proven to themselves that they are capable of playing four quarters of football, and they stuck together throughout too. We’ll keep working hard to eliminate mistakes, but this week was a great step forward. They did a great job.”
Kern Valley (1-1) will now go on the road to McFarland as they take on the Cougars this Friday.