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Murrieta Mesa football holds off Palm Desert…

09/14/2019, 9:45am PDT
By Greg Williams

Rams were determined to notch their first victory

MURRIETA –  Murrieta Mesa had never been in this position in the ten years of its football program, losing the first three games of the season.

And behind a dominating third quarter on both sides of the ball, the host Rams were determined to notch their first victory, which they did, defeating Palm Desert 21-16, Friday night.

Murrieta Mesa (1-3) couldn’t celebrate the victory, however, until the final seconds of the game. Palm Desert (2-2) had the ball at the Rams’ seven yard line facing third-and-goal with 20 seconds remaining when the defense forced a fumble and Ari Collins recovered securing the win.

“We have played some very good teams so far,” said Murrieta Mesa coach Darrel Turner. “We had to get the confidence going and get ready for the Southwestern League.”

Trailing 9-7 at half, the Rams scored touchdowns on their first two possessions of the third quarter to take a 21-9 lead. On their first drive, quarterback Colby Moran hooked up with receiver Reshawn Burleson on a 41-yard score, and the next time they touched the ball, Andrew Morris sprinted 81 yards for a touchdown.

The defense held Palm Desert to three yards in total offense in the third quarter, and in the second half, held the Aztecs for zero or negative yards on 11 plays, including three sacks.

“We challenged the coaches and challenged the kids,” said Turner. “The kids stepped up and I am so proud of them. We got the right chemistry going.”

Palm Desert took a 3-0 lead in the second quarter on a 33-yard field goal by Joshua McIlroy, but six plays later, Moran found a wide open Burleson for a 57-yard touchdown.

But the Aztecs regained the lead, 9-7, late in the second quarter on an 11-yard touchdown run by quarterback Zavier Hill-Kemp.

The Rams had numerous opportunities in the first half, but turned the ball over twice and missed a field goal.

Moran finished the night completing 21 of 36 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns, while Burleson led all receivers, hauling in eight passes for 163 yards and two scores.

Palm Desert was led by running back Simon Gaete, who picked up 119 yards on 20 carries, including a 56-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Hill-Kemp added 114 yards on the ground on 17 carries.

Tag(s): V Football