Head coach Eric Peterson of the Vista Murrieta High football team always tells his players that even if they win a game by one point, that’s all that matters.
The Broncos didn’t win by one point when they played on Friday night at Capital Christian of Sacramento (they won 27-6), but to win at all after the bus trip they endured the day before on Thursday had to be a relief.
According to Peterson, the expected six to seven hour ride northward from Murrieta was fine until the group reached the Bakersfield area along Interstate 5 in Kern County.
“The bus broke down, it was 101 degrees outside and we were stuck there for four hours,” the coach said.
A new bus finally came, the players got all of their gear loaded, and the trip resumed. Not long after, some of the players got sick. It wasn’t from food, the coach thinks, but from something they drank. They had to stop again and it took another couple of hours for everyone to finish in the bathrooms. Fortunately, it wasn’t food poisoning, which caused a different game in the Sacramento area to be cancelled when the traveling team from Reno (Bishop Manogue) had too many players get sick before a scheduled matchup at Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills).
“Then we get back going again on the bus and I-5 gets shuts down for two hours (probably from an accident),” Peterson said. “What should have taken six hours took 15.”
Friday went more smoothly for the Broncos. Playing an opponent that was No. 4 in the Sacramento area in one poll and was champion last year in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs before losing to Wilcox of Santa Clara in the CIF NorCal D3-A title game, they nearly got a shutout until the Cougars scored late in the fourth quarter.
Vista Murrieta didn’t score itself until the second quarter when quarterback Robert Coleman ran for a 56-yard touchdown. The Broncos scored right away on their next series when a 60-yard pass from Coleman to Sean McDermott set up a 14-yard TD run by Raqueal Wagstaff. He would later score on a short run in the second half. Senior kicker Josh Baron also made two field goals in the second half, one from 50 yards out that bounced high off the crossbar and then went over and through the goalpost.
“We played very well on defense and were opportunistic on offense,” Peterson said. “We don’t have that killer instinct, at least not yet.”
The Broncos, who were No. 30 in this week’s State Top 50, will have their biggest test in their next game against No. 18 Norco, which beat No. 17 Rancho Cucamonga in a game many of those on the sidelines were following on their phones. Capital Christian has another step-up game next week as well when it faces Chandler of Chandler, Ariz., at the Brother in Arms Classic.