In this salute to teams we have categorized as medium or small schools based on competitive equity, enrollment and other factors, it’s a new feature this season pointing the spotlight on two of them each week who just had impressive outings on the football field. Congrats to new school Liberty of Winchester (medium) & St. Vincent de Paul of Petaluma (small).
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Medium Schools – LIBERTY (WINCHESTER)
In a way, it is not surprising at all the this new school, which opened a year ago in the huge population growth region of southwest Riverside County and will not have its first graduating class until 2024, has gotten out to a 3-0 start so far in its first varsity season. The head coach has been there, done that.
With no seniors on the roster, the Bison made it to 3-0 with a 34-27 triumph last week over Hemet. Their first two wins were 28-27 vs Valley View of Moreno Valley and 42-0 vs A.B. Miller of Fontana. They are in the Mountain Pass League of the CIF Southern Section with other schools that we consider “medium” based on school size and projected competitive equity.
Anthony Ruelas has been the team’s leading rusher and started this week with 422 yards and four TDs. Eddie Smith, also a junior, has been outstanding on both sides of the ball. He’s the leading tackler with 27 in three games and he had 11 carries for 110 yards and one TD in the season-opener.
New schools with no seniors usually don’t do as well as the Bison have done. The difference is that head coach Kraig Broach has taken on the task of starting the program from scratch. He did it previously when another school in the same district, Heritage of Romoland, opened in the late 2000s. By the time Heritage got rolling in 2010, it would go on to win eight straight league titles and it had one of the top win-loss records of any school in the state for the decade of the 2010s at 108-19.
When Broach resigned in March of 2020 just before the pandemic began, he had a 117-31 record in 12 seasons at Heritage. At the time he told the Riverside Press-Enterprise when asked if he’d ever coach again: “Who knows? Maybe after six months, I will be bored out my mind or my wife will be sick of me being around so much. Only time will tell.”
Well, the time came around for another new school to start a new football program and Coach Broach was ready to go.
ST. VINCENT DE PAUL
It’s been a couple of interesting road trips so far for head coach Trent Herzog’s squad, which won the CIF North Coast Section D6 title last season before losing to eventual state champion Argonaut of Jackson in the CIF D6-AA NorCal final.
The Mustangs began by going to another of the top small schools in the NCS, St. Bernard’s of Eureka, and recorded a 33-7 win. This last week, St. Vincent de Paul ventured in a completely different direction, Lake Tahoe, where they played Incline of Incline Village, Nevada, and rolled to a 45-0 triumph.
Returning RB Kai Hall, a four-year starter, along with senior QB Jaret Bosarge have led the charge for the Mustangs in the first two games. Hall had 12 carries for 153 yards and three TDs vs. Incline and he had 12 for 81 and two TDs in the opener. Bosarge completed six of eight passes for 176 yards and two TDs and he had a 69-yard run against Incline. Against St. Bernard’s, he went eight of 14 for 184 and two.
St. Vincent de Paul will have its first home game of the season this Saturday, but it will not be easy. The Mustangs are playing 2-0 St. Helena. The Saints also are the team that St. Vincent de Paul had to beat to win its NCS title and in the third game last year it was just a 14-13 triumph.