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La Habra quarterback Zach Fogel (15) runs for a touchdown on a keeper as they play Murrieta Valley in their CIF semi-final game at La Habra High School on Friday November 25, 2016. (Photo by Keith Durflinger/Whittier Daily News/SCNG)

Murrieta Valley's offense too much for La Habra

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

LA HABRA – La Habra won’t get the chance to play for a CIF-SS title again this season.

Murrieta Valley’s offense proved too much for the Highlanders on Friday night, and La Habra will be sitting home the first weekend in December following a 63-42 loss at La Habra High.

The Highlanders (8-5) won the Southwest Division title last season with a last-second 27-yard touchdown pass to Prince Ross to beat San Clemente, 39-36, but next week it’ll be Murrieta Valley hosting San Clemente in the title game.

“If we would have got the ball out to our receivers a little more, and our line would’ve done a little bit better, we probably would have done way better,” Ross said.

Ross scored on an 80-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter that trimmed the lead to 35-28, but the Nighthawks scored their sixth touchdown in the first half in the closing seconds to retake a two-touchdown lead.

Murrieta Valley (11-2) then took the second-half kickoff and marched down the field for another touchdown, stretching the lead to 49-28, and La Habra never got closer than 14 the rest of the way.

La Habra junior quarterback Zach Fogel completed 12 of 25 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns. Ross’ 79 yards on the ground led the Highlanders, and he also had two catches for 58 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown that trimmed the lead to 14 midway through the third quarter.

“They got the ball to me a little bit and I made things happen,” Ross said.

After the Highlanders tied the score at 21 on a 44-yard touchdown run by Fogel with 10:37 left in the first half, Murrieta Valley running back Olita Palmer, who rushed for 272 yards on 38 carries and scored five touchdowns, showed his quickness by bouncing a run outside and speeding down the sideline for a 25-yard touchdown.

The Nighthawks then came up with their second stop of the first half, and the offense again had little trouble finding the end zone as Marquis Spiker caught his third touchdown pass of the first half on a 4-yard throw from Hank Bachmeier for a 35-21 lead. Bachmeier, a sophomore, was 23 of 27 for 305 yards and five touchdowns.

The Highlanders came right back on the 80-yard touchdown run by Ross.


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