Football

Desert Mirage football loses, but gains a moral victory

It was a night of firsts for the Desert Mirage football team.

The Rams scored their first touchdown of the season and they held their first lead. Unfortunately, they also experienced their first moral victory.

Outscored 150-0 in its first three games this season, Desert Mirage put up a fight against visiting Palo Verde Valley, but fell short, 30-24, in a non-conference game.

“It’s definitely a confidence booster,” Desert Mirage junior quarterback Adrian Guzman said. “We know what we’re capable of.”

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Nick Gil, of Desert Mirage High School runs for yardage against Palo Verde Valley during the Rams game at home in Thermal.

Nick Gil, of Desert Mirage High School runs for yardage against Palo Verde Valley during the Rams game at home in Thermal.

Playing in his first game of the season at quarterback after recovering from a fractured fibula suffered in spring practice, Guzman finished with 21 carries for 92 yards and two touchdowns to go along with a pair of two-point conversion runs.

With Frolian Rodriguez, Nash Tebelak, Kevin Cabrera, Bernardo Lino, Antonio Gil and Luis Godinez doing the dirty work up front, the Lions (0-4) rushed for 293 yards on 60 attempts.

“There are a lot of positives,” Desert Mirage coach Jeff Tebelak said. “It’s the first time we’ve competed this year. We had an opportunity to win. It was good to compete and see the kids working hard and not giving up. It just shows that we have tough kids who want to work.”

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Palo Verde (4-0) won its sixth game in a row going back to last season.

Nick Gil, of Desert Mirage High School runs for yardage against Palo Verde Valley during the Rams game at home in Thermal.

Nick Gil, of Desert Mirage High School runs for yardage against Palo Verde Valley during the Rams game at home in Thermal.

After losing a fumble inside the Palo Verde 20-yard line on the fifth play of the fourth quarter, the Desert Mirage defense made up for the miscue. On the next play, junior cornerback Fernando Rivera intercepted Palo Verde quarterback Mauro Rivera and ran untouched for a 20-yard touchdown. Guzman’s two-point conversion run gave the Lions their second lead of the night at 24-22 with 9:09 remaining.

The Yellowjackets took the lead right back with a crisp four-play, 55-yard scoring drive. On the go-ahead 12-yard TD, Rivera completed a short pass to Bryce Callaghan, who alertly pitched the ball back to Terry Daniels before being tackled and Daniels ran the final nine yards with 8:02 to play.

Desert Mirage had two more possessions after that, but the Rams were forced to punt with just over four minutes left and simply ran out of time after taking over at their own 20 with 1:23 left and no timeouts and no passing game.

Palo Verde scored the game’s first two TDs – the second on a 25-yard fumble return by Cesar Ruiz with 1:04 left in the opening quarter.

Desert Mirage High School's defense stops a run against Palo Verde Valley during the Rams game at home in Thermal.

Desert Mirage High School’s defense stops a run against Palo Verde Valley during the Rams game at home in Thermal.

The Rams finally reached the end zone when Guzman capped a 12-play, 71-yard drive with a 1-yard keeper with 7:24 to play in the second quarter. Raul Flores added the two-point run.

Desert Mirage opened the second half with an 11-play, 73-yard scoring drive that was culminated on a 2-yard run by Guzman, who also added the two-point run to make it 16-14 with 5:33 to play in the quarter.

Up next

Desert Mirage closes out its non-league slate by taking on another Imperial Valley League foe when it travels to Calexico on Friday, Sept. 23.

PALO VERDE VALLEY 30, DESERT MIRAGE 24

Palo Verde          14           0             8             8 — 30

Desert Mirage    0             8             8             8 — 24

First quarter

(PV): Mauro Rivera 1 run (Matthew Crawford run), 2:16

(PV): Cesar Ruiz 25 fumble return (run failed), 1:04

Second quarter

(DM): Adrian Guzman 1 run (Raul Flores run), 7:24

Third quarter

(DM): Guzman 2 run (Guzman run), 5:33

(PV): Bryce Callaghan 3 run (Callaghan run), 3:23

Fourth quarter

(DM): Fernando Rivera 20 interception return (Guzman run), 9:09

(PV): Terry Daniels 12 pass from Rivera after lateral from Callaghan (Chase Schriner pass from Rivera), 8:02

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Palo Verde, Bryce Callaghan 11-50, Mauro Rivera 9-17, Matthew Crawford 1-3. Desert Mirage, Adrian Guzman 21-92, Nick Gil 19-77, Francisco Ponce 9-68, Jaime Serrano 5-29, Raul Flores 3-23, Jesus Gutierrez 2-8, team 1-(-4).

PASSING—Palo Verde, Rivera 9-16-1-118. Desert Mirage, Guzman 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING—Palo Verde, Bryce Callaghan 4-66, Clay Krisell 3-20, Julian Hill 2-24, Terry Daniels 0-8.

Nick Gil, of Desert Mirage High School runs for yardage against Palo Verde Valley during the Rams game at home in Thermal.

Nick Gil, of Desert Mirage High School runs for yardage against Palo Verde Valley during the Rams game at home in Thermal.

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