Poised and primed to make their Desert Valley League next week with some serious swagger, the host Shadow Hills Knights survived a second half scare from visiting Hemet High on Friday night before closing out the game with style in a 26-14 win.
Up 20-0 at half and having forced a Bulldogs’ three-and-out on the opening possession of the third quarter, an ensuing Knights’ option play gone awry led to Hemet finding the scoreboard with just under nine minutes to play in the third.
A Shadow Hills’ three-and-out on its next possession translated to a quick score for the Bulldogs, and what appeared a route suddenly tensed as the teams went to the final quarter.
And then Knights’ senior quarterback Seth Morales found a particularly opportune time to author his lone completion of the second half.
Standing at third down with seven to go from its own 18 and three minutes to play, Morales found senior wideout Scott Rissman for an electric 64-yard completion.
“We were looking for a first down, obviously,” Morales detailed. “I rolled out, the pressure was coming, I saw him (Rissman) downfield and let it fly. I didn’t want to force anything, cause a turnover, but they left him wide open, so we took it.”
Smiled Shadow Hills’ head coach Ron Shipley of the win-sealer: “That’s not what I envisioned.”
The non-conference slate completed with aplomb, the Knights now turn to compete in their first year of DVL.
“I think we’re confident heading into DVL,” said Morales, who formerly played in the league while attending Indio High. “We’ve been starting off games scoring on the first drive, but we just can’t let opponents catch up in the second half. We need to keep up our momentum and play all four quarters. We know we can compete with all the teams in the league; we’ve played a lot of the teams in recent years, so it’s not like we’re going into an unfamiliar situation.”
The Knights’ head coach agreed with his starting quarterback.
“Now the season really starts,” Shipley said. “We’ve used these first four games to get ready for it, we’ve really progressed and even though I’m disappointed how we came out in the second half tonight, we’ll focus on fixing that for next week and I hope we’ll come out strong for all four quarters against Cat City.”
Star of the Game – Kaleb Welmas
The Knights’ do-everything, dual-side threat led Shadow Hills in rushing with 81 yards on 15 carries, including an 18-yard touchdown run to seal the victory with 2:30 left to play. At the close of the opening half, Welmas took Shadow Hills to the locker room with a thrilling, 52-yard interception TD return to put the Knights’ up 20-0.
Unsung Heroes – Knights’ defense
The Shadow Hills defense forced six punts on the nights and intercepted Bulldogs’ QB Joey Iribe four times. Along with the Welmas pick-6, senior defensive back Matthew Kelsey had a pair of picks on the night while junior JD Lang also nabbed an interception.
Shadow Hills (3-1) makes its Desert Valley League conference debut next Friday night, with a 7 p.m. visit to Cathedral City (1-3). Considering shared opponents between the new league foes: Shadow Hills beat Tahquitz 41-21 on Sept. 9, while Cathedral City beat the Titans 28-13 on Friday night.
HEMET — 14
SHADOW HILLS — 26
Hemet 0 0 14 0 — 14
Shadow Hills 7 13 0 6 — 26
(SH) Lee Hawkins 2 run (Juan Sotelo kick)
(SH) JD Lang 33 pass from Seth Morales (Kick failed)
(SH) Kaleb Welmas 52 interception return (Juan Sotelo kick)
(H) Joey Iribe 1 run (Wyatt Salinas kick)
(H) Anthony Gonzalez 16 run (Wyatt Salinas kick)
(SH) Kaleb Welmas 18 run (Pass failed)
RUSHING (Carries-Yds) — H: Joey Iribe 12-52, Anthony Gonzalez 5-29, Dashon Rodgers 6-21, Jakob Jurado 2-13. SH: Kaleb Welmas 15-81, Lee Hawkins 10-53, JD Lang 5-22, Willie Hawkins 1-7, Albert Islas 1-5, Benjamin Valencia 1-5, Seth Morales 3-4.
PASSING (Comp.-Att- INT—TD- Yds) — H: Joey Iribe 10-36-4-0-90. SH: Seth Morales 7-17-0-1-145.
RECEIVING (Rec.-Yds) — H: Kyle Dewick 6-50, Anthony Gonzalez 4-30, Jakob Jurado 3-19, Kyle Serna 2-(minus 3), Joey Iribe 1- (minus 6). SH: Scott Rissman 3-89, JD Lang 2-45, Christian Mathews 1-6, Mathew Kelsey 2-5.