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SIMI VALLEY – On more than one occasion against the Simi Valley High School football team, the Yorba Linda Mustangs turned a Pioneers’ mistake into points in its 33-17 win at Bob Jacobs Memorial Stadium on Friday.
“Against a good football team you can’t make mistakes like we did,” said Simi Valley coach Jim Benkert. “That’s a good football team. You gotta play your ‘A’ game against a good football team and we weren’t close to playing that type of game, and the score indicates that.”
The first big mistake came with just under a minute to go in the first quarter. After allowing six first downs during a game-opening drive for a touchdown, the Pioneers (3-2) defense forced a punt on its second time on the field. A fumble on the return set the Mustangs (5-0) up with a first-and-goal situation.
Senior quarterback Reyn Beal pushed the lead to 13 when just two plays later he threw a touchdown to JJ Conrad. An interception late in the quarter set Yorba Linda up with another short field – and four plays later senior running back William Saucedo (13 carries, 95 yards) scored his second rushing touchdown of the day.
The first drive after halftime lasted just 51 seconds, ending with a Simi Valley punt.
“Our defense is getting better every week,” said Yorba Linda coach Jeff Bailey. “They’re flying around. We have some young guys, especially inside, and they’re playing better each week. It’s been awesome.”
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On the next play, Beal eluded would-be tacklers in the backfield before connecting with tight end Jayden Flaig, who broke a tackle of his own before streaking to the end zone for a 47-yard touchdown.
“We needed to drive the football,” said Benkert. “It’s a combination of things. We tried to come out and throw the ball in some areas we thought we could be successful in and we weren’t. We didn’t get open, we didn’t do the things we needed to do and consequently we punted the football away.”
Facing a fourth-and-3 at the 50-yard line later in the quarter, the Pioneers failed to convert, turning the ball over on downs. The Mustangs again made them pay on the very next play.
Junior Jason Escovar broke free from tacklers in the backfield before going 50 yards to paydirt and a commanding 33-7 lead.
“It’s hard to drive the ball in high school, so the big plays are huge,” Bailey said. “They helped us out a lot. “
Senior standout Caleb Alvary had eight catches for 65 yards, but was limited to just one rush and was held out of the endzone for the first time this year.