BY JOHN MURPHY
Versatile Brockton Lium threw for 182 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 146 yards and three scores to lead the Citrus Valley High football team past Beaumont 52-29 on Friday, Oct. 29.
The victory secured for the Blackhawks (8-2, 4-1) second place in the Citrus Belt League. Beaumont (7-3, 3-2) finished third.
Lium’s 4-yard touchdown run with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter put Citrus Valley ahead by nine points.
A subsequent 12-yard scoring pass from Lium to Sergio Cervantes and a 3-yard TD run by Jeremiah Claiborne put the game out of reach for Beaumont.
“I felt good that we won,” Citrus Valley coach Kurt Bruich said. “We didn’t play very well defensively, but we’ll fix those mistakes. Offensively, we established the run and we gained a lot of yards.”
Bruich complimented the play of offensive linemen James Burke, Jalen Moi and Janos Farkas, saying they picked up many blitzes by the Cougars.
The Cougars had their highlights. Sophomore quarterback Christopher Cooper completed 39 of 53 passes for 433 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored once on the ground.
Cooper completed 25 of his passes for 250 yards to senior Gabriel Nunez — the 25 receptions being a school record and the fourth-most in state history. Nunez now has 118 receptions and received the team’s “Rock” award for the game for his steady and outstanding performance.
Also excelling for Beaumont was Anson Kraut who caught 10 passes for 163 yards and two scores.
Citrus Valley’s Lium took over the quarterback duties after Hunter Herrera was injured against Corona Centennial.
He is also a standout safety on defense and is the team’s punter.
The Blackhawks’ Claiborne rushed for 202 yards and two scores.
Cervantes caught six passes for 91 yards and one TD and Michael Counce snagged three passes for 77 yards.
Citrus Valley is top-seeded in the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs. The Blackhawks host Apple Valley at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5.
The status of Apple Valley’s University of Michigan-bound quarterback Jayden Denegal is unknown.
He injured an ankle in the third quarter of the Sun Devils’ 21-14 loss to Oak Hills two weeks ago. The Sun Devils also could be missing star offensive lineman Raymond Pulido, who was injured late in the first half against Oak Hills and “carted off the field,” according to the Victor Valley Daily Press.
Beaumont travels to meet San Jacinto on Friday, Nov. 5 in a D5 playoff opener.
The Tigers handed Beaumont its first loss of the season during non-league play.
Banning routs Desert Mirage
Visiting Banning pounded a young Desert Mirage of Thermal team 34-0 on Friday, Oct. 29.
The Broncos scored a touchdown and a 2-point conversion in every quarter and added a safety in the first quarter when it took a 10-0 lead.
Salomon Nicolas rushed for Banning’s first TD and also ran for the conversion to give the Broncos all the points they needed.
“This is the first game we played without anyone quarantined (due to the coronavirus), so that helped,” Banning coach John Tyree said.
Erek Smith rushed for 101 yards for Banning and Kaden Tamez had 12 tackles, including three sacks.
Banning finished 2-8 in Tyree’s first year, including a 2-5 record in the Desert Valley League.
“It was frustrating,” Tyree said. “Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. We had a prairie fire, a rainstorm, we had players quarantined, and then grades came out and they’ll get you. But the kids who stayed with us did their best.”
But Banning had a freshman team for the first time in three years and the 82-year-old Tyree said that bodes well for the future.
John Murphy may be reached at email@example.com.