YUCCA VALLEY — The Yucca Valley High School Trojan football team squeaked past the Shadow Hills Knights of Indio 31-28 in their homecoming game and season opener Friday night, Oct. 5.
Shadow Hills scored on their second play from scrimmage on a 60-yard run. The Trojans settled for a field goal, then Shadow Hills was on the board again with another touchdown with 2:08 left in the first quarter.
Senior wide receiver Brian McGowan took the ensuing kickoff all the way down the field but Yucca flubbed the extra point to trail 14-9. The second quarter was scoreless. The Yucca Valley offense posted 185 yards in the first half while Shadow Hills put up 182 total yards.
During the half-time pageantry, McGowan and Kiarra Mora were crowned homecoming king and queen.
Jimmy Kieffer hauled in a touchdown toss to give the Trojans the lead early in the third quarter.
The Trojans were likely practicing penalty-free football during their off-week. They received just two penalties Friday compared with nine penalties in the first half alone against the Indio Rajahs in their last game.
Junior quarterback Bradley Soares was much more confident in his running game this week. Good blocking allowed the quick QB to open up on the field for a few big gains in the second half.
Shadow Hills racked up their third TD to steal the lead at 16-21 with 11:49 left in the third quarter.
Shadow Hills running back James Toland was a veritable steam roller throughout the evening, running the ball in with under four minutes left in the game to give the Knights a 12-point advantage.
The Trojans converted a crucial fourth down with a pass to Brandon Lopez, then junior running back Logan Vallo ran in a touchdown. A 2-point running conversion by Soares narrowed the Trojan deficit to four points at 24-28.
A successful onside kick put Yucca Valley in possession at midfield. It was homecoming king McGowan’s night as he grabbed a deflected 50-yard pass and found the zero yard line to put Yucca on top of the scoring.
Shadow Hills posted 317 offensive yards while Yucca accumulated 415 total yardage.
The Trojans were outscored 70 to 9 in their last two outings against the much bigger teams of Barstow and Indio after chalking up pre-season victories against Xavier Prep of Palm Desert and Rosamond.
Through the end of last season, Cannavo has posted a 21-25-2 record in his five years as Trojan football head coach.
The win moves the Trojans to 3-3 this season.
The team travels to Thermal Friday to face Desert Mirage.