TWENTYNINE PALMS — All things end.
After 14 years of ownership, the Twentynine Palms High School varsity football team, facing a stingy Trojan defense that left them scoreless in the second half, watched the coveted Kiwanis Club Bell return to Yucca Valley High School for the first time since 2004.
The Trojans beat the Wildcats 21-6 on the Wildcats’ home turf, Tom Nicoll Memorial Stadium Friday, Nov. 1, in a game which left the home crowd stunned and visiting Yucca Valley fans storming the field to be part of the moment when the Trojans reclaimed the bell.
After a scoreless first quarter the Trojans opened scoring with a 10-yard touchdown pass, on 4th down, with 7:19 to go in the half, giving the Trojans a 7-0 lead.
That score lasted until late in the second quarter when the Wildcats drove deep into Trojan territory and scored on a short touchdown pass in a play that began with two tenths of a second left on the clock.
The point after attempt, however, failed, leaving the Wildcats trailing 7-6 going into halftime.
The Trojans dominated the second half, scoring two touchdowns in the third quarter and holding their hosts scoreless to reclaim the coveted bell.
The win gives the Trojans a 7-0 Desert Valley League record and sole ownership of first place.
The loss gives the Wildcats a 4-3 league mark, fourth place.
Offensive leaders for the Wildcats were Chris Pacheco with 107 yards of total offense, and Chris Rantzow with five receptions for 96 yards. Estrada was 16 of 36 for 175 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively the Wildcats held Yucca Valley to 45 yards rushing in the second half, and 155 for the game.
Senior Jeremiah Kirk led the team with 10 tackles, and senior Matai Patu added nine tackles and two quarterback sacks. Kirk finished the season with the most tackles in the entire league with 85 total tackles in league play.
Junior Jordan Tua added seven tackles for the game and three tackles for a loss. Tua finished the season with the most quarterback sacks in the league after playing in just five league contests.
Seniors Eric Stone and Justin peters teamed up for 12 tackles as each player had 6 tackles for the game.
The Wildcats missed the playoffs for just the second time in the past 15 seasons, as Division 12 did not have any at-large places available.
The Wildcats still hold a 14-game lead in the Bell series with 33 wins to 19 for Yucca Valley.