Wednesday, November 25, 2015 • 02:16

Turnovers, penalties lead to Jaguars' first football loss this season

September 16, 2013
For the third consecutive week, the Valley Center varsity football game came down to the final seconds.

August Fluegge (84) caught his first touchdown pass of the season. All photos by Dan Kidder/ Valley Roadrunner
But this time, the Jaguars wound up on the short end of a 23–20 score at La Jolla, as turnovers and penalties came back to haunt them in the loss.

The Jags turned the ball over four times — two interceptions, one fumble lost and a turnover on downs — and struggled with penalties throughout the game, most notably on a touchdown run that was called back for holding. The Jags also gave up six sacks in the game as the offense had trouble getting in sync.

The Valley Center defense was outstanding and kept the team in the game against a fast-paced Viking offense. But the combination of injuries and mistakes proved to be too much for the offense to overcome.

"We lost Anthony (Ricks, the number one receiver) and Jared (Gilster, the number two receiver) last week, so we had to mix up a lot of positions," head coach Rob Gilster said after the game. "The guys gave it a great effort, but we just made too many mistakes."

La Jolla led 7–0 at halftime and despite having its own difficulties with penalties, held a 13–7 lead after returning an interception for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Brad Dozier goes up for the pass on the final play of the game, but he was hit hard (watch online) and the ball was knocked loose.
Watch more footage from the game at Sports Editor Dan Kidder's YouTube channel.

Valley Center scored touchdowns on three different long pass plays, two of which went to Josh Lucas, in the second half. But the Vikings scored on a wide receiver reverse pass and still held a 23–20 lead after the Jaguars' final score of the evening came with 4:43 left in the game.

After scoring to pull within three with nearly five minutes left, the Jags forced a La Jolla punt and had 2:17 in which to drive for another score. But on the fourth play of the drive, quarterback Daniel DeLeon fumbled the snap and the Vikings recovered with 1:45 on the clock.

Luke Konyn can't quite pull down this high pass.
The Valley Center defense forced another punt, and the Jaguars got the ball back with 45 seconds remaining, having used their timeouts on defense.

But after taking a sack and missing on a pair of mid-range throws, the Jags had to go for it on fourth-and-18 with 30 seconds left. DeLeon threw deep to Brad Dozier, who had to jump up for the ball, and on his way back down he was hit, knocking the ball loose for an incomplete pass that gave the ball back to the Vikings.

Luke Konyn (6) stretches out for this pass.
"The defense had some big stops and we made some plays," Coach Gilster added. "We had John Cabrera knocking that ball away in the corner and August Fluegge coming up with a big touchdown. We knew La Jolla had some great athletes and we had to win by being disciplined. We just didn't do it."

DeLeon completed 14 of 34 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception. His favorite target was Lucas, who hauled in five catches for 145 yards and two scores, while Fluegge had three receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown, Dozier had three catches for 15 yards, Luke Konyn had two receptions for 13 yards and Dylan Chaffee had one catch for six yards.

On the ground, Dozier racked up 85 yards on 19 carries, while Jacob Cunningham had three carries for three yards after having a 16-yard touchdown run taken off the board by a holding penalty on the Jaguars.

La Jolla opened the game with the first possession and, utilizing a high-speed offense, promptly marched 93 yards down the field in only seven plays, taking less than two minutes off the clock, to score on a 45-yard touchdown pass to take a 7–0 lead.

Daniel DeLeon drops off a screen pass to Brad Dozier.
Neither team could put any more points on the board for the rest of the first half, though the Jaguars thought they had the game-tying touchdown late in the second quarter.

After a big gain by Dozier on a screen pass that set up a first down at the 16, Cunningham took the handoff and broke through the middle of the line, diving as he got to the goal line for what appeared to be a touchdown. But a holding penalty on Valley Center erased the score and set the Jags back with a first-and-20 from the La Jolla 26.

Two plays later, after an incomplete pass that sailed too high for Lucas, DeLeon tried to come back to Lucas on a post pattern, but with the defense bearing down on him, he lofted the pass too high and it was intercepted by the Vikings at their own three-yard line.

Valley Center's defense held strong after the turnover and the score remained 7–0 La Jolla at the half.

The Jaguars finally came up with an answering score on their second drive of the second half, as they went 41 yards in six plays to get a 34-yard touchdown pass from DeLeon to Fluegge that tied the score at seven with 5:41 left in the third quarter.

Daniel DeLeon threw for 236 yards and three touchdowns, but had a trio of costly turnovers against La Jolla.
The Vikings went for it on fourth-and-eight from the Valley Center 47 on the next drive, but a quarterback scramble came up just short and the Jags took over at their own 40.

Three plays later, however, the Vikings had re-taken the lead once again. DeLeon tried to complete a pass in the flat to his left, but the ball flew over the head of the intended receiver, where it was intercepted and returned 51 yards for a La Jolla touchdown. The Jaguars blocked an extra point for the third consecutive game, keeping the score 13–7 with just over two minutes left in the third quarter.

The Jags went three-and-out on the next series, and La Jolla came back with a six-play drive that ended in a 20-yard field goal after Valley Center cornerback John Cabrera broke up a fade pass in the back corner of the endzone.

The kick gave La Jolla a 16–7 lead with 11:31 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Valley Center's offense needed a big break to get out of a punting rut, and the special teams delivered a big play on the next series. After the Jags went three-and-out, they punted on fourth-and-13. But the Viking return man couldn't hang onto the kick, and Garrett Castner recovered for the Jaguars at the Valley Center 44-yard line.

Garrett Castner (75) came up with the loose ball after the Vikings muffed a punt.
From there, the Jags needed only one to score on a 56-yard touchdown pass from DeLeon to Lucas, as DeLeon saw the blitz and got the ball out quickly to Lucas, who simply outran the defense down the middle of the field for the score.

The Vikings blocked the extra point, however, and the score remained 16–13 with 9:33 left in the fourth quarter.

La Jolla came back with another scoring drive, this time covering 69 yards in nine plays and culminating in a bit of trickery. The Vikings ran a wide receiver reverse pass, and they completed a 22-yard pass in the endzone for a touchdown and a 23–13 lead with 7:20 on the clock.

The Jags wouldn't go quietly into the night, however, as they mounted another scoring drive in response. They drove 75 yards in eight plays for another touchdown pass from DeLeon to Lucas, this one for 30 yards, to pull back within three at 23–20 with 4:43 left in the game.

The Valley Center defense got a big stop on third-and-one, as Castner and Matt Barnes combined to stuff the run up the middle and force a La Jolla punt that was downed at the Valley Center 17 with 2:17 on the clock.

Garrett Castner (75) came up with the loose ball after the Vikings muffed a punt.
The Jaguars picked up a big chunk of yardage on first down when DeLeon threw deep for Dozier along the sideline. The pass was broken up and Dozier went down hard, but the Vikings were called for pass interference, giving the Jags a first down.

But four plays later, DeLeon lost the handle on the snap, tried to pick it up, bobbled it again and the loose ball got kicked around before La Jolla finally recovered at midfield with 1:45 left in the game.

Once again, the Valley Center defense stood strong and, with the help of some timeouts, forced a punt with 1:14 on the clock.

The Jags took over at their own 14 and completed a quick pass to Lucas that netted 29 yards. But they got into trouble after a sack on second down and wound up facing fourth-and-18 with 30 seconds remaining.

DeLeon threw down the seam for Dozier, who jumped up to try to bring in the high pass, but was hit hard in the back and couldn't hold on.

Josh Lucas outruns the defense on his way to a 56-yard touchdown reception.
The Vikings took over, and intended to take a knee to end the game. But the La Jolla quarterback took the snap and didn't drop his knee, so the Jaguars pushed through the line and tried to knock the ball away. The ball did come loose and the Jags argued that they recovered a fumble, but the referees deemed that the Viking quarterback was down and the clock ran out.

After their first loss of the season, the task doesn't get any easier for the Jaguars in the coming weeks.

They return home on Friday to face Mission Hills, the No. 2-ranked team in the county, before traveling to Poway next Friday night. Kickoff for both games is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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