Prep Football: Rancho Bernardo High faces Del Norte in crosstown showdown
By Michael Bower
The Del Norte High football team drew the tough task of trying to slow down Valley Center receiver Michael McInerny — one of the best in the county — last week.
It didn’t go well, as McInerny burned the Nighthawks for 209 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches to lead the Jaguars to a 44-26 Valley League victory over Del Norte.
This week’s assignment doesn’t get any easier.
The Nighthawks (2-4) will have to try to find a way to slow down Rancho Bernardo (1-5) running back Ivy Adair in order to pull out their first victory on the gridiron over the Broncos in school history.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Del Norte High.
“We need to stop that Adair kid,” Del Norte coach Leigh Cole said. “We will have to stop the running game, if we want to win.”
Adair, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound workhorse, has rushed for 652 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. The senior is fourth in the North County with 1,033 yards rushing on the season. He rushed for a school record 370 yards against San Marcos two weeks ago.
The Nighthawks, only in their third year of existence with varsity football, have shown flashes of success stopping the run this season. But they are still allowing 180 yards per game on the ground and 4.8 yards per carry.
“As a program, we always want to stop the rush first and then hopefully get pressure on the quarterback,” Cole said. “We did a good job stopping the run last week, we just didn’t get much pressure on the quarterback.”
Del Norte inched closer to taking down crosstown rival Rancho Bernardo last season. The Nighthawks fell 35-30 in a sloppy game that had a combined 28 penalties. The Broncos easily handled the Nighthawks in the two teams’ only other meeting two years ago, beating them 38-6.
But there is no question the gap has been closed since then; and the Nighthawks would like nothing more than to hand the Broncos their sixth loss of the season.
“It’s a natural rival game for the kids because they know each other and a lot of them would be going to Rancho Bernardo,” Cole said. “From a coaching standpoint, we just try to prepare our kids to win. It’s like any other game.”
Del Norte will be without usual starting quarterback Isaiah McDonald for the third game in a row. He is out with a dislocated collarbone. The Nighthawks will likely rely heavily on running backs Mark Gallant and George Liang. Jared Skinner could also see some touches.
Gallant, a 5-foot-9, 165-pound elusive back, has picked up the pace recently. He rushed for 158 yards and a TD two weeks ago and went for 107 yards and two TDs last week.
“He has not surprised us at all,” Cole said of Gallant. “We knew he was going to be effective. We are excited about the durability and explosiveness he brings to our team.”
The Nighthawks will need every bit of it Friday night. The Broncos got their first win of the season last week and are hoping to keep the ball rolling this week.
“It is going to be a well-fought game,” Cole said. “Rancho Bernardo has a great program. It has been around a long time. This is a natural rivalry and we expect a big crowd and an exciting game.”
- Prep Football: Previews, predictions for Week 7
- Prep Football: Adair’s school-record 370 yards rushing not enough in Broncos’ 27-26 loss to San Marcos
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