Prep Football: Titans face Broncos in regular-season finale
By Michael Bower
The last two meetings between the Poway High and Rancho Bernardo football teams have been blowouts — last year in favor of the Titans (35-2) and the year before the Broncos (28-3).
Friday’s showdown (kickoff at 7 p.m.) between the two sure seems to have the makings of another lopsided game.
Rancho Bernardo enters with a 1-8 overall record and has lost three straight, while Poway has a 7-2 record, has won five in a row and is the fifth-ranked team in the San Diego Section.
But despite the fact these two crosstown rivals have been going in opposite directions this season, there is one common bond: both need no motivation to put their best effort on the field for this one.
“Every week we try to come up with some things to motivate the team,” said Poway coach Damian Gonzalez, whose squad can nail down a second straight outright Palomar League title with a win. “But this is the week where we do not have to motivate them. Players will have their own motivation.”
That’s because many of the players on the two sides have been competing against one another for the past nine years. Whether it was in Pop Warner, Little League, lacrosse or basketball, these kids have built one intense rivalry.
This regular-season finale could be just what the Broncos need to prepare for a possible playoff game next week. Despite just the one win, Rancho Bernardo is currently ranked No. 9 in Division II by MaxPreps, which is good enough to get into the 12-team playoff field.
The Broncos will be up against arguably the top run defense in the county so finding room for Ivy Adair could be a challenge. The senior workhorse has had a phenomenal season, rushing for 1,358 yards on a North County-leading 194 carries.
Poway is preparing for its own Division II playoff run. A win for the Titans likely locks up the No. 3 seed and assures the Titans a first-round bye and a home game. Poway knows it has some things to work on if it plans to compete with top-ranked Oceanside, No. 2 Helix and No. 7 La Costa Canyon in the playoffs.
“We cannot turn the ball over; throwing interceptions and fumbling at the goal line just made last week’s win really sloppy,” Gonzalez said. “We also had over 100 yards of penalties and that disrupts the flow of what we do. So we need to work on holding the ball and eliminating those unforced errors.”
This is the last chance to work on those things. After this week, it’s win or go home.
Rancho Bernardo (1-8, 1-2) at No. 5 Poway (7-2, 3-0), Friday 7 p.m.
Last week: Rancho Bernardo lost to Westview 41-14; Poway d. Carlsbad 35-13.
Notes: The last time this crosstown rivalry produced a close game was back in 2006, when RB edged Poway 48-47. Every game after that has been won by double-digits, including last year’s 35-2 win by Poway. The teams have split the last eight meetings. … The Titans are unquestionably the stronger team this year. With a win, they claim the outright league championship for a second straight year. Poway has won five straight behind its defense and special teams. Last week, the Titans turned three Carlsbad fumbles in the first quarter into 21 points and Ryan Sharpe returned a punt 62 yards for a score. … The Broncos have just one win, but are still playing for a position in the Division II playoff field. RB enters ranked No. 9 in Division II by MaxPreps. … Expect a ferocious Poway defense to add to its highlight reel in this one.
Prediction: Poway 42, Rancho Bernardo 7.
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- Prep Football: Rancho Bernardo High falls 41-14 to Westview
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