Hillcrest and Ramona girls flag football teams split doubleheader – Press Enterprise
RIVERSIDE — A rivalry might have been born Tuesday evening.
The Hillcrest and Ramona girls flag football teams squared off in a River Valley League doubleheader and emotions ran extremely high during and after the game. Ramona won the opener, pulling out a 12-6 victory in triple overtime when Akayla Chaple connected with Ava Wallace on a 5-yard touchdown. Hillcrest earned a split with a 12-6 decision of its own, as Nayomi Pryor scored the decisive touchdown on a 21-yard run.
“It was everything I expected and more,” Hillcrest coach Marcus Pallares said. “It was two very talented and competitive teams going at 100 miles an hour. Both games were very exciting and went down the wire.”
Hillcrest and Ramona remain tied for first and could meet again in 2 1/2 weeks at the league tournament.
“I love seeing them competing at this level,” Ramona coach Kelly McAllister said. “Each one of the girls put their blood, sweat and tears on the field. It great to see the high level of play on both sides of the field.”
Ramona (14-7 overall, 7-1 in league) moved the ball well on its first two possession of the opening game but ultimately turned the ball over on downs. The Rams finally broke the deadlock with 5:04 remaining in the first half when Wallace took a pass from Chaple, avoided a flag pull and raced away for a 43-yard score.
Hillcrest leveled the score at 6 when Nicole Riddell connected with Emma Wall for a 1-yard touchdown with 5 seconds remaining in the first half. That also was the first drive the Trojans managed to gain a first down.
Ramona nearly pulled off a stunner on the final play of the half. Jasmin Campos got past the secondary and appeared to score a 60-yard touchdown. But the score was negated by penalty for flag guarding.
The defenses shined in the second half and the first two periods of overtime, with neither side scoring.
Ramona faced fourth down in triple overtime, and Wallace hauled in the catch to give the Rams the victory.
“There was a lot of pressure, I just had to lock in and do what I had to do for the team,” Wallace said.
Ramona outgained Hillcrest 324-88 in the first game, with Chaple completing 24 of 44 passes for 302 yards.
Hillcrest (13-5, 7-1) grabbed a 6-0 lead in the second game when Riddell connected with Alexandra Sanchez for a 2-yard touchdown late in the first half. Those two hooked up for a 22-yard completion earlier in the drive.
An interception by Sanyah Stewart gave Ramona a short field early in the second half and the Rams cashed in that turnover and pulled even on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Chaple to Campos with 13:45 remaining.
Hillcrest’s defense picked off three passes in the nightcap. And the third one, by Za’nylah Jackson, came with about 5 minutes showing on the clock. The Trojans faced third-and-goal from the Ramona 21, and Pryor took a handoff on a reverse, avoided any flag pulls and scored the winning touchdown with 2 minutes left to play.
“We keep things pretty simple on offense, but I figured we had to throw in a little more razzle-dazzle,” Pallares said. “We threw that in the playbook last week. She (Pryor) has the speed to make that a very special play.”
Chaple completed 20 of 33 passes for 181 yards in Game 2, giving her 483 yards during the doubleheader.
Wallace caught 14 passes for 135 yards over the two games, while Campos had nine catches for 147 yards. Campos and her twin sister, Jayla, each had an interception in the opening game for the Rams.
Jackson had two interceptions in the second game for Hillcrest. Robin Galindo and Mariah Manzo also intercepted passes for the Trojans in the doubleheader.
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