PARKER — Pomona football continued its mastery of the Class 5A Mt. Evans League on Friday night.
The Panthers, No. 1 in the CHSAANow.com 5A football poll since early September, rolled to another conference victory. Pomona (8-1, 4-0 in league) defeated No. 10 Chaparral 40-7 on the road at EchoPark Stadium.
“We needed a big game like this to get us back in that, ‘Pomona Football’ mindset,” Pomona senior defensive end Brandon Micale said.
Pomona has now outscored its four league opponents 187-28.
“They come to play every night. They aren’t worried about who they are playing. They just come to play and that is what we need to do,” Pomona coach Jay Madden said with one week left of the regular season before playoffs begin. “There are a lot of good teams out there. We are going to have our work cutout for us. We are going to enjoy this one.”
Pomona’s defense enjoyed itself Friday night in spoiling senior night for the Wolverines. If not for a 72-yard touchdown pass from Chaparral senior quarterback Taden Blaise to junior Peyton Ross that included a rare miss tackle by the Panthers, Pomona would have likely shut out Chaparral.
“It was a missed sack on a scramble play, besides that, the defense played great,” Madden said of the Wolverines’ lone score.
Helping Pomona to the victory was touchdowns on defensive and special teams. Senior Uriah Vigil intercepted Blaise on the opening drive of the game and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown at the 7:39 mark in the first quarter.
“We manned up on them. We had watched it on film and sure enough, it was there,” Vigil said of his interception when he jumped a route in the flat. “It was a momentum change right off the bat.”
A two-yard touchdown run by Pomona senior Cameron Gonzales and a pair of field goals by senior Tyler Thimsen pushed the Panthers’ lead to 20-7 at halftime.
Junior Max Borghi made his presence known in the third quarter. After sending several punts out-of-bounds with Borghi as the returner in the first half, Chaparral decided to punt to Borghi after the Wolverines’ first offensive possession stalled in the third quarter.
After Borghi initially dropped the punt, he eluded a few defenders and returned the punt 64 yards for a touchdown with 7:28 left in the third quarter to put Pomona up 27-7.
Pomona quarterback Ryan Marquez connected with sophomore Billy Pospisil for a 28-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-down play in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter to make the score 34-7.
The defense came up with one last big play with Vigil grabbing his second interception on the night. Take out the 72-yard pass play in the first quarter, Pomona’s defense held Chaparral to under 150 yards of total offense.
“We know our defense needs to be a big factor in every game,” Vigil said. “As soon as we get rolling and then our offense gets rolling, it’s all over after that. We are hard to stop when we get some momentum.”
Pomona’s back-up quarterback Colten Muller put the icing on the cake with a 36-yard touchdown run with under two minutes to play to make the final score 40-7.
The victory over Chaparral marked the third victory over a top-10 team in the ranking this season for Pomona. The Panthers had already defeated No. 2 Mullen and No. 7 Valor Christian. Pomona’s lone loss this season was to Georgia’s Glynn Academy in a game that was played in Florida.
Pomona will attempt to run its winning streak to eight and more importantly clinch an automatic postseason berth when the Panthers face Cherokee Trail at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at the North Area Athletic Complex. Pomona would win the Mt. Evans League title and earn one of the automatic bids given to the seven 5A conference champions.
Chaparral closes out its regular season on the road against Hinkley next Friday night before learning its playoff fate when the 16-team state field is released Nov. 6.