HEMET ---- West Valley overcame a halftime deficit with five second-half touchdowns and defeated Murrieta Mesa, 46-14, Friday night in the Rams' first varsity game.
But the large margin wasn't enough to satisfy West Valley coach Jason Thornburg.
"I'm thoroughly embarrassed," Thornburg said. "It has nothing to do with Murrieta Mesa, I think their kids played hard and played well. ... It's embarrassing. You can put that in the paper ---- underline it, bold, exclamation point. No disrespect to Murrieta Mesa, it's all us."
The Mustangs (1-1) had four turnovers, all in the first half, and were penalized 15 times for 180 yards.
"We're just undisciplined," Thornburg said. "It's my fault. It's a reflection of me."
He hopes the team can correct its errors.
"We're going to try to fix them. I hope they're fixable," he said. "We still made the same mistakes in the second half. We just ended up making more plays.""
Across the field, Justin Schaeffer was pleased with his young squad's debut performance.
"They played hard the whole game," Schaeffer said. "I was real proud of them for that. A lot of people expected them to be shell shocked and I think they came out and played like they weren't expecting to lose.They played expecting to win the game."
He said his team has time to improve before it starts play in the tough Southwestern League.
"We've got correctable errors, which is a good thing," Schaeffer said. "We did a lot of good things and I think the things that we did poorly, we can fix. I'm proud of these kids, they did well."
He didn't think his team of juniors and sophomores were worn out by the more experienced Mustangs
"We didn't tackle well, we didn't catch the ball well," Schaeffer said. "We put ourselves in bad positions. We got a couple good breaks and we capitalized on them in the first half and we really didn't get those breaks in the second half.
Mesa scored a touchdown on its first drive, and led 14-12 at halftime thanks to the West Valley turnovers.
But the Mustangs dominated the second half, scoring all five times they touched the ball, including a 75-yard interception return by Jonathan Davis.
Mesa never got much going in the second half, although backup quarterback Parker Erickson drove the Rams to the 9 in the waning moments before being intercepted.
Rams starting quarterback Chase Chambers had an effective passing night, going 19-for-33 with a touchdown pass and two interceptions. But the Rams had just 15 rushing yards on 10 attempts.
West Valley got 157 yards on the ground from sophomore Chris Anderson, who scored two touchdowns. Quarterback Jacob Mendenhall was 10-of-14 with one passing touchdown and two on the ground.
Mesa got of to a quick start, scoring less than three minutes into the game as Chambers connected with Khalil Sharpe on a 1-yard touchdown pass to cap an 8-play, 65-yard drive.
After West Valley closed to 7-6 on a 12-yard touchdown run by Brandon Green, Mesa went up by another touchdown when Jordan Arnett picked up a Mustangs fumble and raced 47 yards for a score with 2:37 left in the half.
West Valley closed with two, moving 67 yards in about two minutes before Mendenhall ran in from the 2-yard line to make the score 14-12 Rams at the half.