Using a balanced offense and a stout defense, Del Norte dominated the second half to thump Valley Center 31-7 in the teams’ Valley League opener at Del Norte on Friday.
With the victory, the Nighthawks (2-4, 1-0 Valley League) won their league opener for the first time in their five-year history.
“It’s a big win for the program,” Del Norte coach Leigh Cole said. “It’s the first time we’ve beaten Valley Center, and to be 1-0 in league is a great start for us.”
Led by senior Marc Gallant, who ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, the Nighthawks churned out 232 yards on the ground. Junior quarterback Parker Lappin threw for 167 yards and a score.
“We try to do whatever is working,” Cole said. “We’ve been working on passing a lot.”
The Jaguars (2-4, 0-1) dropped their fourth straight for the first time since 2002. They were held to 204 offensive yards — 81 on the ground and 123 in air — and one first-quarter touchdown.
The Nighthawks took a 10-7 lead into the half after a late trick play paid off. Marcel Peters hit Khan Pham Jr. with a 44-yard touchdown pass on a fake punt with 16 seconds left in the half.
Del Norte outgained Valley Center 243 yards to 84 in the first half, but the Nighthawks hurt themselves with seven penalties for 64 yards.