Looking to extend its perfect season with hopes of a Division II title run, Valley Center wasn’t expecting a twin killing at the hands of El Capitan on Friday night.
But Chase and Chance changed all that.
The Lovato twins from El Capitan, identical in most every way, stole the show and the game as the Vaqueros upset Valley Center 14-13 in a rare summer rainfall at El Capitan.
Chase Lovato had two interceptions. The first was a pick-six from 37 yards to give the Vaqueros (1-2) a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. The second was a touchdown-saving pick in the end zone in the third quarter as the Jaguars (2-1) looked to retake the lead.
Late in the fourth quarter, Chance Lovato took a chance on a blitz and made a huge sack for a 9-yard loss that left Valley Center with a fourth-and-16 from the 34-yard line. On the next play, Chance stepped in front of a pass at the 7-yard line for a game-saving interception.
“I knew I had to do something to make myself stand out,” Chance said. “I couldn’t let (Chase) get all the love.”
Said Chase, “I love playing with my brother, and this is our senior year, but we’re super competitive.”
El Capitan was playing without four starters and its junior quarterback, Wick Hauser, who is nursing a tender shoulder. Coach Ron Burner was forced to start Antonio Olivieri, who is listed as a tight end and defensive end on the roster and played nearly every snap on defense against the Jaguars.
Olivieri completed 11 of 21 for 97 yards.
“We got outcoached, and we got outplayed,” Valley Center coach Rob Gilster said. “It’s as simple as that.”
Valley Center tallied first. The Jaguars’ Keith Vasquez made a nifty catch from Rikki Mazzetti in the back right corner of the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
But El Capitan showed some grit in the first half and clung to a 14-13 lead.
El Cap’s Star Iuli scored on an 8-yard run, and Chase Lovato’s interception return made it 14-7.
Mateo Sinohiu had a 51-yard scamper to set up his 4-yard TD to make it 14-13, but the Jaguars couldn’t convert the PAT kick.
Sinohui finished with 32 carries for 159 yards.
Lindgren is a freelance writer.