CHULA VISTA Chalk up one lesson learned.
Rebounding from a tough, one-win 2015 season, the Chula Vista Spartans opened 2016 with a hard-fought 35-30 nonleague victory over visiting Mount Miguel.
“These kids are very enthusiastic but they’ve not had much success,” said Spartans coach Daryl Butterfield. “We have to teach them how to win. This will show them all the hard work in the off season was all worth it.”
Mount Miguel got on the scoreboard first when Joel Baes booted a 33-yard field goal with 3:41 left in the first half to cap a 16-play scoring drive.
Just five plays later Chula Vista took a 7-3 lead when quarterback Paul Escobar connected with Sergio Figueroa out of the backfield for a 35-yard TD.
After the Matadors took the lead back on a 10-yard run by Shemar Greene, the Spartans scored back-to-back TDs to take a 21-10 halftime lead.
First it was Daniel McPherren going in from 27 yards out with 7:19 left in the half and Figueroa getting his second TD of the night on a 7-yard carry with 1:50 left in the half.
They would never relinquish the advantage.
The Spartans got second half scores by Stewart on a 7-yard run and a 67-yard TD strike from Escobar to a wide open McPherren.
The Matadors threw in a late scare after Valadez broke free for a 72 yard TD run with 3:27 left to play. It came on the heels of a Greene 3-yard score two minutes earlier.
Mount Miguel’s last-second drive ended after a Greene fumble 30 yards short of the end zone on a fourth-and-long.