Monte Vista Christian junior quarterback Dominic Pierini attempts a pass against visiting Rancho San Juan High during the teams' non-league football game in Watsonville on Sept. 8. (Raul Ebio - The Pajaronian)

Monte Vista Christian football team last week was looking to keep its momentum rolling when it faced a challenging Pacific Coast Athletic League opponent in Rancho San Juan High of Salinas in non-league action. 

The Mustangs offense had a huge night in the air as junior quarterback Dominic Pierini finished the night with 426 yards passing and four touchdowns en route to a 31-16 victory over the Trailblazers on Sept. 8. 

Three of the four touchdowns were tossed to junior receiver Nico Downie who finished the evening with 10 receptions and 228 yards receiving. 

“It was just one of the nights that we were just really feeling it,” Pierini said. “Nico [Downie] and I have a strong connection.”

With the win, the Mustangs improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2016. 

“You know anytime you play a team from Salinas, it’s going to be a tough battle,” said MVC first-year head coach Spencer Ferrari-Woods. “Coach [Troy] Emery does a great job preparing his guys so I knew it was going to be another tough win.” 

MVC attacked through the air coming out of the gates in its first possession of the game. Pierini threw a 35-yard TD laser pass to Downie that gave them an early 6-0 lead.

“Pierini is getting better every week, he continues to show progress” Ferrari-Wood said.

The Trailblazers took their only lead, 7-6, of the game in their opening possession with a 27-yard touchdown run by Ian Ray in the first quarter.

It didn’t take long for the Mustangs to regain the lead. 

Pierini found Downie for an 8-yard touchdown pass just before the end of the first quarter and once for a 60-yard TD pass that gave MVC a 19-7 lead going into the break. 

“Our defense played really well, we still have some things to clean up but I’m proud of how our guys played tonight,” Ferrari-Wood said. 

RSJ made things interesting after cutting their deficit down to 19-13 following a 38-yard touchdown run by Julian Pineda to start the third quarter. 

However, it wasn’t enough to overcome a potent Mustangs offense that was too much for the Trailblazers. 

Junior Max Torres also had a big night on both sides of the field for MVC, hauling in two touchdowns receptions of his own and led the team in tackles on defense.

The Mustangs will have another tough task waiting for them as they travel to South Monterey County to take on Monterey High in the teams’ non-league finale at Monterey Peninsula College on Friday at 7:30pm.

MVC will be highly tested against the Toreadors, who are members of the top tier PCAL Gabilan Division.

“We got another tough matchup next week at Monterey, excited to see how we compete against a Gabilan division team,” Ferrari-Wood said.

MVC begins PCAL Mission North Division play against Seaside High on Sept. 22 at 7:30pm.

Week 2 Scoreboard  

At Mission College Prep 18, Aptos 15: Senior quarterback Matt Hood ran in a pair of touchdowns for the Mariners in their non-league loss to the Royals on Sept. 8.

Hood finished with 17 yards rushing on six carries, and completed 4-of-7 pass attempts for 44 yards passing and one interception. 

Fellow teammate Jordan Torres had a team-best 77 yards rushing on 10 carries, while Damian Suchil recorded one interception on defense for Aptos. 

The Mariners drop to 0-3 this season and are looking to bounce back strong against North Salinas High (3-0) in the teams’ non-league finale at Rabobank Stadium in Salinas on Friday at 7:30pm. 

Pacific Grove 34, at Pajaro Valley 0: The Grizzlies failed to put points on the scoreboard for a third straight game following a non-league loss to the Breakers on Sept. 9. 

PV (0-3) has been outscored 114-0 in 12 quarters this season but it will try to regroup in its preseason finale at St. Francis (1-2) on Saturday at 12:30pm. 

Greenfield 20, at St. Francis 14: Junior quarterback Javier Fonseca recorded a pair of touchdowns for the Sharks in their non-league loss in overtime to the Bruins on Sept. 9.

Fonseca—who also had a fumble recovery on defense—scored a rushing TD in the first quarter, followed by a touchdown pass to senior receiver Pedro Ibarra that gave St. Francis a 14-7 lead going into halftime.

Greenfield running back Naythen Hernandez tied the game at 14-all in the fourth quarter. Gilbert Snyder scored his second touchdown of the afternoon for the game-winner in overtime, helping the Bruins improve to 3-0 this season. 

The Sharks (1-2) will host Pajaro Valley (0-3) in the teams’ non-league finale Saturday at 12:30pm.

At Menlo 51, Watsonville 6: Junior receiver Patrick Miller-Brown scored the Wildcatz’s lone touchdown in a non-league loss to the Knights on Sept. 9.  

Watsonville (1-2) will host San Lorenzo Valley (1-2) on Friday at 7:30pm.

*Additional reporting by sports editor Juan Reyes

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