SACRAMENTO — Two was a good number for the Ponderosa High football team against Valley at Cosumnes River College Friday.
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Bruins quarterback Cody Chiverton threw two touchdown passes to wide receiver Josh Bist. Safety Conrad Washington had two interceptions that led to Ponderosa (2-0) posting a 35-0 win over Valley, which was playing its home and season opener.
Chiverton’s first touchdown pass came toward the end of the first quarter, with the Bruins ahead 14-0. Bist, standing in the back of the end zone, pulled in the ball from Chiverton for a 13-yard score. Chiverton, who completed 9 of 16 passes for 110 yards, received great pass protection from his linemen throughout the game.
“We have a lot of offensive linemen back,” said Ponderosa head coach Jason Tenner. “We’ve got some backs that are running hard. Our fly backs are doing good and our halfbacks and fullbacks are hitting the hole hard.”
Ponderosa scored on its first drive in the first quarter. Chiverton completed three passes for a combined 28 yards — two of those passes to Bist — that led to running back Austin Tibbs scoring from 5 yards with 8:35 left.
Within two minutes toward the end of the quarter, Ponderosa scored twice. After Bruin fullback Ryan Edelman scored on a 2 yard run with 3:29 left to increase the Bruins’ lead to 14-0, the Vikings got the ball back. That’s when Washington picked up his first pick, stepping in front of a Vikings receiver at the Vikings’ 34-yard line and returned it to the Vikings’ 24.
“The receiver ran a slant, ran right behind me,” Washington said. “I sat there and got the pick.”
That led to Chiverton tossing his second scoring pass to Bist, this one of 13 yards, with 1:49 left to give Ponderosa a 21-0 lead.
The Bruins increased their lead to 28-0 at the start of the second quarter when sophomore running back Kevin Ackernecht scored on a 16-yard run.
Washington’s second pick came in the middle of the second quarter. Watching Vikings signal caller Thaddeus Turner from the pocket, Washington stepped in front of another Vikings receiver for another interception.
“I was just watching his eyes the whole time,” Washington said. “Just looking at the receivers, reading them.”
Ponderosa outside linebacker Craig McKinnon recovered a Valley fumble at the Vikings’ 36 yard line led to the Bruins’ final score with 16.7 seconds left in the second quarter. On the first play from the line of scrimmage, Chiverton tossed a 36-yard pass to Bist, who ran a post pattern, for their second score. Curtis Goldsmith’s extra point was good, as well the other scores for Ponderosa, which did all of its scoring in the first half.
Tenner was pleased with the team’s continued growth in its second non-league game of the season.
“We have a lot of young kids, juniors and sophomores, who are playing minutes in key spots,” Tenner said. “Our season will be defined by how quickly they grow and mature to reliable football players. I told them (after the game) ‘if you guys want to continue to feel good on Friday nights, you need to continue to grow,’ and we’re growing at a faster rate. We’re continuing to improve.”
The positive growth showed toward the end of the third quarter. The Vikings’ offense moved the ball from their own 20 yard line to the Bruins’ 1 yard line in 11 plays. On fourth down and goal, the Bruins’ defense stuffed Viking running back Keylen Newscome at the one that forced a fumble recovered by Ponderosa, which had a mixture of starters and backup players on field during the stop.
“I was proud,” Tenner said. “We (the team) talked about it (after beating Natomas, 60-6 in season opener). We told the guys that the expectations are still the same; we expect everyone to put the helmet on and bring it.”
Washington added, “It was just solid defense. Everybody was doing their jobs.”
The Bruins’ defense forced the Vikings to punt four times and turned the ball over four times, including Washington’s picks and two fumble recoveries.
Game officials ordered a running clock in the fourth quarter that resulted in the game played in exactly two hours.
Ponderosa beat Valley 21-0 in the junior varsity game.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.