The Palo Verde High School (PVHS) Yellow Jackets’ varsity football team returned to Scott Stadium in dominant form on Oct. 7, as the hometown squad delivered a 40-8 win over the visiting Holtville High School Vikings.
The conference game victory followed two road wins for PVHS, earning the varsity Yellow Jackets first place in the current CIF-San Diego Section (Division V – Desert League) standings.
“Big win,” noted PVHS Yellow Jackets’ varsity football coach Wally Grant post-game. “Our preseason set all this up. We had a very difficult preseason – and that was by design. To get us ready for league and do what we done last week; and do what we did again this week. We need to keep that going next week, and the following week and the following week. So, it all set up with the preseason and getting better – fixing what was broken in the preseason.”
To date, the Yellow Jackets’ 2021-2022 league record stands at 2-0 (overall, 5-2) with dominant conference wins over the Calipatria High School Hornets (42-6) on Oct. 1 and now Holtville.
“(Our rushers) are phenomenal athletes; but it starts with the big ones up front. The big ones are going to get these running backs (the) first three yards, and then the good running backs – that’s why their averages are eight, nine, ten (yards). Because they get through (those) three yards and (then) they’re in the linebackers, that secondary – being athletes, and getting by them. And proving they’re athletes,” noted Grant. “It’s ten so one can shine; and they’ve all bought into that. They know they’ve got to block hard for their counterparts and their counterparts know they have to block hard for them.”
Behind a ready and charging Yellow Jackets’ frontline, this season’s relentless rushing attack from standout juniors Markus Macon (2), Xzavier Bejarano (5), Xavier Gonzales-Piñon (23), and senior Aizik Gonzales (4) continued against Holtville – notching six touchdowns on the night for PV.
- Markus Macon (2): 11 carries; 147 yards (13.4 average); 2 touchdowns.
- Xzavier Bejarano (5): 19 carries; 157 yards (8.3 average); 2 touchdowns.
- Aizik Gonzales (4): 11 carries; 144 yards (13.1 average); 1 touchdown.
- Xavier Gonzales-Piñon (23): 4 carries; 23 yards (5.8 average); 1 touchdown.
- Devyn Nasca (22): 1 carry; 5 yards (5 average).
- Elijah Valdez (1): 1 carry; 5 yards (5 average).
- Gabriel Dagnino (12): 1 carry; 2 yards (2 average).
The Yellow Jackets’ total rushing came in at 483 yards on 48 carries (10.1 average), with 485 total all-purpose yards on the night – two of which came off of an interception by Yellow Jackets’ senior and defensive standout Anthony Richards (8) in the third quarter.
“Our quarterback (Rio Albanez ) – it’s not fun in this offense because he doesn’t get to throw the ball a lot; I feel bad for the young man because I wanted to throw the ball but we got up so big. It’s just not classy to throw when you’re up 30, 40 points,” noted Grant. “(Holtville) – they did what we anticipated; they tried, they battled. They’re coached well, they’ve got good players. We saw (against) Imperial, they had a chance of winning that game. (Holtville)’s a well-run program, and they gave us everything they had. Unfortunately (for them,) the ball went well for us tonight.”
On the defensive side of play, the Yellow Jackets’ total tackles were led by senior standout Nicolas Garnica (2 solo; 7 assists; with 2 tackles for loss), and junior playmakers Ian Maciel (3 solo; 6 assists; with 1 tackle for loss), and Gonzales-Piñon (2 solo; 6 assists).
The Vikings’ eight points came via a rushing touchdown and successful two point conversion at the 1:23 minute mark of the second quarter.
- Nicolas Garnica (65): 2 solo; 7 assists; 2 tackles for loss; 9 total.
- Ian Maciel (15): 3 solo; 6 assists; 1 tackle for loss; 9 total.
- Xavier Gonzales-Piñon (23): 2 solo; 6 assists; 8 total.
- Aizik Gonzales (4): 3 solo; 3 assists; 6 total.
- Markus Macon (2): 2 solo; 4 assists; 6 total.
- Xzavier Bejarano (5): 1 solo; 5 assists; 1 tackle for loss; 6 total.
- JC Phipps (88): 1 solo; 2 assists; 4 total.
- Anthony Richards (8): 1 solo; 2 assists; 3 total.
- Diego Rivera (40) 3 assists; 3 total.
- Parker Loureiro (62): 1 solo; 2 assists; 3 total.
- Carlos Gomez (55): 1 solo; 2 assists; 3 total.
- Landon Salazar (6): 1 solo; 2 assists; 3 total.
- Ty Phipps (11): 1 solo; 2 assists; 3 total.
- Dewey Shelton IV (50): 2 solo; 2 total.
- Jessie Flores (17): 2 assists; 2 total.
- Kyle Rivas (72): 2 assists; 2 total.
- Devyn Nasca (22): 1 assist; 1 total.
Total tackles on the night were 73 (21 solo; 52 assists; 4 tackles for loss).
The Yellow Jackets’ three sacks against Holtville were delivered by Ian Maciel (15), Parker Loureiro (62), and Nicolas Garnica (65), with Felipe Maciel (51) and Carlos Gomez (55) both having 2 hurries each.
Garnica and Gomez also led the team’s pancake blocks, both having 5 each. Additionally, Garnica forced a fumble which was recovered by Bejarano.
Next up for the Jackets is PVHS Senior Night on Friday, Oct. 15 (4 p.m., JV; 7 p.m., varsity), against the visiting Southwest EC Eagles in a non-conference game match-up at Scott Stadium (667 N. Lovekin).
The El Centro, Calif.,-based Eagles are currently 0-2 (5th) in the Imperial League, with an overall season record of 2-5 and coming off of three straight losses (vs. Santa Fe Christian on Sept. 17 [56-0]; Brawley on Sept. 28 [50-6]; and Calexico on Oct. 8 [25-15]).
Following the Oct. 15 game, the Yellow Jackets football program will be readying for this year’s Homecoming league match-up against the visiting Vincent Memorial Scots on Oct. 22.
For the most up-to-date schedules (subject to change), dates, times, and to keep track of the official PVHS Athletics’ calendar, visit: pvhs.pvusd.us/Athletics/Schedule
(Note: To view all of the photos, in color and high-resolution, visit and like the Times’ official social media page at: facebook.com/BlytheNews)