Fountain Valley High football coach Jimmy Nolan is a tough man to satisfy, but even he had to admit that his team’s start has been remarkable.
Decimated by injuries in the preseason, the Barons have performed in the face of that adversity.
Fountain Valley defeated Woodbridge 35-20 on Friday night at University High, sending the Barons to their first 3-0 start since the 2009 season.
“I’m ecstatic,” Nolan said. “I’m really proud of the boys. I feel like since I’ve been at Fountain Valley, this is one of our biggest wins. I’m proud of them.”
Senior running back Mathew Fuiava had 18 carries for 166 yards and two touchdowns. He has been one of the unsung heroes of the Barons’ hot start to the year.
“He’s like the bricks of our house right now,” Nolan said of Fuiava. “He was a third-string back a couple of months ago, but he just kept working hard. He played JV last year.
“I tip my hat off to that kid. I can’t say enough about him. If we’re going to be good this year, it has to be the unexpected guys that step up. He hasn’t only stepped up, he’s carrying us.”
Both of Fuiava’s touchdowns came on short-yardage runs inside the five-yard line, with the Barons lining up in a heavy set with two lead blockers in front of Fuiava, who took the direct snap and crashed into the end zone.
“We felt skill for skill, Woodbridge is just as good as us this week, but we felt we had bigger, stronger kids,” Nolan explained. “I thought if I bring in nine of my bigger, stronger kids versus their 11, they’re going to have four of their [defensive backs] who are not part of that mix.”
Fountain Valley and Woodbridge (1-2) wanted to play at a fast pace, but the offenses did not cooperate in the early going. The two teams combined for 10 possessions that resulted in just a 23-yard field goal by Woodbridge’s Jakob Trestik in the first quarter.
Max Hanson intercepted Warriors quarterback Kyle Hurry on the one to keep the Barons’ deficit at 3-0.
Fuiava’s first score was answered by 39-yard field goal from Trestik, but the Barons extended their lead to 14-6 going into halftime with a six-yard touchdown from Josh Stupin to Noah Karliner.
Fountain Valley’s defense kept the Warriors from finding the end zone until the fourth quarter. Tyler Le had 2½ sacks, including one where he came in untouched off the left end.
“It wasn’t a designed blitz,” Le said. “I knew that tackle couldn’t block me, and I told our safety, ‘Hey, I’m going. Get the tight end,’ and I just knew that it was going to be there.”
After Fuiava’s second touchdown extended Fountain Valley’s lead to 21-6, the game opened up. Woodbridge’s Jacob Nash caught a pair of touchdowns, but the Barons responded on the next drive on both occasions.
Stupin finished with 259 passing yards and three touchdowns. Brandon Krause, who had 11 catches for 154 yards, had a 16-yard touchdown over the middle early in the fourth quarter.
“All of our receivers, we know how to get open,” Krause said. “It’s really tough to guard us, so when we get open and we get the ball in our hands, we’re going to be very dangerous.”
Kishaun Sykes also caught a ball over the middle. When it appeared that he would be tackled, he kept his balance and spun out of the grasp of his defender for an electrifying 51-yard touchdown to put the game on ice.
“Kishaun is a special player,” Stupin said. “All the college coaches, they need to be on high alert, no matter what they think about him on first look. You’ve got to know that he is a straight baller and that he is the leader of this team.
“He does special things that nobody will ever do, so I’ve got to give big credit to Brandon and Kishaun.”
Fountain Valley 35, Woodbridge 20
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Fountain Valley 0 – 14 – 7 – 14 — 35
Woodbridge 3 – 3 – 0 – 14 — 20
W – Trestik 23 FG, 10:23.
FV – Fuiava 1 run (Wright kick), 10:33.
W – Trestik 39 FG, 6:13.
FV – Karliner 6 pass from Stupin (Wright kick), 4:05.
FV – Fuiava 5 run (Wright kick), 6:32.
W – Nash 3 pass from Hurry (Trestik kick), 8:56.
FV – Krause 16 pass from Stupin (Wright kick), 6:15.
W – Nash 16 pass from Hurry (Trestik kick), 4:23.
FV – Sykes 51 pass from Stupin (Wright kick), 3:29.
FV – Fuiava, 18-166, 2 TDs.
W – Hurry, 9-47.
FV – Stupin, 17-29-1, 259, 3 TDs.
W – Hurry, 23-46-2, 2 TDs.
FV – Krause, 11-154, 1 TD; Sykes, 2-65, 1 TD.