HUNTINGTON BEACH — The way things were going for Fountain Valley during the first half of Friday's nonleague football game against Downey, all signs pointed to a runaway victory for the Barons.
The Barons bolted to an early lead and had a shutout going midway through the third quarter but somehow, had to fend off a late charge by the Vikings to come away with a 24-10 victory at Huntington Beach High's Sheue Field.
Fountain Valley executed on offense in the opening half, but never really got things going in the second half. Penalties hurt the Barons who almost allowed Downey to climb back into contention.
"It was a tale of two halves," said Fountain Valley Coach John Shipp whose Barons won their third straight following a season-opening loss to Foothill. "We did not play well, at all, offensively, in the second half. Our defense stepped up all game, and we were able to hold them off at the end. Credit Downey, too. They never gave up after falling behind like that."
Fountain Valley (3-1) built a 24-0 lead on the Vikings (2-2) when quarterback Chris d'Entremont hit receiver Jason Baker with a 13-yard touchdown pass with 6:07 left in the third quarter. The Barons appeared in cruise control at that point, but the Vikings came right back.
Thernen Moore returned the ensuing kickoff 72 yards before being hauled down at the Fountain Valley 25-yard line. Four plays later, running back Brandon Davis walked into the end zone from four yards out, to make it 24-7. Fountain Valley's Isaiah Davis then ran the following kickoff back 99 yards for an apparent touchdown, but the runback was negated by a holding call against the Barons.
Downey got the ball back two minutes later and pulled to within 24-10 with 26 seconds left in the quarter on a 41-yard field goal by Mario Galvin. The Vikings had a golden opportunity to further cut into the deficit when Jeremy Villa recovered a fumble by d'Entremont at the Fountain Valley 30 just 11 seconds into the fourth quarter. The Vikings, however, moved backward. A false start, illegal block, and offensive pass interference calls, took the ball back to the 49, and the possession ended with 9:52 remaining.
Downey, whose only loss entering Friday's game was a one-point setback two weeks ago to La Serna, the top-ranked team in the CIF Southeast Conference, again moved deep into Fountain Valley territory midway through the quarter. After a two-yard run on first down from the 15 by Davis, quarterback Conor Hill threw three straight incompletions including a fourth-down throw that sailed out of the end zone.
Fountain Valley took over with 4:31 left, and preceded to run out the clock.
"Our defense did a real nice job of shutting them (Downey) down there at the end," Shipp said. "They had several chances to get back into the game, but our guys came up big."
Fountain Valley scored on its opening possession. The Barons methodically marched downfield and scored on a three-yard touchdown pass from d'Entremont to Jacob Church. The Barons defense also came up with two big plays in the first half, both by Sal Ochoa.
Ochoa recovered a fumble to set up Fountain Valley at the Downey 13. The Barons couldn't move the ball, and Derek Huynen's 36-yard field goal attempt, off a high snap, went wide left with 4:44 left in the first quarter. Ochoa also put the Barons back in scoring position when he returned an interception 14 yards to the Downey 39. This time, the Barons took advantage, as d'Entremont hit a wide open Baker in the back of the end zone on a 16-yard scoring pass, to make it 14-0.
With time running out in the half and out of timeouts, Fountain Valley was able to get on the scoreboard once more. A 22-yard punt return by Baker put the Barons at the Downey 36.On first down, d'Entremont hit Ryan Finley on a 25-yard pass play at the 11. After two incomplete passes, d'Entremont was dropped for a five-yard loss with 19 seconds left in the half. Huynen hustled on to the field and with just barely enough time to set up, he calmly nailed a 29-yard field goal as the first-half clock expired.
Baker not only scored the only touchdown of the second half for the Barons, but he also set up the score when he gained 50 yards on a reverse that took the ball out to the Downey 24. One play later, he took in a 13-yard scoring pass from d'Entremont to make it 24-0.
Fountain Valley closes out nonleague play next Friday at Trabuco Hills.
"They are a well-balanced team," Shipp said of the Mustangs who on Thursday defeated Huntington Beach. "It will be another tough test for us."
Edison 6, Servite 0: The Chargers, ranked second in the Southwest Division, ran their record to 3-0 by shutting out the host Friars at Cerritos College. The loss dropped Servite to 1-2.
Ocean View 49, Cerritos 0: Luis Nunez got his first victory as head coach at Ocean View as the Seahawks (1-2) whipped the visiting Dons (0-4)
San Juan Hills 28, Marina 7: The visiting Vikings (2-2) had their two-game win streak snapped in a nonleague loss to the undefeated Stallions (4-0).
Trabuco Hills 35, Huntington Beach 14
Idle: Brethren Christian
Next week's games:
Mater Dei vs. Edison, 7 p.m., (at Orange Coast College)
Fountain Valley at Trabuco Hills, 7 p.m.
Westminster at Huntington Beach, 7 p.m.
Sherman Oaks vs. Marina, 7 p.m. (at Westminster High)