Jake Nyberg, a 6-foot, 185-pound receiver with the gift of grab, stood on the Orange Glen sideline Friday night and dropped in a little reminder.
“Hey, we’re Palomar League champions,” he said. “This feels great.”
Only moments before, the clock had run out on Orange Glen’s 35-13 victory over San Dieguito, a triumph that clinched Orange Glen’s first league championship since 1977.
Cree Morris, Orange Glen’s senior quarterback, threw 4 touchdown passes, and Dennis Esposito, Orange Glen’s senior fullback, rushed for 95 yards and scored 2 touchdowns. The Orange Glen defense limited San Dieguito to less than 100 yards until it no longer mattered.
Coach Dave Lay had designed a game plan that left no question marks in the minds of his players.
“Nothing they did surprised us,” Morris said.
But some of the things Nyberg did were surprising. At least to those who don’t get to see him every week.
Nyberg caught 8 passes for 93 yards and scored a touchdown. A moderate night for the county’s second-leading receiver, except that all but perhaps 1 of his 8 receptions bordered on the spectacular.
Nyberg stretched, tip-toed and leaped. The balls thrown by Morris always stuck in his hands.
In the fourth quarter, he jumped for a pass thrown over the middle. San Dieguito safety Brian Thistle undercut him and sent Nyberg flipping over top. He hung on.
On the other sideline, San Dieguito Coach Ed Burke had to be concerned, because 4 of his offensive starters, including tailback Bobby Davis, missed the game with the flu. But afterward, he was only concerned with speaking about Nyberg.
“He’s the best I’ve seen,” Burke said.
San Dieguito (6-2, 3-2) tried to cover Nyberg all night and most of the time failed. And when the Mustangs did succeed, Orange Glen burned them anyway.
Twice, Morris was supposed to throw underneath to Nyberg on short crossing routes. But with the San Dieguito secondary pulled in, Morris threw over top.
The results were a 39-yard touchdown pass to Esposito in the second quarter and a 48-yard scoring pass to Chris Ybarra in the third.
Nyberg scored his touchdown in the second quarter on a “7" route.
“They call it that because I run towards the sideline and then cut back and it looks like a seven,” Nyberg said.
It also produces 7. With Orange Glen leading, 14-7, Morris dropped back from the San Dieguito 3 and waited for Nyberg to finish his “7".
The throw was low, but Nyberg dove and caught it to give Orange Glen a 21-7 halftime lead.
Nyberg was running the same pattern again in the third quarter when Morris saw he was covered and threw deep to Ybarra behind the San Dieguito defense. Ybarra raced the rest of the way to make it 28-7.