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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Rancho Cucamonga dominates football rival Upland

Upland >> Rancho Cucamonga’s soccer team picked a good time for their best game of the season.

After briefly trailing in the second quarter, the Cougar scored 28 unanswered points in Upland’s 34-7 baseline league on Friday night.

“That was our best game. We have a really young team and we want to play our best football in the league,” said Rancho Cucamonga coach Brian Hildebrand.

The Cougars (4-4, 1-1 league overall) win next week with rivals Etiwanda (8-0, 2-0) at stake in first place. Upland dropped 5-4, 2-1.

“We’ve just kicked our butts,” Upland coach Darryl Thomas said. “He out-coached us and out-coached us.”

Rancho Cucamonga’s passing attack was particularly powerful on Friday as Xavier Washington threw three touchdown passes: two to Jonah Dawson and one to Dylan Maldonado.

Upland lost a fumble in his opening possession and the Cougars took advantage of a 1-yard run with Nehemiah Harrison for a 6–0 lead.

The Highlanders replied with a 74-yard touchdown drive after the Cougar swung the ball down the aisle. Upland took the lead 7-6 when Sean York found Dominic Cox for a 30-yard touchdown pass.

Rancho Cucamonga answered with two Washington-to-Dawson touchdown passes. The first was 19 yards and the second was the best catch of the year for 14 yards just before half. Dawson, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, knocked out two defenders behind the end zone and made a one-handed catch.

“My toes were just inches off the line,” Dawson said. He said, ‘This is the best catch I have caught in the game. I went up with both hands but for some reason my left hand did not stay up and I grabbed it with the other hand.

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The catch didn’t surprise Hildebrandt.

“He does this all the time in practice,” he said.

After going 20-7 at halftime, Upland had a chance to get back into the game on the opening drive of the second half. But on third and 21 on 21, trailing Ricky Allen lost a fumble at 13.

The Cougars nearly took the game into possession next, but just as Washington was about to cross the goal line, he stumbled and Edward King recovered in the end zone.

“We’ve left out a few points there. We need to get better with it,” Hildebrandt said.

Washington’s third touchdown pass, 18 yards to Maldonado, and a Deshan Boyd touchdown run limited the scoring.

Upland was playing for the season without his number 2 rusher, Jr. Zivan Ardins. Thomas declined to comment on why Ardennes did not play.

“We have to be ready for Atiwanda (in two weeks),” Thomas said.

Dawson said there was some extra inspiration this week.

“We thought we had to win. We can’t lose this game,” he said.

Now it’s on to Etiwanda for Rancho Cucamonga.

“We have to have a Division 1 mindset,” Hildebrandt said. “That’s how we played tonight. We know Etiwanda are undefeated and they’re going to be tough.

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