Bell-Jeff (3-2) wasted little time getting its offense going, as it started with an impressive scoring display.
Senior running back Bronson Ketchum took his first carry of the night 61 yards to the Mustangs’ 1-yard line, setting up first-and-goal for the Guards. On the ensuing play, Ketchum finished what he started by plowing his way through the defense for a touchdown.
The Bell-Jeff defense made quick work of Lucerne Valley’s first drive, forcing a punt after a three-and-out. Senior Phillip Diaz returned the punt 37 yards to set up the Guards in Mustang territory.
Senior quarterback Daniel Radoccia than lobbed a perfect 23-yard pass to Micah Shirley on the first play of the drive for the second Bell-Jeff touchdown.
That score opened up the floodgates, as Bell-Jeff forced turnovers and scored touchdowns in bunches leading to a 39-0 halftime advantage.
“We shut them down early and spread the ball around with runs and passes to jump out quick.” Bell-Jeff Coach Rolando Aguirre said.
Radoccia and Shirley both drew praise from Aguirre.
“I am really proud of the way Micah has been playing lately. He is making adjustments and really improving week to week,” Aguirre said of the sophomore playmaker.
“This is Radoccia’s third year with us and he is starting to really understand the game. He is peaking at the perfect time for us.”
Radoccia completed nine of 20 passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns, leading the offense to more than 300 yards with no turnovers.
Shirley hauled in a game-high seven passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns. He also added an interception.
Ketchum lead the Bell-Jeff rushing attack with 89 yards in 10 carries and two touchdowns.
Aguirre shut the offense down in the second half, as the Guards were ahead by a wide margin, forcing a running clock for the final two quarters.
Not to be outdone by the offensive showing, the Guards’ defense was flying around the field making plays.
Lucerne Valley senior running back Travis Everand came into the contest averaging 161 yards a game to go along with seven touchdowns. The Guards kept him out of the endzone, and the majority of his 140 yards came in the second half, with the game well out of reach.
Bell-Jeff senior defensive back Mike Magallon picked off a pair of Mustang passes and Ketchum returned an interception 42 yards for a second-quarter touchdown.
The Guards forced seven turnovers (four interceptions and three fumble recoveries).
“I am happy with the win, especially since we are going into our bye week, which gives us more time to prepare for league play,” Aguirre said.