For three quarters Beaumont High School’s game plan appeared like it could upset the visiting Yucaipa’s scoring machine. Unfortunately for Beaumont, football is a game of four quarters and the Thunderbirds used every last second of the fourth quarter, exploding for four touchdowns in the final 11 minutes of the game to defeat Beaumont 28-0.
Yucaipa improves to 5-0 and has the luxury of a bye on Oct. 7 before starting Citrus Belt League play on Oct 14 at Eisenhower.
Before Clayton Leach-Mead ran for two touchdowns and threw one to Chayse Dunn, all of Yucaipa’s highlights were performed by its defense, who earned its third shutout.
After being replaced as the punter early in the game, strong safety Steven Best took it out on Beaumont’s running backs. Best applied some serious tackles that put second thoughts into the mind of Beaumont’s backfield.
Beaumont had to absorb other hits from Ben Swinford, Ryan Calbreath, Blake Saenz, David Trujillo, Wyatt Hauso, and Aaron Garcia. Nate Pascale laid it to all five of Beaumont’s running backs. Calbreath’s jarring tackle and Pascale’s subsequent fumble recovery led to a 63-yard scoring drive, capped by Austin Doty’s two-yard run to make it 14-0.
None of Yucaipa’s defensive plays were flashier than the one by Cody Richardson with 4:27 left in the game. Richardson ignored a fake by Cougars’ Josh Martin and plowed into the junior quarterback, getting the sack and causing a fumble which he recovered at the 10-yard line. “My first thought was ‘I better pick it up,’” said Richardson.
“I could have scooped it up and ran it in, but I thought I better play it safe and let our offense takeover.” Leach- \Mead scored on the next play, making it 21-0 with 4:21 left.
Yucaipa Coach Justin Price credited Beaumont with a “great game plan” that threw his team off balance. “We knew they would put every body in the box, but they did other things totally different from what we expected,” said Price. “Our game plan was to run and wear them down. I was very confident that we would do that but we put the game away defensively.” Price called Best a safety with a linebackers mentality. “He just shrugs things off. I love that kid,” said Price.
Yucaipa finally broke through with under 11 minutes left in the game when Leach-Mead completed a 14-yard pass to Justin Rude at the 18-yard line. Leach-Mead ran in the score on the following play to give Yucaipa a 7-0 lead. Five minutes later, Doty scored. After Leach-Mead scored following Richardson’s recovery, the T-Birds made it 28-0 when Leach-Mead completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Dunn with 22 seconds left.
“The turnovers built our confidence and killed theirs. We were slow in the first half,” said Hauso. “We came out twice as hard in the second half,” said Conor Johnston. “We’ve never seen the double-wing before and we had to adjust to it. We got a little mad about it.”
Yucaipa was held to 24 total yards in the first half and managed just one first down. Beaumont had 55 yards at the half. “We started blocking better on the outside in the second half and opened up some lanes for our runners,” said Hauso. Pascale said that his team didn’t take Beaumont lightly. He called them tough kids, “who we wore down until they had nothing left.” Beaumont’s All League two-way standout Angel Wilson said that Yucaipa’s constant pressure finally won out. “Yucaipa kept the tempo and they never gave up. They got the turnovers and capitalized,” said Wilson.
Beaumont (1-3) had a chance to take the lead midway through the second quarter when Wilson ran for a first down to the Yucaipa 14. The T- Birds had originally stopped Beaumont on the play, but one of the refs blew his whistle by mistake, thus causing a replay. Instead of going for the first down again, Beaumont attempted a field goal and missed a 30-yarder with four minutes left in the half. Overall, Beaumont was held to 70 yards rushing on 40 attempts and completed 2-of-8 passes for 15 yards. The Cougar’s biggest single gain was eight yards.
Leach-Mead led the T-Birds by gaining 57 yards on 12 carries. Leach-Mead had minus-5 net yards at the half. He also threw for 97 yards on 6-of-16 attempts, and was intercepted once. Doty gained 27 yards on 10 carries and hauled down a 39-yard reception deep in Beaumont territory.
With the game scoreless late in the third quarter, Yucaipa’s Gary Davidson had an apparent 59-yard touchdown run called back on a holding call.