Walnut Football Wins Championship, Beats Diamond Bar in Branding Iron Clash – Pasadena Star News

DIAMOND BAR >> It’s taken 18 years, but you can call Walnut’s football team league champions.

Ruben Rivera rushed for 190 yards on 23 carries and scored three touchdowns to lead the visiting Walnut to a 27-17 win over Diamond Bar in Friday night’s Hacienda League championship game.

It was the program’s first league title since 2003 when the Mustangs (7-3, 3-0) were part of the San Antonio League. The victory capped Walnut’s return to prominence in the region, having suffered numerous winless seasons over the past 10 seasons.

  • Walnut’s Caleb Del Pozo (4) returns the ball to Ruben Rivera (3) during the Branding Iron rivalry game at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Diamond Bar??? Ryan Lewis (18) attempts to pass during the Branding Iron vs. Walnut rivalry game at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Walnut’s Salvador Quintanilla, left, is sacked by Diamond Bar’s Victor Flores during the Branding Iron rivalry game at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Diamond Bar’s Kai Jenkins (8) looks for a pass during the Branding Iron rivalry game against Walnut at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Diamond Bar’s Mikey Gorbea II (4) battles against the Walnut defense as he carries the ball during the Branding Iron rivalry game at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, collaborating photographer)

  • Walnut???s Ruben Rivera (3) is congratulated by Caleb Del Pozo after scoring a touchdown against Diamond Bar during the Branding Iron rivalry game at Diamond Bar High School on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Photographer Contributor )

  • Walnut fans cheer on their team as they take on Diamond Bar in the Branding Iron rivalry game at Diamond Bar High School on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Walnut’s Elias Riojas (24) celebrates after intercepting a fly ball intended for Diamond Bar’s Maddox Bernardino (3) during the Branding Iron Rivalry match at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar on Friday, October 29, 2021 (Photo by Trevor Stamp, collaborating photographer)

  • Diamond Bar’s Mikey Gorbea II (4) falls to the turf as he charges across the court during the Branding Iron vs. Walnut rivalry game at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Stamp , collaborating photographer)

  • Diamond Bar??? Ryan Lewis (18) backs up to pass during the Branding Iron vs. Walnut rivalry game at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Diamond Bar’s Kai Jenkins, left, holds on to the ball as he is tackled by Walnut’s Ruben Rivera during the Branding Iron Rivalry match at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar on Friday, October 29, 2021 (Photo by Trevor Stamp , collaborating photographer)

  • Walnut’s Daniel Sanchez (23) congratulates Caleb Del Pozo (4) after Del Pozo scored a touchdown against Diamond Bar during the Branding Iron Rivalry game at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, contributing photographer)

  • Elias Riojas (24) of Walnut carries the ball against Diamond Bar during the Branding Iron rivalry game at Diamond Bar High School on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Walnut???s Ethan Acosta-Elizalde, center, charges across the field during the Branding Iron rivalry game against Diamond Bar at Diamond Bar High School on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Diamond Bar’s Kai Jenkins (8) comes in the end zone to score a touchdown against Walnut during the Branding Iron rivalry game at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

  • Walnut’s Ruben Rivera (3) is taken down by his helmet as he charges through the Diamond Bar defence??? during the Branding Iron Rivalry Match at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Timbre, Contributing Photographer)

The 5-foot-7 Rivera, a senior, proved too much for the Diamond Bar defense to handle. His second touchdown came on a 54-yard run with 2:46 left in the fourth quarter that secured the Walnut victory.

“My goal going into this game was to score touchdowns and I was able to do that,” Rivera said. “Since our freshman year, we’ve been talking about a night like this. We got together and we succeeded. »

Friday night’s game featured two polar opposite offensive schemes. It was Walnut’s double-wing running attack against Diamond Bar’s extended offensive scheme.

By the end of the night, Walnut’s had 322 total rushing yards with 288 of those yards rushing.

“We talked to the kids and said it was going to take a little longer all night,” Walnut coach Eric Peralta said. “We just needed to be the best version of ourselves and be physical like we are.”

The Mustangs did a good job containing Diamond Bar running back Mikey Gorbea II (5-5, 2-1). The senior amassed 126 rushing yards on 20 carries. Quarterback Ryan Lewis went 12 of 28 for 180 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

The Mustangs didn’t attempt a pass in the first half and rushed for 135 yards. Rivera, who rushed for a team-high 84 yards in the half, put the Mustangs ahead with a 1-yard run with 5:50 left in the second quarter for a 13-10 lead.

Diamond Bar’s only first-half touchdown came on his opening practice when Ryan Lewis connected with Kai Jenkins for a 32-yard touchdown with 10:07 left in the first quarter for a 7-point advantage. -0.

Diamond Bar staged a rally late in the fourth quarter with Lewis connecting again with Jenkins for a 36-yard pass with 3:20 left in the fourth quarter that cut the Mustangs lead to 20-17.

“I’m so proud of these guys and I love them to death,” Peralta said. “They did everything we asked them to do. It’s a great group of players. “

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