Walnut football wins league title, defeats Diamond Bar in Branding Iron clash – San Gabriel Valley Tribune


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DIAMOND BAR >> It took 18 years, but you can call the league champions the Walnut football team.

Ruben Rivera ran for 190 yards on 23 carries and scored three touchdowns to lead the visiting Walnut to a 27-17 victory over Diamond Bar in the Hacienda League Championship game on Friday night.

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 notoriety in the region, having suffered many winless seasons in the past 10 seasons.

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

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

  • Salvador Quintanilla de Walnut, left, is sacked by Victor Flores of Diamond Bar during the Branding Iron rivalry match 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) hits an assist during the Branding Iron rivalry match 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) fights Walnut’s defense as he carries the ball 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 Ruben Rivera (3) is congratulated by Caleb Del Pozo after scoring a touchdown against Diamond Bar in the Branding Iron rivalry match 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 match 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 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 grass as he charges across the pitch during the Branding Iron rivalry match against Walnut at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, collaborating photographer)

  • Ryan Lewis (18) of Diamond Bar steps back to pass during the Branding Iron rivalry match against Walnut 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, hangs on the ball as it 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)

  • Daniel Sanchez (23) of Walnut congratulates Caleb Del Pozo (4) after Del Pozo scores a touchdown against Diamond Bar in 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 Elias Riojas (24) carries the ball against Diamond Bar during the Branding Iron rivalry match 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 match 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) enters the end zone to score a touchdown against Walnut in 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 pulled down by his helmet as he charges through the Diamond Bar defense during the Branding Iron Rivalry match at Diamond Bar High School in Diamond Bar on Friday, October 29, 2021. (Photo by Trevor timbre, collaborating photographer)

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

“My goal before this game was to score a few touchdowns and I was able to do it,” said Rivera. “Since our first year, we’ve been talking about a night like this. We got together and succeeded.

Friday night’s game featured two opposing polar offensive shots. It was Walnut’s double-winged racing attack against Diamond Bar’s offensive plan.

At the end of the night, Walnut had 322 yards on offense, including 288 rushing.

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

The Mustangs did a good job containing Diamond Bar (5-5, 2-1) running back Mikey Gorbea II. The senior amassed 126 rushing yards on 20 carries. Quarterback Ryan Lewis was 12 of 28 for 180 yards with two touchdowns and one 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, led the Mustangs 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 in his first practice when Ryan Lewis connected with Kai Jenkins for a 32-yard touchdown with 10:07 left in the first quarter for a 7-0 advantage. .

Diamond Bar hosted a rally at the end of the fourth quarter with Lewis connecting again with Jenkins for a 36-yard pass with 3:20 remaining in the fourth quarter that reduced the Mustangs’ lead to 20-17.

“I’m so proud of these guys and 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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