MISSION VIEJO — Capistrano Valley football bounced back from a tough loss to rally for a 38-28 victory against visiting Cypress on Friday.
Running back Jaden Cassidy and quarterback Trey Kukuk rushed for touchdowns in the fourth quarter and Dane Benedix added a key interception to help lift the No.15 Cougars, who trailed 13-0 early in the first quarter. They lost 67-47 last week to visiting Orange.
Benedix appeared to return a leaping interception 102 yards for a score with 5:14 left in the fourth but the ball was instead spotted at the Cypress 24-yard line. Four plays, Kukuk scored on a 1-yard run as Capistrano Valley (4-2) took a 38-28 lead.
The loss was costly for No. 13 Cypress (3-2), which lost standout quarterback Dylan Eldredge to an apparent leg injury in the second quarter.
Capistrano Valley linebacker Juan Segura was a defensive standout with four first-half sacks and two tackles for loss.
The offenses for both schools were the main draw entering the game. Capistrano Valley began the night averaging 36.4 points while Cypress came in at 36.
Cypress lived up to its reputation on its first possession as Eldredge tossed a 31-yard touchdown to running back Tomas Ramirez, who lined up at receiver.
After Cypress’ defense forced a second consecutive three-and-out, Eldredge rolled to his left and launched a 53-yard touchdown to wide receiver Trevor Monteleone. The extra point failed and the Centurions led 13-0 with 2:54 left in the first quarter.
Capistrano Valley received a spark late in the opening quarter from Benedix. The junior grabbed an interception on a reverse, flea-flicker and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown.
The back-and-forth scoring then began.
Capistrano Valley took a brief 14-13 lead after a 10-yard TD run by Kukuk after he briefly bobbled the ball.
Eldredge responded with his third TD pass of the opening half. He completed a short pass toward the sideline to wide receiver Devin Cobb, who zigzagged for a 50-yard score. Eldredge ran for a 2-point conversion as Cypress led 21-14.
Capistrano Valley tied the score at 21-21 as Kukuk threw a 44-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Benedix with six minutes in the half.
The Cougars appeared poised to take the lead going into intermission after Damien Berg recovered a muffed punt at the Cypress 3. But he Centurions’ defense made a goal-line stand, stopping a Kukuk run attempt on fourth-and-goal at the 1.
Next week, Cypress opens Empire League play against Crean Lutheran at Western. Capistrano Valley has a bye next week before traveling to rival San Juan Hills (0-5) to continue its nonleague schedule.
The Cougars open Sea View League play against El Toro on Oct. 15.