Wildcats defeated in Delano

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Varsity Wildcats fighting for the ball.  Photo by Kailee Gaylord

Delano wins the coin toss and came out with a reverse that turned into a 60-yard run. The Wildcats were able to put up a fight in the red zone and almost stopped the Thunderbirds on the 4th down. Strategic field position gain the Thunderbirds a first and the next play scores up the middle with a two-yard run. Thunderbirds take the lead scoring the first touchdown of the night

Wildcats received the kickoff and returned the ball to the 30-yard line. Massey and Veach run the ball but the ‘Cats end up punting it away. Taft springs to life after a 40-yard run, shutting down the Thunderbirds’ two middle plays and two pass plays to turn over on downs

Bryce Veach, a Sophomore and a force to be reckoned with on the field, shined in the game against Delano. Energized Wildcat offense looked to Veach to run for a first down and reception that he turned into a touchdown. Veach has been known to not let the competition, no matter how strong, rattle him.

5:23, 1st quarter, the score is tied 7-7.

Things start to not look so great for the Wildcats leading to the end of the first quarter.

Thunderbirds ball, Coletin Hamblin makes the stop for a loss. Second down four yard gain on the quarterback option. The very next play quarterback option leaving the defense without an answer and a Thunderbird touchdown.

3:08 left in the half, Thunderbirds have a heavy lead of 35-13. Thunderbird quarterback rushes for first down and there was confusion in the visitor bleachers due to multiple holding instances from the Thunderbirds that the referees turned a blind eye too.

Coletin Hamblin, #1 and a Senior at Taft High was injured in the arm after a rough play and an ambulance was called onto the field. Hamblin wasn’t having it, injured he walked off the field on his own will.

“Every game is a new challenge, but the refs, they’re not being fair,” says Carlos Chavira, a coach for the varsity Wildcats. “To keep our players’ hopes up, we continue to encourage them and have a positive demeanor.”

1:47 in the third, 64-13 Thunderbirds. Coach George Falgot brings everyone in for a pep talk before the kickoff return team takes the field. It’s fitting that the kickoff is the jaws theme song. 

Kristofer Downey had a great return putting the Wildcats on the 35-yard line. First play Veach coughs up the ball and the Thunderbirds recover. First dive play by the Thunderbirds gains 6 yards second run against first down on the quarterback keeper. Third play there was confusion on who had the ball, allowing the Thunderbirds to score.

Kirstofer Downey, #41 and a Sophomore at Taft High kept his teammates’ motivation up by having a positive outlook on the situation. “We knew we were coming in as the underdogs; they’re smart and disciplined, but we can step it and hit harder,” Downey says about the tough competition. “As long as you don’t get down and we have each other’s backs, we’ll get through anything.”

5:14 left in the fourth quarter, 78-13 and the clock is allowed to run. First down pass incomplete to Maino, the second pass was completed for a Taft first down on the 33-yard line, incomplete pass to Woodards. Veach gains two yards, third down pitch to Veach for a one-yard loss, Wildcats set up to punt but the clock hits.

Players and coaches shake hands and were professional with each other. Coaches talk to the team, players load up in the bus and reflect on how to come back stronger and how to improve.

The final score is 78-13, Thunderbirds.

Kim Fields encourages players to have hope, “We got to make sure the players keep their hopes and keep fighting.”