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Varsity football falls to Diamond Ranch

Varsity football lost to Diamond Ranch 7-42 in its last away league game Thursday, Oct. 25 at Diamond Ranch High School.

In the first quarter, tackles made by cornerback senior Aaron He and defensive tackle senior William von Goeben reinforced the Mustangs’ defense. Nevertheless, the Panthers scored a touchdown at 10:35, taking the lead 0-7 after completing a one-point conversion. During the Mustangs’ first possession, quarterback senior Jared Arellano gained the Mustangs a total of 37 yards in two ball carries. However, the Panthers responded with another touchdown, ending the quarter 0-14.

“I was confident, but we weren’t able to execute some of our plays. We missed some blocks and some [openings] we were supposed to hit. Defensively, I feel like we did pretty good, but we didn’t read the screens and some of the passes they made,” quarterback sophomore Donathan Maldonado said. “We were good at throwing deep passes and getting a lot of yards.”

Despite tackles from wide receiver senior Jaxson McIsaac and quarterback sophomore Nathan Wong, Diamond Ranch scored another two touchdowns, making the score 0-28 in the second quarter. During Walnut’s possession, Walnut fumbled the ball, resulting in another touchdown for Diamond Ranch, increasing Diamond Ranch’s lead 0-35.

“I was going into [the game] like I was going to finish strong. That’s what [varsity coach Eric Peralta] said before the game too: ‘You gotta finish strong, no matter what happens,’” middle linebacker senior Isaac Riojas said. “I felt like after all my four years, it’s come down to this and I always dreaded the day football would come to an end. So, it was a bittersweet moment.”

Two minutes into the third quarter, Arellano ran a 48-yard ball return and a 53-yard ball carry, scoring a touchdown for the Mustangs and making the score 7-35. In the next possession, the Panthers answered with another touchdown to extend their lead 7-42. Throughout the fourth quarter, both teams traded possessions without scoring.

“[My teammates] performed pretty good. They gave it their all, and I really love those guys with all my heart,” Riojas said. “Our team is not just a team, it’s a family [in which] everybody loves [one another] and helps people out even outside of the field. Most teams don’t have that which I’m pretty proud of.”

By Jacob Khuu, Sports editor
Photo by Annika Le