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Varsity football loses Branding Iron

Varsity football lost to Diamond Bar 14-34 in the annual Branding Iron game Friday, Aug. 23 at home, ending Walnut’s two-year win streak.

In the first quarter, the Brahmas pressured the Mustangs’ defense, forcing several defensive tackles from running back junior Nathan Wong and middle linebacker senior Jonathan Kamayatsu. With 6:25 remaining, middle linebacker senior Carlos Castellanos blocked Diamond Bar’s field goal attempt to keep the Mustangs in the game.

“Going into the game, I kind of felt nervous, [since] it was the first game of the season. It was really cool though. [Seeing] my family and all my friends in the stands just got me hyped up,” running back sophomore Ruben Rivera said. 

Despite having a touchdown disallowed in the beginning of the second quarter, Diamond Bar opened the scoring with a 7-yard rushing touchdown at the three minute mark. With 1:05 remaining, Diamond Bar sacked quarterback junior Donathan Maldonado, ending the first half 0-6. 

“I was happy that we didn’t give up—that we just kept pushing and just tried our best,” Castellanos said. “Our coach always tells us we’re a second-half team, meaning we never give up [and] knowing we always push while the other team was probably [getting] tired.” 

After a 26-yard run, the Brahmas scored their second touchdown and completed a two-point conversion, extending their lead to 0-14. With 6:19 remaining, the Brahmas scored off of a 59-yard run down the Mustangs’ left flank. The Mustangs ran several trick plays but failed to score, ending the third quarter 0-21. 

Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Rivera received a pass from Maldonado and completed a 26-yard run to score Walnut’s first touchdown. Walnut’s defensive line pressured Diamond Bar and regained possession. With 5:04 left, wide receiver junior Donavan Wallace received the ball inside the end zone from an 8-yard pass.

“This was my first touchdown ever. I got on the field, and I had a feeling that he was gonna pass it to me. I wasn’t really thinking. I just caught the ball and ran,” Wallace said. “Afterwards, it felt amazing because my friends were up in the stands repping my number. I felt really excited.” 

However, Diamond Bar responded two minutes later with another touchdown, making the score 14-28. At 2:16, the Brahmas intercepted a pass from Maldonado and scored a 40-yard touchdown, finishing the game 14-34.

“[The whole game] was just an emotional rollercoaster,” offensive tackle sophomore Imann Castro said. “We fall together, we rise together. If we’re going to win a game, we’re all going to celebrate together. And if one person loses, everyone loses.”

By Sarah Aie, Online editor-in-chief
Photo by Isaac Le