Matadors hold off the Warriors at home

Matadors hold off the Warriors at home

Eric Wong

Varsity football gets its first victory with a convincing 14-6 win over Cleveland High School   

Playing at home for the first time, the varsity football team celebrated its first win of the year, defeating the Cleveland Warriors from Oregon with a score of 14-6.  

Led by a cohesive team effort and stellar individual plays from running back junior Victor Wan and wide receiver senior Nick Utley, the Matadors comfortably held their lead all night long. Fueled by the throng of supporters organized by Link Crew and Bull Spirit, the team showed plenty of passion and intensity.  freddykuoclevelandgame.jpg

The home team was under pressure from the very beginning of the game, according to junior quarterback Vignesh Venkataramen. However, the Matadors found their rhythm and they began a long drive down the field with the help of some long runs and pinpoint throws by junior quarterback Freddy Kuo.  With about four minutes left in the first quarter, Kuo looked to his receivers for a way to score. Utley found himself open on the field and the ball was lofted to him, but disappointingly, the ball slipped through his outstretched fingers.  On the subsequent play, Utley caught the ball and ran the ball into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game.

The extra point was awarded after a routine kick by senior kicker Christian Chu, making the score 7-0 Matadors. The Matadors suffered a scare with two minutes left in the first quarter when a Cleveland receiver broke through the Matador’s defense into the end zone. Fortunately, the touchdown was nullified, due to a flag on the play against Cleveland.  With strong defensive coverage and a sack by senior Albert Chen 35 seconds from the end of the quarter, the Matadors retained their lead.  

The Matadors executed some sloppy plays to begin the second quarter, allowing Cleveland to push down the field. But about 30 yards away from the end zone, the Warriors fumbled the ball.  This brought up a fourth down about 40 yards away from the end zone, with no hope of a field goal. The Matadors began their own steady advance down the field but they were thwarted by Cleveland and junior Matt Hopkins had to punt the ball.  The first half came to an uneventful end with the score still 7-0 Matadors.  

Following the conclusion of the stalemate in the second quarter, the Matadors were able to regroup during halftime and talk strategies for the final half of the game. But throughout the third quarter, the Matadors continually ran headlong into the defense of the Cleveland Warriors, and were unable to score a single touchdown against their opponents. Likewise, the defense of the home team was also rock solid, preventing the Cleveland Warriors from scoring any points.  44sackingsomeone.jpg

“We played a mostly defensive game,” Venkataramen said. “And it got pretty ugly.”

Despite the tough opposition, the Matadors were finally able to pull through with a sound victory.  Utley, “broke the game open,” according to Venkataramen, when he performed a dive play, broke through an ankle tackle, and proceeded to an 80-yard run and touchdown. This brought the final score to 14-6 with the Matadors on top.

“We were definitely struggling for a win, and we came pumped up and ready to play,” Utley said.

The Matadors are going into their bye week satisfied with their preseason win.  The team’s major concern lay with the mounting number of injuries that have been occurring.

"We’re going into league in a week with a lot of players banged up right now," Coach Jeff Mueller said. "The most important thing is to get them healthy and ready for next week."

Currently the Matadors stand with one win and two losses overall. Their next game will take place on Oct. 3 at home, against Milpitas High School.