Football: MVHS falls to Santa Clara HS on senior night

MVHS loses to SCHS in a high scoring game, 42-27


Senior Josiah Figueroa (#32) takes a handoff. Picture by Ankit Gupta.

Ankit Gupta and Herman Saini

Senior and quarterback Cheto Vasquez glanced back at the packed stands from the sidelines one last time before strapping on his helmet and jogging onto the field for the ceremonial coin toss. Four years ago, Vasquez walked onto the same field for the first time as a freshman. Today, he will be playing in his final regular season home game — against Santa Clara HS.

While MVHS still has a chance to clinch a spot in CCS, Vasquez acknowledged the unique nature of this game.

“If it’s our last game, it’s our last game,” Vasquez said. “It’s senior year, you’ve played here for four years, it’s something emotional.”

Pictue by Ankit Gupta. Graphic by Roshan Fernandez.

MVHS (5-4) entered the game with hopes of securing a position in CCS against SCHS (5-4), who were looking to do the same. SCHS capitalized early, scoring a touchdown with their first possession on a 22 yard pass play.

MVHS responded with a quick touchdown drive of their own, capped off by junior Henry Lassa bouncing outside on a running play and walking into the endzone untouched. A failed two point conversion left the score at 6-7 in favor of SCHS, with seven minutes remaining in the first quarter.

With a 37 yard touchdown ran in by SCHS quarterback senior Nick Garcia, followed by another rushing touchdown scored by Lassa, the first quarter ended 14-13, SCHS.

The second quarter was similar to the first, where both teams exchanged long drives for touchdowns. Like earlier, Garcia scored on a rushing touchdown for SCHS on a goal line play. With the next possession, Vasquez led a drive down the field and finished it off with a 24 yard designed run for a touchdown.

By the end of the next SCHS possession, the direction that the game was heading became abundantly clear as Garcia scored on another 24 yard quarterback keeper, speeding around three MVHS defenders. MVHS did not have an answer to the stellar SCHS running game led by Garcia, who accounted for three rushing touchdowns in the first half alone and ended the game with 160 yards on the ground. The half ended with a SCHS lead of 35-19.

The third quarter was not nearly as eventful as the previous half. The two teams exchanged multiple stalled drives, with neither having any success. No points were scored, leaving the score at 35-19. Vasquez sustained a back injury earlier in the quarter, but came back for a few series before ultimately getting sidelined for the remainder of the game.

“I was a free safety because one of our guys got injured,” Vasquez said. “And the coaches put me in. [Their] quarterback went full speed, and got around one of our defenders. It was either a touchdown, or I’m going to make this tackle, so I just threw myself at him and got kneed in the kidney. It was bad.”

Picture by Herman Saini. Graphic by Roshan Fernandez.

SCHS won by a final score of 42-27. For MVHS, the final game of the season this week against Mountain View HS carries large implications for their CCS hopes, with the team needing a win.

Regardless of the outcome of the final game, Vasquez will still look back on his four years with the MVHS football team fondly.

“These last four years have taught me to work harder,” Vasquez said. “From the start, we never won a lot. We went through a lot of losing streaks and a lot of changes in coaches. It’s just like be adaptable and be hardworking because in the end it all pays off — that’s what it taught me.”

As for this past season, Vasquez put a large emphasis on creating a winning environment for the team.

“I think the season went really well,” Vasquez said. “We tried to change the culture here, especially coming off a losing season last year. I think the season went well, we got closer, and we changed the culture and competed in every game.”

Though his back injury may keep Vasquez from playing against Mountain View HS, he hopes that his time and leadership with the team will have a lasting impact for the future of the MVHS football program.

“I want to leave a legacy of hard work, determination and commitment here on the football team,” Vasquez said. “We want to change the program, and [we will be] able to do that with a new coach that stays committed. Being the generation of seniors that leave that started [this change], and that’s the legacy I want to leave. Change the culture here and make a really good football program.”