On Friday, September 29, Redwood High School hosted their homecoming game against Golden West in the Mineral King Bowl, winning with a score of 19-7 and putting their record to an even 3-3. Even though the Blazers were previously undefeated, Redwood’s strong defense and impressive offense were able to end Golden West’s winning streak.
John Vega, ‘19, says, “I knew this game was going to be tough because Golden West runs a ‘T’ offense, which is usually hard to stop, but we as a team have been preparing all week for this. Our offense has several excellent athletes which will definitely help us out. Since it is the homecoming game and it is against an in-town school, there will be a lot more people watching. From running out of the tunnel, to Redwood’s awesome band, to the the homecoming court, and last but not least Redwood’s crazy, hyped up student section creates an all around exciting experience for not only us players, but for everyone watching too.”
Michael Harris, ‘18, says, “The team has to stay determined. We have lost sight of our goal of an undefeated season, but as long as we stay focused we can achieve a 7-3 record by the end of the season.”
For many of the players, this was their first time playing on varsity for the homecoming game, but for others, it was their last.
Jayden Sullivan, ‘18, says, “It’s shocking. To have already been able to play in two past homecoming games, and this years too has been such an honor. All the ‘lasts’ begin to hit you senior year, making it definitely bittersweet.”
Alonzo Ozuna, ‘18, says, “It feels pretty awesome to have been able to win all three homecoming games i’ve played in, especially this years.”
This year, Redwood’s varsity team has already had a few crucial players sidelined due to injuries.
Matt Jenan, ‘18, suffered a major hit two weeks ago at the Tulare Western game, causing him to receive a concussion. Jenan says, “I am sad that I am not able to play on the field my senior year. I started playing football in 6th grade, so the game has always been a big part of my life. I am still here however to cheer on and support my team.”
Harris has also been sidelined with Jenan due to a fractured collarbone he received during practice weeks ago, which he then further injured at Redwood’s home game against Tulare Union.
Vega says, “I expected our players to step up and rise to the challenge in tonight’s game. I also hoped that another one of our key players, Logan Shafer, ‘18, would continue to play well.”
The game started with GW recovering the ball from a Ranger fumble, which allowed them to score with a 37 yard pass into the endzone with just 6:24 left in the first quarter, making it 0-7 on the scoreboard.
In the end of the first quarter, Hector Gonzalez, ‘19, converted at the 22-yard line on a fourth down to keep the drive alive. Shafer had a nice run up the line, but the drive stalled. Wyatt Allen, ‘19, was not able to complete the field goal, keeping it 0-7 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, La Dre Aguilar, ‘19, received a punt return and put Redwood into great field position. Gonzalez and Aguilar then worked together to get a 27-yard touchdown pass into the endzone. Allen then completed the field goal making the score an even 7-7.
In the third quarter, Redwood received the ball at the 27-yard line, but a penalty put them back 15 yards. Gonzales kept the drive alive once again by converting on the third down. He then connected with Drew Stogsdill, ‘18, by dive catching a throw into the end zone. The field goal was blocked but the Rangers now lead with a score of 13-7.
In the fourth quarter, GW marched down the field with their next drive but Ethan Kaiser, ‘19, intercepted the ball. The Ranger drive stalled a few plays later. GW now with the ball, pushed to score, however Redwood’s defense held them down. Gabe Vasquez, ‘19, then caught another interception, leaving Redwood possession of the ball with 8:53 left in the game.
After a few first downs, Gonzalez then avoided three tackles and threw Sullivan a 25- yard pass, putting the offense on the 10 yard line with only 3:14 left. He then threw another pass to Stogsdill in the corner of the endzone for a final touchdown, ended the drive with an unsuccessful 2-point conversion and a score of 19-7.
On Golden West’s final drive, Vasquez stole his second interception of the game, leaving Redwood with possession of the ball, 1:41 left in the game, and a new record of 4-3.
After the game, Kaiser said, “Winning the game couldn’t have gone any better. We wanted to win, not only for the team but for homecoming nominees and all the people in the stands who came to watch. While warming up next to Golden West, it was easy to see that their intensity did not match ours, but in the beginning of the game, the team was in a bit of a slump. When the coaches confronted the team and told us we needed to want it to win it, we were able to persevere and execute a win here tonight.”
Hopefully the Rangers can keep this mentality and carry it through the rest of their season. Make sure to go out and support your Ranger team when they host the Hanford Bullpups at Mineral King Bowl next Friday night!!