By Eileen Ong and Kim Ta
Despite the opposing team making the first touchdown, the Matadors gradually improved in the third and fourth quarters of the game.
The Matadors went up against the Alhambra High Moors for this year’s homecoming game. Even with the ominous vibe of Friday the 13th, San Gabriel students, staff, families, and alumni joined together in the football stadium.
The pregame show consisted of performances by drill, Choreo, cheer, Colorguard, and Marching Band. Because of the pregame show, the whole football field had amplified and intensified the energy of the crowd just as the sky started to dim. Associated Student Body made announcements, bleachers were filling up, homecoming court was getting ready and hyped up, and the anticipation of the football players was over.
With the scoreboard brightly illuminated, the football players marched down the steps of the football stadium and onto the field, showing the Moors that the Matadors have arrived.
Within the first 14 seconds of the first quarter, the Moors took the lead with a touchdown. The Matadors tried to stop the Moors from advancing; they sprinted and tackled ferociously on the field. Despite their efforts, the Moors scored four more touchdowns in the first quarter resulting in a 35-0 deficit.
“I feel like we practiced to be better than that,” junior linebacker Valentin Villa Jr. said. “I don’t know what happened. I don’t think we did the best we could, honestly. I think if the people on the field gave their 100 percent, the result would have changed, but it didn’t.”
The second quarter commenced yet again with another touchdown by the Moors. The Matadors fought back with renewed vigor and immense efforts. They pushed through the Moors’ defense and nearly scored several times.
With about 11 minutes and 20 seconds left, the Moors kicked the ball. Senior running back Saul Salas sprinted to seize it at the Moors’ 10-yard line but fumbled as the ball fell from his hand. Salas grabbed the ball from the ground and rushed toward the Matadors’ end zone before getting tackled at the Matadors’ 40-yard line. However, the Matadors were charged with a penalty and had to return the ball back to where it first landed, thus rescinding what might have been a big gain for the Matadors.
Both sides made several incomplete passes, tackles, and penalties; the crowd responded with various noises and cheers. With nine minutes and 25 seconds left in the second quarter, junior quarterback Allan Jimenez almost shifted the scoreboard with an attempt running touchdown.
“My goal was to make a touchdown and to win against Alhambra and catch up,” Jimenez said. “I feel happy and I am going to try my best and hardest and I feel excited [for this Friday’s game against Schurr]. As a team, we just got to fix little mistakes.”
After the reveal of homecoming king and queen, the Matadors continued to struggle throughout the second half. The Matadors were excellent at preventing the Moors from scoring at all in the third quarter. The Moors failed to slip past the Matadors’ progressively aggressive defense and did not secure any more touchdowns.
During the fourth quarter, safety and wide receiver senior Matthew Flores made several attempts to score after catching the ball from complete passes. The atmosphere was tense and it seemed as though the Moors had solidified their win.
“I’m not satisfied with losing, but I can accept it if I know me and my teammates and coaches went out and gave it our best shot,” Flores said. “[In] the fourth quarter I was honestly just trying to put some points on the board and give our team and fans some exciting plays to cheer for.”
Following the countdown to the last second of the game, the crowd was neutral with the conclusion of a 42-0. In light of the Matadors’ loss, the Matadors have three more games in the season: two home games against Schurr on Oct. 20 and Montebello on Oct. 27, along with their final game at Mark Keppel on Nov. 3.