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est. 1930

The Wildcat

est. 1930

The Wildcat

est. 1930

The Wildcat

Wildcats Stifle Lancers’ Running Game in 37-14 Win

Varsity football improves to 3-1 after defense forces four fumbles, shuts down Lancers rushing attack.
Juniors+Cullen+Doyle+%2810%29+and+Addison+Altermatt+%2888%29%2C+and+Tim+Carmona+%2874%29%2C+senior%2C+lead+Wildcats+varsity+football+onto+the+field+before+their+Sept.+8+home+game+against+Sunny+Hills+High+School.
Julie Marquez
Juniors Cullen Doyle (10) and Addison Altermatt (88), and Tim Carmona (74), senior, lead Wildcats varsity football onto the field before their Sept. 8 home game against Sunny Hills High School.

“We couldn’t change the loss we had against Arcadia High School, so we went out Friday night and made a statement against a really talented football team [which] showed the resilience of our team,” Ethan Jones, senior, said. 

The Wildcats secured a 37-14 home victory over local rival Sunny Hills on Sept. 9, ending the Lancers’ undefeated record, and holding them to their lowest point total this season.

 The Wildcats’ defense introduced themselves early. In the opening minutes, the Lancers drove to the Wildcats’ 25 yard line when Kolotolu Liti, sophomore, hit Lancers quarterback Madden Leasau, forcing a fumble. Micah Pedraza, senior, snatched up the loose ball — the first of two of his fumble recoveries — and ran 70 yards to the Sunny Hills end zone, resulting in the game’s first touchdown, and Pedroza’s first touchdown of his high school career.

“It was a very smart and reactive play by him to pick it up and run it back into the end zone,” Jones said. “The fumble recovery really set us up for the rest of the game.”

Ethan Jones, senior, during pregame warmups on Sept. 8. (Julie Marquez)

A week after a career-high 210 yards rushing and three touchdowns, Nathan Aceves, junior, added another score: a one-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Aceves attributed the touchdown to the offensive line of sophomore Luke Carren, and juniors Will Robinson, David Baker, Jack Dooley, Miles Tyree, and Jayce Warsaw. “[They] did a great job blocking, [helping] us to score,” Aceves said. 

At halftime, the Wildcats led 13-7. In the locker room, head coach Jae Kim “lit a spark” in the team. “It gave me goosebumps to see [Kim] so invested in our team,” Elijah Sanchez, junior, said. Jones added that Kim’s speech “really impacted us…he put some fire in us to go out and win that game, which is exactly what we needed to hear from him” at halftime of the close contest. 

Although the Wildcats emerged from the locker room fired up, the Lancers added a score in the third quarter, taking a one point lead.

However, the BOHS defense responded by shutting out the Lancers the rest of the way, and the offense responded as well, outscoring Sunny Hills 24-7 in the second half. 

Jones was a factor on both sides of the ball, with 10 tackles (eight solo) on defense, and seven points on offense (four points after touchdowns, and a 32-yard field goal). “That was the best game I’ve ever played,” Jones said. 

Isaak Rivas-Mendelez, junior, and Rene Gonzalez, senior, were also forces on defense with 12 tackles apiece. 

Rivas-Mendelez said, “It was by far the best performance our defense has had all season.”

Offensively, junior quarterback Cullen Doyle threw for 197 yards and three touchdowns. 57 of those yards were to Ryan Nero, sophomore. 

“My quarterback threw perfectly placed balls, which made it easier to get the job done,” Nero said. The receiver acknowledged, “There are some adjustments I need to make in order to have less dropped balls,” to which Jones responded, “You have to have a short memory because you’re going to line up again in 10 seconds and you have an opportunity to rewrite the scoring.”

Addison Altermatt, junior, touched the ball once, but he made the most of the opportunity. On a fourth down in the third quarter, Altermatt gained 20 yards and scored a touchdown. “It was the perfect play call for the perfect moment and the throw [by Doyle] was perfectly placed,” Altermatt said. 

The Wildcats went into the game with a plan to force the Lancers to throw. Sunny Hills has been reliant on their running game — they were averaging 295 yards on the ground in their first three games — so the Wildcats defense keyed on the Lancers’ runners. And it worked: Sunny Hills only managed a season-low 192 yards, over 100 yards beneath their average. Lancers leading rusher Johnny Ramirez, senior, ran for 49 yards, 60 below his team-leading average. 

Despite the win over previously undefeated Sunny Hills, and the Wildcat’s 3-1 record, some players addressed one area the team needs to improve on: penalties. 

“The penalties are always our biggest obstacle,” Aceves said. 

Against the Lancers, the Wildcats gave up 105 yards on flags. “Personal fouls for shoving people, for saying things that aren’t supposed to be said…that’s one area that, if we want to be a CIF-contending team, has to get cleaned up,” Jones said.

The Wildcats next face 2-2 Fullerton High School in Wildcat Stadium on Sept. 15. On the Wildcat’s radar is  Zach Fanny, junior receiver, who is averaging 129 yards per game, and Deshawn Cobbs, senior running back, who is averaging 101 rushing yards. Last year, the Wildcats shut out Fullerton 14-0. 

“We need to go into the game thinking it’s an even matchup and we just have to play our best,” Nero said. 

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Siena Codekas, Sports Editor
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  • Karen CodekasOct 8, 2023 at 9:22 am

    Siena continues to write some of the best sports reporting. The game comes to life and the interviews are awesome! Keep it up.

    Reply
  • Lulu SchultzSep 15, 2023 at 5:15 am

    SIENA! Wow! This is SOO good! You’re a really good writer. Love ya

    Reply
  • MelinaSep 14, 2023 at 1:11 pm

    Omg this is amazing, so legit, you’re doing great sisi!!!
    Love you!!!

    Reply
  • Karen CodekasSep 14, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Wow! This is written like we were at the game. Great research and I loved hearing from so many players. Well done!!

    Reply