San Jacinto football defeat Great Oak (Temecula) at home last Friday, 40-6
■ By Corey Evan / Reporter
It is often said that change is good. For San Jacinto High School’s football boys, change would come in the form of a new non-conference lineup for the 2018 season. This lineup was headed by Temecula’s Great Oak Wolfpack, which brought their challenge to a packed Tiger Stadium on Friday, Aug 17.
San Jacinto won the toss, and deferred to the second half. Time passed seemingly quick during the first quarter, with Great Oak burning up five and a half minutes in their attempt to score first. San Jacinto pushed their way back, as the Tigers took over control at the 6:30 mark. They got within 20 yards of the end zone before surrendering the ball to the Wolfpack at the 2:54 mark, but intercepted a Wolf pass to take it back just five seconds later. And with no time left in the quarter, Juan Denny brought in the first hard-earned touchdown of the game for San Jacinto. Erick Santiago then caught the ball to add a two-point conversion.
The first four minutes of quarter number two passed without incident, that is, until the Tigers’ Tim Pew took a nasty fall at the 7:57 mark. Unfortunately for Pew, he had to be hauled off the field in the waiting gurney before gameplay could continue. Wolfpack coaches high-fived the injured Tiger captain as he was wheeled away. With 3:55 left in the quarter, Great Oak’s QB James Mullen II took in the first Wolfpack TD of the night to make this a two-point game.
During halftime, San Jacinto football announcer and retired Social Sciences teacher Ken Reed took a moment to tell us about his 30-plus years of announcing for the Tigers: “I started not long after I started teaching here… I started announcing back at the old, what we called “The Jungle”, back where I played football.”
Reed is an SJHS graduate, Class of 1961, and returned to SJHS as a substitute teacher before becoming permanent. His favorite game to cover each season? What else but the Hemet vs. San Jacinto Battle for the Bell? He said that with a smile. So, how long can Reed go on as the Tigers’ announcer? “As long as the Lord will let me stay alive, I will stay here as long as I can!”
Head Coach Aric Galliano is honored to have Reed’s voice fill Tiger Stadium every game: “He does a great job; He’s a Tiger through and through, he bleeds orange and black. We couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Reed also announces at MSJC games, and will be back at Carl Quandt Stadium on Saturday Sept 15 for the Eagles’ first home game of the season against the Grossmont Griffins.
Quarter three saw more fine Tiger action on the field, as Caleb Hervey brought in the Tigers’ second TD of the evening at the 10:57 mark. Both teams pushed hard against each other all the way through the third quarter, albeit without further scoring action.
Quarter four started with another injured player eight seconds in – the Wolves’ Grant Gaskins. But his injury was minor enough to walk off, allowing the Tigers’ Damonce Williams to grab a third San Jacinto TD. At the 10:49 mark, Mullen took a hit for the Wolves to become the third injured player of the evening. Again, his injury was minor. Then just 27 seconds later, Tiger Brian Matos went down with a minor injury. At the 9:13 mark, Wolf Laith Abdallah took a hit.
Galliano says the heat waves of the week prior led to cancellation of practices, which led to these injuries.
Abdallah hobbled his way off the field, before Hervey brought in the Tigers’ fourth TD off a Wolf-play interception with 8:31 left. Martin Graise gave the Tigers five at the 7:18 mark. Erick Santiago received the conversion to push the score to 34 for San Jacinto. With 2:09 left, Denny added a sixth. In total of this game, San Jacinto picked up 40 points versus Great Oak’s six points.
Galliano is certainly happy with that performance: “They did a great job; They prepared all week, they came out and fought hard… Something we’re preaching is trying to get everybody to buy into what we’re doing, and tonight’s showing they’re doing it and doing all the right things.”
The Tigers hit the road to take on the Titans at Temescal Canyon. Can the Tigers keep up their momentum? Will the Titans leave the Tigers feeling blue?
Elsewhere in football:
The Hemet Bulldogs struggled against the Chaparral Pumas in Temecula, losing 24-7. The Bulldogs will welcome the Vista del Lago Ravens to Bulldog Country next Friday, for their first home game of the season.
West Valley Mustangs have yet to shake the curse of 2017, being corralled by the Shadow Hills Knights 21-nil. But can the Mustangs ram the Desert Mirage Rams next Friday in Thermal?
The Tahquitz Titans felled the Vista del Lago Ravens in Moreno Valley, 31-14 being the final score. The Titans will have their first home game of the season against the Indio Rajahs next Friday.