Tahquitz defeats the West Valley Mustangs at home last Friday night, 23-15
■ Corey Evan / Sports Reporter
More than 640 years ago, Chaucer wrote that all good things must come to an end. The same holds true for the 2017 high school football season here in the San Jacinto Valley. The Tahquitz Titans’ varsity football team hosted the West Valley Mustangs last Friday for their last game of the season. Could the Titans hold off the Mustangs? Would the Mustangs get their only win of the season?
Just before the game, these seniors were escorted across the field to kick off senior night: Jesus Amaryllis, Mo Baker, Tyree Chaisson, Jacob Cichy, Kerrick Davis, Amillyon Gray, Christopher Green, Tommy Ibarra, Kafele Jackson Estes, Vince Lewis, Kareem Neal, Tobias Overland, Joseph Priest, Andru Rosales, Santos Ruiz, Henry Sandoval, Larry Thomas and Christian Vega-Garcia.
The Titans won the toss and kicked off the season closer. West Valley, looking to break a nine-game drought, started this contest with an unbelievably quick touchdown. But the Titans wouldn’t stay down for long, working to first get on the board with a field goal. Otherwise, this first quarter played out as a tug of war, remaining a dead heat.
Second quarter got Titan fans shouting, as Kerrick Davis brought in the Titans’ first TD of the evening. Both teams kept their respective fans on the edge of their bleachers for the remainder of the first half, but the score would be 10-7 Titans, going into halftime.
This being the last game of the season, Tahquitz honored these 12th graders and those who support them with a special halftime celebration:
Cheer: Riley Carlini, Tenisha Crowder, Gabriela DeLeon, Tuesday Ebersole, Frida Del Toro, Zoey Dunmire, Devan Garcia, Dimitri Magill, Victoria Martinez, Alexis Plaza, Garrett Vass, Seth Whisnant and Marilyn Yakuta-Rivera.
Sports medicine: Samantha Gudiel-Veliz, Trystan Lozoya and Jesse Masson.
Flag and banner: Deanne Garcia and Zuleika Serna
Water girl: Karissa Green
Congratulations to this year’s honorees; we will see you at graduation!
The Mustangs kicked off the second half, and made headway toward the end zone. But their attempt to regain the lead was intercepted by the Titans, who prevented any scoring from happening during the third quarter.
The fourth quarter started with the Mustangs still down by three. But thanks to the Titans’ RJ Young, that gap grew to nine at the 8:55 mark. And then Douglas Osoimalo pushed it to 15 with 6:34 still in it. The extra point would take the gap to 16. The mustangs would show they wouldn’t go down without a fight, however, taking their second TD of the night with just 2:10 left in it. With the two-point conversion, that gap shrank to just 8. But time didn’t permit another Mustang gallop, instead giving the win to Tahquitz, 23-15.
While Mustang head coach Matt Willard is bummed his team couldn’t catch a break, he is still very proud to have them onboard.
“Every year, you build up… In the face of adversity, they still fought and they never quit,” said Willard. “I’m proud of them.”
That said, Titan head coach Damon Dustin admits this season was also a hard-fought battle.
“The kids fought hard,” said Dustin. “We always make things harder on us than we should…The kids played hard all the way through.”
And both coaches wanted to thank their senior players, saying that their efforts were key in making tonight a success.
With tonight’s loss, the Mustangs have experienced their second 0-10 season in three years. The Titans finished with a record of 4-6 for 2017 and 2-3 in league. While it didn’t secure Tahquitz a spot in CIF, Dustin is still proud of his thunderous team.
Elsewhere in football:
The San Jacinto Tigers ended the regular season with a close match in Beaumont against the Cougars. The game was tight, but San Jacinto pulled out a narrow 28-21 win.
The Hemet Bulldogs hosted some strong competition from Citrus Hill, and felt the squeeze at the Hawks’ talons. The Bulldogs lost this season finale 63-27. Mind you, as you will see in the season rundown, the Hawks are a powerhouse football team.
And finally, the results for the Mountain Pass League are in! Here they are:
Topping the Mountain Pass League again this year are the Citrus Hill Hawks, going 5-0 in league and 9-1 overall. These red, white and blue birds flew away with a stellar record!
Coming in second are the San Jacinto Tigers with a healthy 4-1 league record and a respectable 7-3 season record.
The Beaumont Cougars claimed third position, handing in scores of 2-3 and 5-5.
The Hemet Bulldogs and Tahquitz Titans tied for fourth, each with 2-3 and 4-6 results.
Bringing up the rear were the West Valley Mustangs, with 0-5 and 0-10 on the board. That said, their fellow Mustangs still show plenty of love for their team.