Football loses in first round of CIF

Alexander Dinh

The football team finished its season with an overall record of 6-4 after losing 33-21 to Grand Terrace in the first round of the Division 8 California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section (CIF-SS) playoffs Nov. 4. This is the second season in a row the team has lost in the first round of the playoffs, falling short to Tahquitz High School 56-33 last year. Program Head Aaron Huerta said the team has been becoming more sure of their ability to compete in the playoffs.

“I thought that we showed we can be [in the playoffs],” Huerta said. “The last two years, we’ve gotten to the playoffs, we haven’t won [a playoff game], but I think the kids are starting to gain more confidence in realizing that we are a playoff team. We just need to get over that hump and win our first one.”

The team started the season off 0-2, but then won four consecutive games until losing to St. Pius X – St. Matthias Academy 62-7,  two games before the end of the season. Huerta said the team was able to stay focused after the loss and ultimately achieve their goal of getting second in the Del Rey League and making the CIF-SS playoffs.

“We came back the next Monday and were ready to go for the next week,” Huerta said. “We didn’t dwell on [the loss]. We knew that it was going to be a tough game, so it was, move on, and let’s set our sights on finishing second in the league, which we did.”

Despite trailing Grand Terrace by two scores for most of the game, Huerta said the team played well as a unit.

“The guys really enjoyed playing together, they fought together, they battled together,” Huerta said. “I think on Friday, we had some ups and downs, but we never shied away from anything, we never got down on things [and] we kept it together. That kept us in the game until the end.”

Offensive and defensive lineman Kai Faucher ’23 said despite the loss, the team was able to make consistent progress as the season progressed.

“As a team, we executed as the season went on, and we really improved as a team,” Faucher said. “The team that lost against Heritage Christian in week one, compared to the team that lost to Grand Terrace in week 11, was a completely different team. I’m proud of the guys for sticking with it and working hard to get to that point.”

Wide receiver and strong safety Terence Mathews ’23 said the team this year had a special connection with one another.

“The team’s camaraderie is what made this year special,” Mathews said. “This is the first year in a while that we’ve had a JV team. Being able to step away to watch JV play and support each other built up our camaraderie to a level that I had never seen before.”