For the first time in 14 years, the Cesar Chavez High Titans have taken down the Delano High Tigers.
The game itself was a display of both teams' tenacity against one another. But it was Chavez ending up on top as Delano made one too many mistakes.
The game started slow and seemed to remain that way until its final minutes. Delano received the ball first, getting a short return on a muffed receiving attempt.
It went to work quickly, however, with Tigers quarterback Aaron Chavez completing a first down pass right out of the gate to receiver Alonso Flores. After this pass, the Tigers struggled to keep rhythm but managed to pick up a first down due to a pass interference call.
After several incompletions, the Titans took possession but struggled in their own way as well. The team would pick up several first downs on its first drive though, thanks to runs by running back Jonathan Rivas and quarterback Cameron Huerta.
The teams then traded possessions back and forth for the remainder of the quarter. Both driving the ball down field but not executing big enough plays to get their team points.
Although struggling, Delano kept a healthy mix of offensive schemes, substituting both running backs and quarterbacks to look for the right combination of players.
The second quarter was much of the same with both teams moving the ball well, but executing drive-ending errors in the red zone. However, just past midway of the second quarter, Chavez put together a series that got the team in scoring position. And after a 2-yard run by running back Damien Espinoza, the Titans scored first taking a 6-0 lead.
Headed into the second half the Titans would receive and proceed to struggle.
The teams would once again begin to trade possessions, missing out on prime opportunities. At some point in the third quarter Chavez’s Huerta was pulled due to a minor injury, putting backup Titan quarterback Vincent Boykin in the game.
The backup would complete a couple passes, although it would not be nearly enough to get any real offensive drives going, and as the third quarter came to a close, neither team had scored.
The fourth quarter saw Delano playing with huge amounts of pressure from its hike crowd. Its offense was still struggling late into the game, and it seemed to not be able to string a drive together.
With the game winding down, Delano’s defense held strong and forced Chavez to punt, but Chavez's punting strategy of a rugby style punt backfired as its punter slipped deep in the team's own territory giving Delano the ball in the red zone.
Just as Delano fans began to be excited at a potential touchdown, a Titan sack on quarterback Aaron Chavez forced a fumble, giving the Titans the ball late in the game. The Titans then led a drive down the field to the Delano red zone to attempt a field goal.
The ensuing play cost Delano the game as it would block the field goal but began celebrating too early. That caused the Chavez players to pick up the loose ball and score their second touchdown of the game.
As the stunned players began to realize what had happened, the Chavez team had already begun lining up for an extra point attempt which was missed.
Delano received the kickoff with under three minutes, and using momentum from the home crowd, actually put together a scoring drive with just over a minute left on the board.
However, as Chavez fielded the onside kick, the Tigers realized the opportunity they had lost.
The Cesar Chavez Titans won the game 12-7, beating Delano for the first time since 2005 and only the second time in school history.
The win seemed to be caused by a variety of factors, such as Delano having a first-year head coach trying to install an offense without having a set quarterback, or Chavez having a seasoned starting quarterback surrounded with second- and third-year varsity players.
All these factors came together to form an upset that seemingly shocked most in the city.
For the second week, Chavez will head to Monache High of Porterville to take on the Marauders Thursday, while Delano will travel to South High of Bakersfield to take on the Rebels.