Delano High School football sought redemption Friday as they took on the East High School Blades. With the team coming off of a 60-6 loss, the Tigers had a lot to prove to keep themselves relevant as a competitive football team.
The game started off much like South, with Delano receiving the ball deep in their own territory then fumbling a couple plays later.
Surprisingly, the Tiger defense held strong for three downs, stopping the Blades in their tracks until a fourth-down rollout pass gave East a 7-0 advantage.
Delano received the ball once more in their territory, but this time the offense would get moving, picking up multiple first downs but eventually punting. East would get the ball once again and started to pick up first downs, but Delano’s defense would hold strong and force a punt.
Delano, with newfound confidence, would start to get their offense rolling, continuing to get first downs before the quarter ended. At the end of the first quarter, it was apparent that the game was going to be long and grounded out, with each team only possessing the ball twice yet running a combined 49 plays.
The second quarter started out with a bang as the Tigers’ Sergio Garcia took off on a 65-yard run to set up Delano inside the goal line. After a quick quarterback sneak touchdown by Fernando Ferrel, Delano was back in the game down 7-6 early in the second quarter.
The second quarter dragged a bit as neither team could get their offenses going and were forced to punt often. As the half approached, however, East decided to take a chance and throw a bullet over the middle for an 85-yard touchdown. This meant going to the half, East led 14-6.
If Delano wanted to win, they would once again have to come back as they did against town rival Cesar Chavez High two weeks before.
The third quarter was the true showcase of how long and grinded out the game was, with neither team scoring any points. However the 4th quarter was Delano’s time to step up.
Delano had the ball in the red zone to start the fourth quarter and after a great run by Erik Manjarrez, Delano was at the goal line. Manjarrez would score on the next play for a Tiger touchdown. And after a failed two-point conversion, Delano was right back on East High’s heels down 14-12.
East High seemed flustered by Delano’s resilience and began to collapse under the pressure. Delano would force a three-and-out and then march down the field on offense, once again, to finish the game.
The final touchdown came off a 16-yard pass from Ferrel to receiver Israel Valle. With a successful two-point conversion, Delano now led 20-14.
East would try to get their offense rolling again, but with the momentum siding with the Tigers, it proved futile. Delano would receive an East punt with just under six minutes left in the game. From this point, Delano would turn a two-first-down possession into a five-minute loss in game time, giving East the ball with just more than a minute and a half on the board.
East tried multiple deep passes attempting to score. As the final seconds ticked off, East launched a ball deep into Tiger territory and converted to the Delano 13-yard line. It was a nice catch, but Delano won an exciting 20-14 game, redeeming themselves from the week before.
The focus of the game lied in the context of Delano having to come off a blowout loss. If the team had lost two straight with their crosstown rival blowing out their opponent, the Tigers would surely be dismissed in their own city.
Yet, with this win, the Tigers are back on track for a successful season! After this week’s bye, Delano will be taking on Foothill High of Bakersfield Sept. 14.