As the CIF delays its ruling on the upcoming fall sports season, football fans in Delano are beginning to lose what little hope they have left of an actual 2020 season.
However, the potential success for Delano’s three teams has never been higher, as two of Delano’s teams are serious contenders for a Division Four valley title.
With two teams competing at a high level and one attempting to bounce back from arguably its worst season ever, the storylines heading into the 2020 season have never been more interesting. Here’s what to expect from this year's season for all three high schools.
Cesar E. Chavez High School
As reigning city champions for the first time since the 2005 football season, Chavez High School has never entered into a season where the team was so heavily favored to dominate. The team has 32 underclassmen returners, 22 of which are now seniors, with the majority having one to two years of experience at the varsity level.
Some notable returners are senior quarterback Cameron Huerta, senior running back Damien Espinoza, junior running back Johnathan Rivas and junior linebacker Alexis Girarte.
The plethora of returning players sets up Chavez to dominate its competition this season, given there's a season, and the already great play from its returning starters should be expected to head to the next level.
Delano High School
This season Delano High School is set to have its 101st football team in the school's lengthy history. However, this team already has multiple setbacks to even begin the season, as it welcomes its fourth coach in the last seven years, Frank Gonzalez, and has playoff restrictions enforced by the CIF.
These setbacks are constant reminders that no matter how great the team does this season, it will not outshadow the horrific incident that took place at the end of the 2019 season. The fight that erupted in the team’s final game of the season served as the seemingly perfect end to one of the worst seasons in Delano High School history, which itself capped off a decade of instability and decline created by a revolving door of coaches.
With this being said, the 2020 Delano High football team has a chip on its shoulder, and a large one to say the least. The team not only has to win games, but stay composed no matter the circumstances. Any mistakes in the disciplinary aspects will be amplified ten-fold.
Robert F. Kennedy High School
The most common things said about Kennedy’s 2019 football team was that “they’re not the most talented team in Delano, but they are the best coached.” Whether or not this was true, the Thunderbirds had the most playoff success of any team in the Delano area.
The team that lost its final regular season game to Chavez (in the final seconds) proved all doubters wrong by getting to the Division Four Valley semi-finals — only one year after winning the championship at the Division Five level. The team's success is in no doubt created by Kennedy’s head coach Mario Millan, and the rest of its talented coaching staff, but to say the team doesn’t hold the same talent as its in-town rivals is a bit of a stretch.
Therefore, for the upcoming season, Kennedy seems to be expected as the underdog like in the 2019 season. But for a team that relies on steady coaching, minimizing mistakes and being considered an underdog, it looks like it will be no problem for the Thunderbirds.