It was 29 months in the making — and even longer since it’s last home win — but the Foothill High football team made the most of its return to Ned Permenter Stadium.
The Trojans grounded out 316 yards rushing and controlled the action from the opening kickoff in their first home game since Oct. 19, 2018, cruising past Arvin 33-6 on Thursday night. Following its last home game, construction started on major renovations to Foothill’s stadium, football field, track and scoreboard.
“It’s just been an awesome night,” said Foothill coach Brandon Deckard, whose team played the entire 2019 on the road or at alternate sites. “Just getting back out here on this field for the first time since 2018. And with the remodel, COVID and everything else it’s just been crazy. We’ve been waiting on the stadium, we’ve been waiting on the Jumbotron (scoreboard), we’ve been waiting on all this stuff, and this is a great way to open it up. And a great way to open our second game of the season. I couldn’t be more pleased with everybody.”
After a scoreless first quarter, junior fullback Kaelan Deloney bulldozed his way over for an 8-yard touchdown run, carrying a handful of Bears defenders most of the way, to give the Trojans a 7-0 lead on the second play of the second quarter.
It was the first of two scoring runs for Deloney, who finished with 102 yards rushing on 20 carries. He scored on an 11-yard run to build Foothill’s lead to 27-6 with 10:05 left in the game.
“It’s been really good,” said Deloney of the Trojans’ first home victory since a 28-27 triumph over Mira Monte on the final game of the 2017 season. “We haven’t played on this field in two years. It’s been an amazing feeling to be out here under all the lights and the fans. That’s what it’s all about.
“We prepared all week for this....It’s been a long time coming.”
Deloney’s contributions were part of a three-pronged Foothill rushing attack.
Junior tailback Tyson Reynolds finished with a game-high 105 yards on 13 carries, padding his team’s lead with a 22-yard touchdown run with 5:56 left in the first half to give the Trojans a 14-0 advantage.
Junior Eric Faria built Foothill’s lead to 21-0 midway through the third quarter with a 29-yard scoring run. He finished with 78 yards on 10 carries.
“That’s who we are,” said Deckard of his team’s rushing attack. “We’re ground and pound, and that’s what we do at Foothill; do our thing. We’ve got the best running backs in town, and we’re going to prove it.”
Arvin (0-2), which suited up just 20 players, managed to keep up with the Trojans despite struggling to move the ball. The Bears scored their first touchdown of the season when Daniel Noriega took a punt return 80 yards for a touchdown to cut Foothill’s lead to 20-6 with 7:43 to play.
But the Trojans (1-1) extended their lead on Deloney’s second touchdown and capped the scoring on a 1-yard run by quarterback Rafael Monje with 2:11 to play.
“Obviously our numbers are down,” Arvin coach Edgar Mares said. “We’re a little outmanned, but our kids played hard and we kept the game competitive. We had a score called back that I think would have made a big difference early on. But we just wore down and we have to give Foothill a lot of credit. They wore us down.”
Senior fullback Jose Villa rushed for 55 yards on 12 carries and Noriega added 47 yards on seven carries for the Bears, who are missing several key players that either chose to play other sports, have family concerns pertaining to COVID or work commitments, Mares said.
“We just don’t have the numbers that we usually do,” Mares said. “But we’re not going to make any excuses. The kids that are out here, they’re busting their butts. And we just fell short and we have to try to get them going and improve next week.”
Deckard is also looking forward to a big game next week against 2-0 Shafter, which has outscored it’s first two opponents, Arvin and Kern Valley, 100-3 this season.
“We have Shafter next so we’ll enjoy the three-day weekend, we go back to work on Monday, and we get ready,” Deckard said. “That’s how the season works.”