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Vars football ends season with victory against the Pumas 30–12

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Senior tight end and defensive back Nnachetam “Chet” Okorie carries the ball as he hurdles over his teammates and the Pumas on Nov. 10. Photo by Susan Wong

O n Nov.18, the varsity football team played their last game of the season against the Burton Pumas with a 30–12 win. They placed fifth this season in the Academic Athletic Association league, with a 2–4 record.

“I said I was gonna get a touchdown today, and it’s going to be a pick six and it came true.”

With three minutes left in the first quarter, junior running back Jimmy Li broke through the Pumas’ defense and scored a 48-yard rushing touchdown. The Cards offense quickly followed with a two-point conversion, so the scoreboard read 8–0. In the next minute of the game, senior outside linebacker and tight end Tyler Vicente intercepted a pass by the Pumas, resulting in a pick six, which is when a defensive player intercepts a pass intended for the offense and runs it back into the end zone for six points. When this happens, the defense turns into the offense and vice versa. “I called it,” Vicente said. “I said I was gonna get a touchdown today, and it’s going to be a pick six and it came true.” The Cardinals were up 14–0 at the end of the first quarter.

Sophomore running back and wide receiver Brennan Nguy (left) and senior middle linebacker Matthew Fiamalua (right) work together to take down a Puma. Photo by Susan Wong

In the second quarter, Li hustled past the defense scoring another 53-yard rushing touchdown. Then, the Cardinals extended their lead to 22–0 after scoring a two-point conversion. Before the first half was over, sophomore running back and wide receiver Brennan Nguy rushed for an 18-yard touchdown with the help of his blockers. Following the touchdown, sophomore quarterback Ronald Pollick threw a short pass to Vicente to earn two more points from the two-point conversion. At halftime, Lowell was leading the game 30–0.

In the second half, however, the Cardinals did not score any points. The Pumas scored twice in the fourth quarter, but failed to catch up, resulting in a 30–12 win for the Cardinals.

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Through the team’s hustle, Lowell ended the season with a win. “I think we can always do better, but I’m glad we finished off with a win,” Vicente said. “I have no more regrets for my career.”

Despite defeating the Pumas, sophomore running back Darius Mayfield-Heckard felt that there are still improvements to be made for a better season next year. One improvement is to keep up the same amount of effort throughout the whole game, not just the first two quarters. “We went from 30 points in the first half to zero in the second,” Mayfield-Heckard said. “Once we get to a certain number of points, we give up because we’re too hyped.”

“Now I realize I’m never going to play football again. It doesn’t feel right, I want to play football.”

Assistant Coach Al Gamboa also reflected on this season. “We used to win a lot, and we used to take a lot of these wins for granted, so now any kind of win is great to enjoy,” Gamboa said. Gamboa believes that the program is making progress because there are a lot of new young players on Frosh/Soph. He says the most important thing is having enough athletes to play. “Football is supposed to have a healthy number to work with,” Gamboa said. “For example, this year I only had three linebackers the whole year.”

Senior tight end and defensive end Nnachetam “Chet” Okorie reflected on this season being his last. “The coaches always say that the season is going to go by quick, but I didn’t know I would feel like this at my last game,” Okorie said. “Now I realize I’m never going to play football again. It doesn’t feel right, I want to play football.”

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The Student News Site of Lowell High School
Vars football ends season with victory against the Pumas 30–12