By KIEL MESSINGER
The seniors determination for victory in their final game prevailed, with a comeback 34-23 victory over Beckman. The win gave the Trojans a 2-3 league record, and knocked Beckman out of CIF contention.
“It was the seniors’ last game and they didn’t want to go out on a negative note; so they kept playing hard,” junior Noah Nejad said.
The team was down 14-20 at halftime, but knowing it was their last game together gave the team the motivation they needed to overcome the deficit.
“I couldn’t believe it was my last game and I played as hard as I could so I wouldn’t have regrets,” senior Daniel Fernandez said.
Senior Eddie Castillo felt similarly, knowing he wouldn’t play another game of high school football.
“Playing my last game was pretty emotional because I knew that it was going to be my last and I wasn’t going to have another opportunity to play again. So not just I but the rest of the seniors played our hearts out,” Castillo said.
Castillo contributed 18 carries for 65 yards to the victory. His partner in the backfield, junior Branton Lucas, also contributed 10 carries for 49 yards.
“It was a hard fought game and I am so proud of the team, we played our hearts out and left no regrets on the field,” Lucas said.
Head coach Scott Meyer was also thrilled with the team’s comeback effort.
“I was very happy for our team and especially our seniors to go out with a great win against Beckman. It was a fun game to be a part of and I am really proud of the effort that we played with,” Meyer said.
A full team effort was needed to come out victorious.
“[The] offensive line did a great job creating holes for the running backs and holding their ground so the quarterback could throw the ball. Some amazing pass plays (by senior quarterback Thomas Keeling) gave us great field position. Defense fought hard too and were always in the right place at the right time,” senior Jared Harlan said.
Keeling had a terrific game with over 50% completion percentage, 71 yards, and 2 touchdowns, along with a rushing touchdown.
“It was a tough season overall but it was great to end on a win especially with such a great team effort. It was definitely sad to have finished my last high school game but looking back it has been a great experience and I couldn’t have asked for better teammates,” Keeling said.
The defense also made massive plays throughout the game, including two touchdowns on interceptions by senior Austin Lake and sophomore Julius Jiang.
The game brought out a lot of emotion in not just the seniors, as everyone on the team knew it was their last time playing together.
“I didn’t want the game to end, knowing the seniors were gonna leave… it was the most emotional night of football, winning the game to send the seniors off, and saying our goodbyes. The best moment of it all is that we ruined Beckman’s hopes for a CIF run,” Lucas said.
Other underclassmen felt similarly.
“Playing with the seniors for the last time was a great experience because we finished on a win but it was sad because it was the last time I will ever be on the field with them,” Nejad said.
Coach Meyer hopes these juniors will be ready to lead the team next year.
“I really enjoyed coaching this group and am already excited to start preparing our team for next season. We have a lot of young players returning that gained valuable experience this year,” Meyer said.