Homecoming: Linden v. Bret Harte

Frogs Jump Into Lion Territory

Friday, Sept 21, Linden High football faced long-time rival Bret Harte at home for the much anticipated homecoming game. 

Being on a high school team can be nerve wracking: from attending conditioning the spring before, to trying your very best to win all your games, all while doing your best to keep up your grades.  In addition, varsity football’s new head football coach, Chris Herrera, is requiring his boys to step it up a notch, as they must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA. 

JV fights for a win against the Bret Harte Frogs.

One may say that the most intense sport is football because players are pushed past their limits once talk about homecoming begins. This is shown as both Linden football teams worked themselves tirelessly as the homecoming game grew near. Although the Frogs and the Lions have met on the field many times before, this year there was a clear sense of determination from the Lions. The confidence and positive energy during the games provided from the teams was uplifting, which led the crowd to roar in excitement.

The junior varsity football team had the crowd on their feet almost immediately as they started off the first quarter ahead 7-6.

Their past wins this season have boosted their confidence, resulting in a determined team with high hopes of winning the game. The Lions were pumped up with adrenaline as they would get up almost immediately after being thrown to the ground and tackled by the Frogs.

Freshman quarterback Cruz Herrera’s direct pass to his twin brother, freshman tight end Alex Herrera allowed the Lions to score yet another touchdown.

The lead on the scoreboard wasn’t big enough for the Lions. Although they attempted many more plays in hopes of scoring another touchdown, there was little success. Late in the fourth quarter with just 2 minutes on the clock, the Lion’s  were sacked on their 10-yard line.  The varsity football team just behind the end zone, cheered the JV defense on as they fought to keep the Frogs from scoring. With their defense’s hard work and determination,  the JV Lions sealed up a 15-12 win over the Frogs. All the sweat and hard work put in at practice had definitely paid off at the game as they made their town proud.

The JV team huddles to prepare the next play against the Frogs

The Varsity team was also eager to improve over  last year’s performance. For Coach Herrera, an alum of Linden High and his first homecoming as varsity football head coach, it was one of the most important games of the year. 

“No matter where I have been in my life, I’ve rarely missed homecoming.”said Herrera.  “A lot of alumni come back, and it’s a great time to catch up with old friends and root for your alma mater. The community gets excited, and specifically the  Blue Crew is so hyped up. ”

Once the game started, this eagerness showed as the lineup seemed to take effect almost immediately once they were able to run the ball past the Frogs.

Despite being down 0-13 in the first quarter, the team continued to give it their all in attempts to regain their territory.  

Junior Vincent Cao said, “I was pumped up the first half but later lost hope as we could not score on offense or stop them on defense.  In the end, I was not only upset with my own effort but the team’s as well.”

Despite the growing gap on the score board, the team worked together and managed to score two touchdowns bringing them to 14-34 in the second half.

The cheerleaders as well as the fans didn’t let the score silence them. They continued to cheer on the Lions in hopes of keeping the team’s spirits up.

The final score was Lions 28- Frogs 48.

Senior quarterback Kaige Camper admits he “expected a lot more” and thinks his team could have done better.  Camper said, “I was fighting to win and the team was fighting to win, but sometimes the game doesn’t go your way.”

For seniors who have battle against Bret Harte for four years, this game held extra meaning.

“Before the game, I was all pumped for the game,” said senior strong safety and free safety Robert Cook. “The team played hard, but sometimes you just get beat.  After the game, it set in with me that this was the last homecoming game I’ll ever play here.  I love my football team, and with JV I see a bright future for our program.”

The Lions walked off the field with a smile on their faces because they knew they gave it their all and didn’t disappoint their fans.

Their coach didn’t feel let down, either.

“It was a great night,” said Herrera. “I was extremely proud of our effort and the tremendous support we received.  I can’t wait until next year! Go, Lions!”

The community of Linden crowding the stands to support their Lions