First Home Football Game of the Year

For the past almost two years there’s been a whole lot of nothing.

Shut down because of Covid, almost everything couldn´t be done – extracurricular and even school – in person.

But, well into this past May, things started taking a turn for the better. And now, just a few weeks ago, Cal High had its first ¨normal¨ home Varsity Football Game in over a year.

The return of sports games to a somewhat conventional capacity on campus has brought us all a new sense of excitement and normalcy – something we´ve all needed for quite some time. And what could be more awaited than a Varsity Football game on our home turf?

Friday, August 27th, the Cal Condors took on the El Toro Chargers at seven PM in what resulted in the latter´s victory of 27-7 later that night.

For the first half of the game, the Condors were on fire and Senior running back Vance Johnson was in the limelight. Sixteen carries, an 8-yard touchdown run, and a game-high run of 92 yards were completed by the Senior that night and boy was he on a roll! And we can´t forget sophomore running back Jonathan Castillo who caught a 20-yard pass for the Condors shortly after.

Late in the first quarter, Cal struck with a 75-yard drive and Johnson highlighted the drive with a 26 -yard run on the third down. This brought the ball into El Toro territory.

The Chargers weren’t calling it quits that early into the game though and came back to tie the game 7-7 early in the second quarter. Cal responded with a long drive that ended in their opponent’s territory. 

Nevertheless, the Chargers took the lead at the end of the half with a field goal and the lead stretched to 17-7 in the third quarter. Four interceptions and two lost fumbles led to the 24-7 loss for the Condors. The game concluded with El Toro as the night´s victors.

¨I think the game went well,¨ says Varsity Football Coach Mr. Zamora, despite the loss. ¨Our goal is to get in the playoffs every year. Playing quality programs will help us achieve this goal.¨

Sounds to me like this game might have been a warmup. The Condors are just getting started! Best of luck to our varsity team on their season!

In other corners of the stadium, spirits were high.

Ask me to a cartwheel and I´d die but for the Cal High Pepsters – tumbling around is their job. Hair slicked back and uniforms on, rallying the crowd was their number one job on the 27th. If you´re looking for positivity, their place on the track is where you’ll find it.

And according to Pepsters head Coach Mz. Behr, the Pepsters have maintained this attitude since their time at camp. 

¨Our pepsters team started the year with an incredible performance at camp this summer. They attended an elite camp and were extremely focused and determined to improve their skills, be positive leaders and put their best effort into making this year awesome,¨ she says.

The JV and Varsity Pepsters earned the Unity Award at camp, voted by all the schools who thought displayed the most teamwork, hard work, and performance at evaluations.

¨I’m looking forward to the competition season where we can put our skills to the test against other schools. We are hoping to bring home another national championship and perhaps claim a CIF championship in January. ¨

Congratulations on your win Pepsters, and best of luck for your season!

And finally, what’s an event without music?

The Cal High Entertainment Unit (aka the Band) kicked off the game with an amazing pregame performance. Clad in their blue, white, black, and yellow uniforms, the band marched out in formation, ready to start the game. 

For the entirety of the event, at predetermined intervals, the large band would stand in their designated bleachers and play their pep tunes. But that wasn´t the most impressive feat the musicians achieved that night. It was their halftime performance.

One movement out of four of their ¨And the Stars Will Guide You Home¨ show was performed that night. And boy, did week’s worth of practice pay off!

What started in a calm cadence with the musicians gathered to one side of the field ended with a jarring last chord. Out of breath but proud, the band marched off the field, leaving a round of applause in their wake.

In some parts of the field, the experience was bittersweet.

¨After marching into the stadium it hit,¨ says a senior in the Band. ¨My final year as a senior, and coming back to the field after one and a half years.¨ 

Setting up for the halftime performance, hugs and handshakes could be seen on the track from the older members. A bittersweet feeling for the seniors indeed.

¨Felt awesome and a little sad. Marching my last first football game.¨

This was only the beginning of what the Entertainment Unit has to offer though. At the moment, every single one of them is working their hardest to piece together the rest of their show and take it on to competitions.

“From the pregame performance, down to the halftime performance, there was a spark of energy that the students carried with them to the field,” says Mr. Hernandez, the director of the EU. “There is no one who is more proud of these students than me.” 

The band has picked up where it left off 17 months ago with some new members for the ride and according to Mr. Hernandez, “There is something special about this season’s iteration of the Entertainment Unit and I can’t wait to see how far they will go!”

Good luck to the Band on the rest of their season and may ¨the stars guide them home.¨

See what I did there?

Across the stadium, it was evident that the 27th was an exciting night for all. Within the stands, the crowd was cheering the football team on and there was a special buzz in the air. There’s definitely a lot to get used to – like the mask-wearing – but the first home game of the season was definitely a good year to get us all back into the swing of things.

In the end, despite the loss, school spirit was the most important thing that night and what started out as a football game, ultimately became a well-needed social event.

Cal High Stadium

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