Brahmas branded for first time in seven years

Diamond Bar failed to seven-peat, losing to rival Walnut, 21-15.

Ryan Chae, Sports Editor

It had to end someday. The chants, the confetti and the colored powder, the end was inevitable. When the yellow and purple smoke cleared, the Diamond Bar High School football team was no longer the owner of the Branding Iron, losing to Walnut High School for the first time in seven years, 21-15.

Down by just six points with a little over two minutes left in the game, the Brahmas were unable to score a touchdown, even after entering the Mustangs’ redzone. The game ended on a 4th and 10 incompletion from Walnuts’ 20, as sophomore quarterback Dylan Karanickolas was unable to complete a pass in the endzone.

“We got to learn how to persevere and finish. The game of football is an up and down game, just like life. When you’re down, you gotta learn how to dig deep and go for it,” head coach Kevin Argumosa said.

In the first quarter, the Mustangs received the kickoff and started at their 34. However, DB’s defense quickly went to work, forcing and recovering a fumble. Their first drive was unsuccessful as the Brahmas were unable to convert a fourth down on the Mustang’s 19.

On its next drive, Walnut was forced to punt, and DB kickstarted a drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by junior Jacob Gonzalez with less than two minutes in the first quarter. The Brahmas extended their lead with a 2-point conversion that saw Karanickolas dodge multiple defenders and find the open receiver, senior Devon Johnson.

Down 8-0 in the second quarter, the Mustangs found an opportunity to gain momentum when the team recovered a DB fumble on the Brahmas 25. With eight minutes left in the half, the Mustangs cut the lead to 8-7 by scoring a touchdown and the extra point.

As momentum began to swing in Walnut’s favor, junior running back Jeremiah Chukwadobe returned a kickoff for an 85-yard  touchdown. Scoring the extra point, the Brahmas were up 15-7 with a little under eight minutes in the second quarter.

After recovering a failed onside kick, the Mustangs powered through for a touchdown pass and, again, were only one point behind after scoring the extra point with four minutes to go.

Neither team would score for the rest of the half, and Walnut ended the half with a kneel-down in its own redzone.

DB started the second half with the ball, but neither team would score any points until the fourth quarter when the Mustangs turned a 3rd and 25 into a 26-yard rushing touchdown with 10 minutes left in the game.

Senior Charles Miller returned the kickoff to DB’s 44, giving the Brahmas good field position and an opportunity to take control. A failed fourth down conversion ended that chance as the  Mustangs took the ball  on their own 38.

DB got the ball back after forcing the Mustangs to punt with less than seven minutes in the game, but Karanickolas was intercepted at the Brahmas’ 28. The Mustangs tried their best to stretch their lead and run time off the clock, but a failed fake field goal attempt gave the ball back to the Brahmas on their five with  2:19 left in the game.

With the aid of multiple clutch catches by senior Shane Wells and a few penalty calls, the Brahmas were in the Mustangs’ 20. But even with the four chances, DB was unable to score a touchdown to possibly  tie or win the game, ending their six-year reign as the winner of the Branding Iron.

Although the team took a tough loss, Argumosa understands that it will take time for the Brahmas to truly develop.

“It’s a learning process. It’s going to take a while. We’ve been building since April, but you know, Rome wasn’t built in one day.”  

Next Friday, DB has another opportunity to win their first game of the season as the Covina Colts visit the Brahmas.