The Bull's Eye

Showtime for the Brahmas in League Opener

Coming off the bye week, football head coach Jeff Reitz and his staff worked on the teams’ conditioning and focused on the smaller aspects of its game.

The practice proved effective, as  Diamond Bar High School dominated on Chino’s home turf on Friday evening, winning the game 34-25, and bringing its  season record to 2-4 in the first league game of the year. The Brahmas had two noteworthy touchdowns that were over 70 yards long by seniors Matthew Uballe and Jeremiah Chukwudobe.

“One thing we did is worked hard on our conditioning. The next thing we did is worked on doing the little things right. We weren’t finishing [plays] and getting tackles,” Reitz said.

The first quarter started  slowly, with both teams trading multiple drives. The stalemate was broken when the Cowboys advanced to  the Brahmas’ 23, but a fumble recovery from DB gave the Brahmas possession of the ball.

Despite being deep in its own territory,  a 77-yard touchdown was scored by Uballe, who received the pass from junior quarterback Dylan Karanickolas. The Brahmas then went  for a two-point conversion and were successful with Chukwudobe running past defenders into the endzone. This gave DB the lead 8-0 with 5 minutes left to go in the first quarter.

On defense, the Brahmas made quick work of Chino, forcing  a three and out. They took advantage of starting at midfield, and after six plays, Karanickolas faked a QB sneak and swung around into the endzone for another DB touchdown. The two-point conversion that followed was successful again and the Brahmas doubled their lead to end the first quarter 16-0.

However, Chino responded early in the next quarter with a 21-yard touchdown. An attempt at a two point conversion was unsuccessful after an interception by DB. The failed attempt was forgotten when Chino recovered their own punt after a DB fumble. After a fourth-down conversion, the Cowboys ended their drive by scoring a touchdown on second down. The completed PAT brought them within three points of DB, with 7:47 left to go in the second quarter.

Because of a short punt by the Cowboys, DB was able to return the ball to Chino’s 45. A pass interference penalty called on Chino awarded the Brahmas 15 yards, and the following completed pass from Karanickolas to senior Kai Smith brought the Brahmas into the red zone. The quarterback fed Chukwudobe on the next two plays, who ran 11 yards and then nine to score a TD to end the first half, with the Brahmas leading 22-13.

The second half started much like the beginning of the game,  with both teams keeping each other from gaining much yardage on each drive. The game was at a standstill with only two minutes left in the third until Chino scored on a run play, but failed to complete the PAT. The quarter ended with both teams still fighting for the win 22-19.

In the first four minutes of the last quarter, a key interception from Chukwudobe at DB’s 25 was converted into a 75-yard rushing touchdown, giving  the Brahmas a 9 point lead. Their offensive momentum translated on defense when a crucial sack on Chino’s quarterback resulted in a fumble recovery by the Brahmas.

Chukwudobe scored his third touchdown of the night on the drive after the recovery, which gave DB its second highest lead of the game, 34-19 over the Cowboys. Chino desperately fought to get back into the game, but their only touchdown of the final quarter happened with under a minute left to play. The Brahmas ran out the remainder of the game time and won 34-25.

Reitz expressed his happiness about the teams’ performance after the game ended.

“Tonight was a really good night for the guys to understand— I’ve been telling them how good they can be, and they’re having a tough time believing it, but they’re starting to [see] it,” Reitz said.

The Brahmas look to get their third win of the season against Ontario next Friday.

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