Brahmas reclaim Branding Iron

After a two-year hiatus, the Branding Iron has finally returned to Brahma territory.

With the graduation of many senior starters, both Diamond Bar and Walnut featured a lot of new faces on the turf. However, the Brahmas displayed great team chemistry and preparation, resulting in a dominant 34-14 victory against the lagging Mustangs.

“For this game, we probably did the most preparation than any of our previous years. We took the time to make sure everyone understood their position without question,” senior team captain Leo Carreon said. “And, as Branding Iron week came by, we took some time away from school events to watch film during those lunch periods and discuss how Walnut plays.” 

The highlight of the game, a 60-yard pass from senior quarterback Dylan Karanickolas to junior Blake Davis for a touchdown during the third quarter, electrified the Brahma crowd and foreshadowed the Mustang loss.

Although the match started with an uneventful first quarter, the end of the second quarter signaled the start of the Brahmas’ onslaught. With a combination of passes and carries, juniors Chase Wells and Josiah Hunter moved the ball from Walnut’s 43 into the red zone, resulting in Hunter running for a seven-yard touchdown, putting DB on the scoreboard 6-0.

The low-scoring game of the first half changed quickly after halftime.

The Brahmas returned from the locker room with intensity, forcing a punt by Walnut on the opening drive. Two passes by Karanickolas brought the Brahmas from the Walnut 35 into the red zone. Junior Jojo Alarcon completed the drive with a six-yard touchdown, and scoring the two-point conversion, extending DB’s lead to 14-0. The Brahma defense held strong and forced yet another punt from Walnut on the next drive. Davis then responded with the crowd-pleasing  60-yard touchdown, and a PAT from the Brahmas brought their lead up to 21-0 by the end of the third quarter.

“We were able to adjust our defense from last year and prepare for their misdirection play style of offense,” Carreon said. “Everyone knew the only way to beat them [Walnut] was to play disciplined and aggressive, and every time we stepped on the field we repeated that to ourselves.” 

The scoreless Mustangs attempted to put up a fight, with two unanswered touchdowns by sophomore Ruben Rivera and junior  Donovan Wallace and two PAT’s, closing their deficit 21-14 in the middle of the last quarter. However, time was not on Walnut’s side. The Brahmas destroyed the Mustangs’ chances of coming back with another touchdown by Davis on the next drive and a subsequent pick-six by Carreon to secure the victory 34-14.