Football reaches new heights

Showcasing grit unlike ever before, the Diamond Bar High School football team progressed all the way to the Division 9 CIF Finals, the furthest they have ever gotten in over 20 years.

Boasting a 12-2 overall record at the end of their season and showing significant improvement from previous seasons, the team was able to move up several divisions. Despite this sudden step up, the team was able to perform better than ever before, narrowly missing the championship to Laguna Beach at home on Nov. 26.

Even without carrying the championship title, the Brahmas’ accomplishments still stand out, particularly because of the rarity of such an event.

“The semifinal is extremely important as…DB football hasn’t been there in over 20 years,” said Vic Flores, DBHS alumni and former middle linebacker for the Brahmas, who also expressed his excitement about the achievement. “My emotions for the team’s success were nothing but pure excitement. The way both sides of the ball played was phenomenal.”

Many players attributed their extended success to the newest addition to the team: head coach Matt Castaneda. Castaneda comes from a background of four years of coaching football at Rosemead High School, as well as at Glendale Community College. He was also a decorated player in his days as a quarterback in high school and college, only stopped by an injury that took him from the field to the sidelines.  

Castaneda himself was optimistic about the performance of the team from the beginning and continued to help them train their basics so as to achieve a higher level of play.

“For the first time in recent years, we opened the season 5-0,” Castaneda said via text. “We [focused] on the small details and fundamentals before anything else.”

Under the new head coach’s leadership, the football team has been able to reach heights unseen in previous years. After their unfortunate loss to Walnut High School at last year’s Branding Iron, this year’s team was able to bring the victory back to DBHS.

“I really couldn’t be happier with the way things worked out,” he said. “Our senior starting quarterback was out, but even in the worst-case scenario, we were able to make things work out and do better than ever before.”

In light of all this, the team remains grateful for all the students, alumni and parents who have supported them throughout their run this season.

“We are so appreciative of all the people—cheer, song, USB, maintenance, teachers, parents—for all their support this season,” Castaneda said. “It’s been a great season so far, and we are thankful for everyone’s support, hard work, and dedication they have given our football team.”