Football team’s season ends on heartbreaking, high-scoring CCS loss

November 27, 2018 — by Leo Cao and Alex Wang

Earlier in the year,  junior wide receiver Max Muilenberg picks himself up. He starred in the Falcons loss to Gonzales after George Bian went down with an injury.

Chants of “CCS” rang in the stands after the Falcons won their senior night game 54-27 against Los Altos on Oct. 26. They cruised through their last game at Lynbrook 55-0 on Nov. 2 and traveled to Gonzales High School on Nov. 9 for the opening round of Division 5 CCS play.

In an evenly matched game,  the Falcons saw victory slip away in the fourth quarter, losing 54-49.

Senior running back JJ Wang said that the game was one that the Falcons could have won, but lost thanks to turnovers.

“It was unfortunate that we lost; however, as a team, that was one of our best games,” Wang said.

Building on their momentum and qualification for CCS, the Falcons practiced hard during the week to give themselves the best shot to try to win the game against Gonzales, wide receiver George Bian said.

However, the game against the Spartans turned out differently than they had hoped. After making an immediate impact in the first quarter with two touchdown catches and a 14-13 lead, Bian, the team’s star receiver, was sidelined for the rest of the game with an ankle sprain.

“I was really upset that I couldn’t play because I might have been able to make some big plays for our team,” Bian said.

In the second quarter, the Falcons quickly moved on from Bian’s injury and kept the game even. Both teams found the end zone once and the Falcons led going into halftime 21-20.

Coming out of halftime, the Falcons made a big splash. After stopping the Spartans on the first drive, Stokes threw a screen pass to junior wide receiver Max Muilenburg that he took 97 yards to the house, making the score 28-20 after the point after.

In return, the Spartans kept pounding with their rushing attack and marched to the field for another score. On the ensuing drive, the Wang fumbled the ball on a rush and a Spartan defender recovered it and raced 74 yards down the field for a touchdown. This back-and-forth scoring went on for the rest of the game.

Going into the fourth quarter, the Falcons led 35-34. Each time one team scored, the other would respond with a touchdown of their own.

“During the fourth quarter, I could almost feel the tension in the air,” Bian said. “Sitting on the sidelines, I was obviously extremely angry that I couldn’t play because of my ankle, but I could feel the determination within our players to fight every down. There wasn’t a single person on our sideline that doubted we had a chance to win.”

As the game clock wound down, the Spartans managed to find the end zone one more time with an 18-yard rushing touchdown, putting them ahead 54-49. The Falcons got the ball back after kickoff on their own 20-yard line, ready to march down the field to try to win the 5-point game. After moving the chains for a first down, Stokes launched a deep shot downfield to Wang for 33 yards that set up one last try for a score on the 36-yard line. Stokes took the snap, rolled out to his right and let the ball fly to the end zone. Muilenburg, who was covered by two Spartan defenders, leaped up to make the catch, but the ball was batted away, sealing the win for the Spartans.

After the loss, the team was devastated because the game had represented the end of all their hard work and time put in throughout the season. The seniors were hit especially hard because it was their last high school football game, Bian said.

After moving down to the less competitive El Camino League this year, the Falcons managed to turn around a 1-4 start to their season and win five straight league games, returning the team to the CCS after missing the playoffs last year with a 1-9 record. With their 5-1 league and 6-4 overall record, the Falcons came in as the fifth seed in the tournament, which is based on league and school size.

The Falcons plowed through the Lynbrook Vikings the previous week. The result was a 55-0 blowout where the coaches rested some of their starters, most notably Wang and Bian, and instead, gave the backups more opportunities to play.

Playing the backups seemed to make no difference on the outcome, though, as senior Justin Chao rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns and senior Dorian Glon caught two passes and rushed for a touchdown that contributed to a team total of eight touchdowns.

The result was not at all surprising because the Vikings scored only 53 points the whole season, while they have given up 514 points to opposing teams.

“I think we gained confidence not only because of the Lynbrook game but because of the past five games that we won in a row,” Wang said. “The wins brought us closer together as a team and helped us to play with better chemistry.”

For next season, the younger players are working hard to improve their game. A majority of the team played varsity for the first time this year, so with a season under their belt, they will look to find even more success next year.

“We will try to work super hard in the weight room and on the practice field to improve upon our skills and team chemistry,” Bian said.

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