Heavily penalized loss is a low point for Tranquillity players
By DANIEL CASAREZ
Vida en el Valle/McClatchy News
(Published Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 04:52PM)
FIREBAUGH Tranquillity High School was pumped just a couple of weeks ago in anticipation of a Westside showdown at Firebaugh.
Maybe it was nerves. Maybe test anxiety, but the Tranquillity Tigers varsity football team fizzled and lost 42-13, while giving up nearly 400 yards in penalties.
This was the second Westside rivalry for the Tigers, now 2-4. The first was a loss to Caruthers.
"We just had too many penalties. We didn't perform as good as we should," said Tranquillity head coach Juan Sandoval.
Sandoval was forced to watch a game where the referees mark off more yardage in penalties than what his receivers had. Sandoval's concern, most likely, was how the Tigers will fare against westside rivals Mendota (5-1) and Dos Palos (1-5).
"The whole game we had like 45 penalties in the first half," said Sandoval.
"I can't total them out right now because it's like what? 10 yards here, 10 yards there."
After dropping the season's first three games against Kingsburg, Le Grand and Caruthers, Tranquillity had sound victories against Fresno Christian and Riverdale.
The Tigers spirit was high.
"My kids do a good job, but what I tell them is to perform on the field. We have a good team, we should've found ourselves. They know I preach to them a lot. It's that I have heart for my team and for my kids. They just need to mature I guess, and realize that varsity football is about being mature and to play," he said.
"I believe we did pass the test, but we killed ourselves on penalties," said Jesús Juárez, a junior and one of the Tigers' cornerbacks and receivers. "Everybody let down. We could've beat this team."
Dampening the spirit further was the loss of leading rusher and senior Mauricio Cázares, who suffered from dizziness after going helmet-to-helmet and suffering a second-quarter concussion.
Cázares remained on the sideline the rest of the game.
"It breaks our heart when that (Cázares' injury) happens, but we're supposed to fight and fight until another guy steps up. I can be one of those guys, but we got to know how to use the players," said Juárez.
It was no consolation to Sandoval that the Mendota Aztecs (5-1) lost 28-14 to Dos Palos, who is 1-5. He simply said that his worry is on Tranquillity and not the standings, and that every hope for making the playoffs remains.
"Mendota won a championship last year. We won a championship in 2008. Our kids can do it," ended Sandoval.
Sandoval did not call a practice for last Monday. He decided the coaching staff needed a day off, but several teammates called a huddle to arrange a workout.
"Kids who want to win, they going to practice on the weekend; at school and at home," added Sandoval.
Avenal High School awaits the Tigers on Friday (Oct. 12). The Buccaneers have a record of 5-2 after losing, 49-0, to Coalinga last Friday.