Wildcats beat Rocklin 48-34 in second annual Quarry Bowl

The Wildcat varsity football team gathers with their trophy on Sep. 9. Photo by Ilaf Esuf.

The day started with the morning rally covered by “Good Day Sacramento” and ended with a Wildcat victory over the Rocklin Thunder with a final score of 48-34. From 6:30 in the morning until 11 o’clock at night, echoes of  Wildcat chants and flashes of maroon and gold spirit wear filled the campus. This football game was not just another Friday night at Whitney High School; it was the second annual Quarry Bowl.

After the national anthem, sung by Hunter Blofsky, a presentation of the color guard, and the coin toss, Whitney kicked off to Rocklin and thus began the game. Within two minutes, Rocklin scored a touchdown and took the lead 7-0. Both Rocklin and Whitney then scored, making the score 13-7 for the first quarter.

As the quarter came to a close, the Wildcat crowd jumped to their feet as “All We Do Is Win” blasted through the speakers for the flash mob.

“ASB saw how big of a success (the flash mob) was at the Sadies rally and decided it would be amazing to do it with a larger crowd. It unites the school and looks incredible when so many people do it together,” Priya Garcha said.

Immediately following the flash mob, the Wildcats tied it up at 13 with a run by #9, Christian Daniels. Led by quarterback Jake Rodrigues, the Wildcats took their first lead of the game at 20-13. Then after a tying touchdown by Rocklin, another Daniels’ touchdown right before halftime gave Whitney the lead that they would keep for the rest of the game.

After the halftime show, which consisted of both schools’ cheer squads and dance teams, as well as the Whitney marching band, Daniels scored another touchdown, resulting in a score of 34-20. The other two touchdowns of the quarter were only possible after defensive plays by #12, Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, with a pass deflection resulting in a Rocklin turnover on downs, a quarterback sack and an interception by #13, Sean O’Brien, that the announcer proclaimed as the “grid-iron defensive play of the game.”

With passes from Rodrigues, Cope-Fitzpatrick and Daniels scored the last two touchdowns of the game for Whitney in the end of the third quarter to make the score 48-20. Although Rocklin scored two more touchdowns as well, it was not enough to catch up.

The clock ran out and the Wildcats joined the student section in victory chants, singing “We Are The Champions” in a mass of maroon and gold. Showing their ongoing spirit, Kayli Shaw, screaming and relentlessly cheering for the Cats, and Hunter Lake, dressed in a sparkling gold suit, won the titles of X-Factor Superfans of the Game.

However, the support and pride for the team did not only come from student fans.

“The football players were unbelievably tough. They put in endless hours. I’m proud of the coaches and the team,” Mr. Mark Williams, the athletic director, said.

Playing at home, the team had a drive to prove themselves.

“Last year we were nervous and came out really timid. This year, being our home (field), we wanted to defend our shield and beat Rocklin after last year’s loss,” Cope-Fitzpatrick said.

Huddled together and dripping with sweat, the team listened to one last speech from Coach Mike Gimenez before they left to celebrate their Quarry Bowl victory.

Gimenez said, “There’s a lot of kids who played in this program who didn’t get a chance to (beat Rocklin). I told you this was going to be a lot of firsts for this group. We can’t look back to what other groups have done. This is the first group to ever put their name on that trophy. The only thing I want to remind you of is that that was not one of our goals this year. That was an expectation. That was your hard work and sweat that you put in. You guys dominated on both sides of the ball, and you get to look at (the trophy) for 365 days. Monday: back to work.”