The varsity Wildcats take on Rocklin Thunder Sept. 10 in the Quarry Bowl after the Whitney JV victory earlier in the evening.
PHOTO by MARIAH FAIRBANKS
With a deafening roar from a sea of maroon and gold, JV players rush to the students in high spirits to share in their 19-0 victory over the Thunder in the inaugural Quarry Bowl game, played Sept. 10 at Rocklin. Chants of “You wish you were a Wildcat” and the fight song slowly mesh into high-pitched screams and low rumbling cheers as the varsity team enters the stadium of 5,500 students and parents, waiting with baited breath to witness the biggest game of this town’s history.
Using the sound system in the press box to broadcast a message, the ASB presidents from both schools try to bring sportsmanship to the crowd, somewhat unsuccessfully, as the rivalry strengthens in the closing moments before the teams take the field.
Echoes of boos aimed at Rocklin as they line up fade almost as quickly as they began once the National Anthem is sung: the game begins.
The kick return by # 21, Shawn Azam, ends in an incredible touchdown which is taken back seconds later by a yellow flag for holding on the Cats. With the team starting back at their own 20 yard line, students begin a chorus of “Fair game, the refs were paid!”
Tragedy strikes when the Thunder score a touchdown in the sixth minute of the first quarter, leading the way to another Rocklin touchdown in the ninth minute. With 23 seconds left in the quarter, the Wildcats almost score, but are rejected the opportunity to catch up to Rocklin and must start the second quarter down 14-0.
“It is unfair and the game is rigged because [the referees] are taking away our touchdowns,” Kayla Kellogg said.
Soon after though, # 8, Corey Palin, scores the first Wildcat touchdown and sends the crowd into a frenzy. Then again with 3 seconds left before the half, Palin scores and brings back hope to the fans with a score of 35-12.
The third quarter consists of two Rocklin touchdowns, and as with the rest of the game, many flags against the Cats. However, there were times when there was no sign of a foul on the play.
“There is no flag, it’s a miracle,” Jacob Zufelt said.
Despite crowd rowdiness over bad referee calls, Palin scored again in the final 2 minutes.
The sea of maroon and gold slowly disperse throughout the last 12 minutes of the game as the fourth quarter winds down to a sad defeat of 48-19.
“I think this will motivate the kids to get dialed in. We have got a long way to go and got to get to playoffs,” Coach Michael Gimenez said.
Although the rivalry in this game kicked the competition up a few notches, this was only a preseason game, and therefore is just preparation for the season ahead. But for the players, the Quarry Bowl intensity will not so easily be forgotten.
“It definitely put a fire in our butts and will make us work harder and come back to do what we do best,” quarterback Jake Rodrigues said.
The fire between these two teams will be reignited next year when the Quarry Bowl tradition continues, switching to the Wildcat Stadium. But for now, this isn’t the teams major concern.
“Monday we just need to get back to work,” Gimenez said.
They have a football season to worry about now.
By SHAI NIELSON and EMMA RICHIE