Ava Seccuro staff writer
The varsity football team won their season opener 32-0 over Sotomayor High School. This was the team’s first win since they beat Santa Monica at homecoming in 2015. After their 21-game losing streak over the course of the past three seasons, the Normans are so far 1-0 under the guidance of new coach, former NFL player, Jarrod Bunch.
The team energy and chemistry were consistently high throughout the whole game with five touchdowns scored by senior captain running back Alex Vaca; senior captain running back Nick Sullivan; senior middle linebacker Jerick Kim; junior running back Ilai Dardashti; and junior quarterback Thomas Recupero. For the duration of the four quarters, the offense had an aggressive approach with two 20-yard carries by Dardashti and Vaca in the second quarter. In addition, the defense kept Sotomayor from scoring once the entire game.
Despite the palpable ecstasy on the field, the win came with some critical injuries, most notably being that junior Ethan Etebar dislocated his elbow 10 minutes into the first quarter. According to Vaca, it was his teammates’ struggles that motivated him toward winning.
“[The win] meant a lot to me, a lot to the boys. We were all crying. It was a really emotional moment and it felt great,” Vaca said. “I [give] this win to Etebar. He was so hyped up to play first game this season. I’m so sad that he didn’t get to participate, but we won that for him.”
For some of Vaca’s teammates, the thirst for victory has been present since they first became a Norman. The emotion of the win came from the preconceived notions of how the team represented the school.
“This means the whole world to me right now. Everyone always doubted us, saying that we were trash and everything like that, but we finally got the W. I’m speechless right now. I’ve been waiting for this win since I was a freshman,” Sullivan said. “I’m proud of [the other team] and of my own team. We fought and we put our blood, sweat and tears into this game.”
This win rewarded the team for their continuous efforts. The camaraderie of the players, which strengthened during the summer, has strengthened the team dynamic, motivating the team to keep up the streak.
“We’re all just very excited that we ended that tradition of everyone thinking that the football team isn’t anything special. We’re ready to show everyone that the football team is ready to take over,” Dardashti said.
With the steady ambitions of school domination, a visibly strong bond heavily contributed to the team’s success upon winning.
“It’s so awesome to win a game for this school and I think it means so much for everybody bringing the culture back to this school,” Recupero said.
In an effort to refine the program in and of itself, Coach Bunch wants the support of the school to change the way the program used to be regarded.
“I just hope the community realizes we are on an upswing. It’s a rebuilding process…we are trying to get the community of Beverly Hills behind us,” Bunch said. “We want to change the Beverly Hills High School football program period. That is what I have been preaching to them ever since the summer, when we started off with only 11 kids.”
During preseason conditioning, Bunch established a new standard to live up to in order to set the team up for success.
“I [owe] the win to the coaches. They set a new attitude that was not at this school at the time…last season there was a little more messing around…but now we’re really starting to work,” Dardashti said.
In terms of working toward the team’s goals, Bunch’s philosophy is teaching the basics. Later on, with a good offensive and defense set of plays, the team will be equipped to face their major challenges.
“We wanted to run the ball and we wanted to have a good defense. You put those two things together and that’s a winning formula…that’s what we tried to do,” Bunch said. “We realize we’re going to be challenged, but when the games that we should win, we win, I’m happy.”
The team’s next game is on Friday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. against Malibu High School (2-0).