Ava Seccuro co-editor-in-chief
Donned in orange threads and coming down from their high ensued by a big comeback win against the Cerritos Dons last week, The varsity football team swept the homecoming game against the Firebaugh Falcons 36-18.
The Normans entered this game with one set intention: to get the first back-to-back win since 2010. With electric energy and support from coaches, teammates and alumni players alike, the Normans certainly showed up. The coalescence of the team this go-around was unparalleled to anything seen in previous seasons since the Normans’ slump after the 2013 season. With cheers of encouragement and intense focus, the offense and defense line started off strong with a rushing touchdown from senior captain quarterback Thomas Recupero four minutes into the first quarter.
The sidelines roared with each play and as the Normans continually moved the chain, they kept their offense aggressive and defense steady–so much so that the Falcons would later smack the field in frustration after a tackle. The Falcons didn’t rack any points on the scoreboard until midway through the third quarter, still trailing behind The Normans’ 30-6 lead.
This game, for head coach Jarrod Bunch, symbolized a shift in gears for the Normans’ playing style and mentality.
“Anytime you win, you’re always happy. This is the first home game, homecoming, and we’re coming down from a big victory last week. So, usually, we have a problem that after we win, to let down, and we didn’t let down,” Bunch said.
Recupero, on the other hand, credits the win to the momentum the team had from their win against the Dons.
“After our comeback win last Friday we had momentum coming into this game,” Recupero said. “We knew that they would have to put up a big fight to stop us so the momentum just carried us through tonight.”
Although they didn’t play their best game, Bunch said, the Normans still “ran the ball” and put up yards which was exactly the strategy Bunch wanted to establish, he said.
Preparation for the game wasn’t easy, senior captain wide receiver Will Liner said. After their win against the Dons, they conditioned and ran drills every day, including weekends, to ensure the back-to-back win, he said.
With the seniors’ last homecoming game in the books, Liner said that his “last rodeo” motivated him to play his hardest: three touchdowns to be exact.
This sentiment, however, motivates other teammates who will be returning next year, such as junior running back Vernon Tucker.
With heavy tackles and a 40-yard dash, Tucker followed the “no yards gained” mentality to block out the Falcons, he said.
After all the glitz and glamour of the Normans’ victory, Bunch scheduled practice for 10 a.m. the next morning.
With the goal of playoffs in mind, Bunch wants to start league in a positive state of mind as they play ostensibly the toughest team in Ocean League, the Lawndale Cardinals (3-2), away on Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.
“We’re 3-2, over 500 for halfway through the season, and we just want to come into league on a high,” Bunch said. “We know we’re playing the best team in the league next week, Lawndale, so we just want to be able to come in a play hard.”
Stay tuned for more content about Homecoming week.