Amid the performances from the Dance Company and Pep Squad in anticipation for the results of homecoming queen, the Brahmas pulled out a close game, proving victorious against the Ontario Jaguars with a final score of 21-14.
Both junior Dylan Karanickolas and senior Jeremiah Chukwudobe had noteworthy performances, recording 225 passing yards and 76 rushing yards, respectively. But the hero to seal the game for the Brahmas was sophomore wide receiver Chase Wells, scoring the game-winning touchdown for Diamond Bar in the dying seconds of the intense game.
“It’s a great feeling, you know,” Wells said. “It’s one of those moments when you’re glad that all of the hard work during practice paid off.”
The initial minutes of the game showcased the tough defensive lines of both teams, as the quarterbacks on each side encountered aggressive blitzes and pass rushes. However, as the Diamond Bar offense got its groove going, Karanickolas primarily focused his passes toward the sidelines and the middle of the field, gaining simple 10 yard gains per play.
Once they reached the red zone through this strategy, Diamond Bar broke the stalemate halfway into the first quarter, off of a one-on-one corner route to the six-foot five receiver Kai Smith. The extra point then gave DB a 7-0 lead with six minutes remaining in the quarter.
The remainder of the first period was a scoreless fest, as both of the teams traded interceptions. Diamond Bar’s solid defense kept Ontario’s offense in their slump, as the Jaguars couldn’t reach the Brahmas’ territory.
However, the start of the second quarter caught the Brahma defense by surprise. Right after the break, the Jaguars connected for a 50-yard pass down to the 1-yard line because of a missed assignment in the secondary. Ontario eventually counted by running the ball into the endzone, tying the game at 7-7 with 10 minutes to go in the second period.
After trading drives for the entire quarter, Diamond Bar’s offense finally progressed within twenty-five yards of the endzone. However, the persistent Jaguars defense continued, forcing Diamond Bar to throw four incomplete passes in a row to end the first half with a score of 7-7.
The second half remained consistent with the trend of the game, as Diamond Bar and Ontario traded possession for more than half of the third quarter. After trading three and outs, the Brahmas were located in their own territory after the punt. With 4 minutes left in the period, Diamond Bar’s offense started to run smoothly.
Initially, Karanickolas found Wells for 22 yards on two pass plays, efficiently running out of bounds to stop the play clock as well. Running back Chukwudobe also gained numerous first downs for the Brahmas, ending the third quarter inside the Jaguars twenty-five yard line.
Because of the excellent field position the Brahmas had to start the final quarter, the tenacious efforts of the Jaguar’s defense was in vain. While under intense duress, Karanickolas threw a 13-yard lob pass to receiver Matthew Uballe, scoring a touchdown and pulling the Brahmas ahead by a score of 14-7, with ten minutes and forty seconds left in the game.
After the Diamond Bar defense gave up numerous first downs to the Ontario offense, DB eventually crumbled under pressure. The Brahma’s defense was penalized with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty a couple minutes later, allowing the Jaguars to move inside the redzone. With a couple plays on the ground, Ontario eventually ran the ball into the endzone, equalizing the score at 14-14 with 5:40 remaining.
As they received the ball from kickoff in their own territory, Diamond Bar referred back to the strategy they had used toward the beginning of the game. Karanickolas found open receivers in the middle of the field, gaining about ten yards per pass. However, when time ticked down to under a minute, the Ontario had forced the Brahmas into a third and long situation.
With the game on the line, Karanickolas threw to Wells towards the sideline, which he caught at about the 10 yard line. After receiving the ball, Wells demonstrated light footwork to shake off his defender, and crossed the plane of the endzone with the ball in his hands, leaving 45 seconds on the clock. A successful PAT put the Brahmas up 21-14, and Diamond Bar’s defense closed the game, sealing the victory.
Alex Chun, Grade 11
Diamond Bar High School