DV Varsity Football breaks school record in 65-22 win against Mt. Diablo


Kimberly Cui

Wildcat Varsity coaches and players Devin Garica (9), Jake Masse (60), Theodore Leong (90), Erimi Oshewa (75), Matthew Gonsalves (5), Angel Brito (50) and RJ Pallen (8), watch the Red Devil carry the football against the Wildcats defending on the field.

Rikin Patel and Lucas Quick

Dougherty Valley High School’s varsity football team won their second home game against Mt. Diablo High School with a final score of 65-22 on Sept. 17, scoring the highest number of points ever in a Dougherty football match.

In the week before, Dougherty won their away game against Washington High School with a score of 41-36. Mt. Diablo also won their game, allowing zero points when they beat Albany 50-0.

Winning a third time, the Wildcats enter into their homecoming matchup with a solid standing. They will face Deer Valley, who is up 2-1 this season after beating Concord and San Jose and losing to Saint Mary’s with scores of 30-23, 44-0 and 8-20, respectively.

Varsity Head Coach Roberto Clemente said, “I think we can improve every week. I think this is a great test for us this coming week on how to practice with a distraction.”

In the game against Mt. Diablo, the Wildcats established their rush-heavy offense beginning with a 6-yard carry by varsity captain Austin Spears (28), a 12-yard carry by running back Aryan Gaur (16) and a pair of face mask penalties on Mt. Diablo, altogether putting the Wildcats in a good position to start. The Wildcat’s first drive finished with a 15-yard touchdown run by Spears and a successful 2-point try, both giving the Wildcats an early 8-0 lead.

On defense, the Wildcats dominated immediately when linebacker Akhil Nambiar (55) tackled Red Devil Makari Pitts (11) for a loss on the first play, eventually forcing a three-and-out on Mt. Diablo’s first possession. 

Dougherty continued to pound the football against the Red Devil’s defense and after a 25-yard rush by running back Matthew Gonsalves (5), Gaur broke free for a 50-yard touchdown run. However, the Wildcats couldn’t convert on the following 2-point try.

When asked why the Wildcats attempt more 2-point tries than extra-point kicks, Coach Clemente explained, “Our philosophy is if we show things like 2-point tries, they would have to practice against that at their own practice which burns their own time. So we show a lot of things that we do in the hopes that they burn time practicing it.”

Mt. Diablo did not let the Wildcat defense prevail on Mt. Diablo’s next possession however, as Red Devil Willie Ward (20) caught an explosive 73-yard touchdown bomb by quarterback D’Antonio Jerome (8) deep along the right sideline. Quarterback Jerome attempted to run for the following 2-point conversion but was stopped short of the goal line, cutting the Wildcat lead down to 14-6. 

The Wildcat’s first drive finished with a 15-yard touchdown run by Spears and a successful 2-point try, both giving the Wildcats an early 8-0 lead

That however did not impact the Wildcat’s momentum on offense. The Wildcats answered back with a 58-yard touchdown run by Gonsalves in the next drive; the PAT (point after touchdown) was successful, giving the Wildcats a greater lead of 21-6. 

In the second quarter, Mt. Diablo had a long, 11-play drive with a 20-yard run by Red Devil quarterback Jerome and a 17-yard catch by Ward. They capped off the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Jerome, caught by Red Devil Oscar Loya (22) between three Wildcat defenders; the 2-point try after was successful, reducing the Wildcat lead to just one possession. 

The Wildcats yet again came out red-hot, with Gaur rushing down the middle for 54-yards, later scoring the touchdown as well. With the PAT successful, the Wildcats recovered their two-possession lead of 28-14.

After allowing a pair of touchdowns, the Wildcats were able to find a rhythm on defense when Wildcat defensive back Theodore Leong (90) sacked quarterback Jerome for a loss of two yards, as well as when they stopped the Red Devils from converting on fourth down just a couple of plays later.

After the turnover on downs, the Wildcats had good field possession but failed to convert a field goal attempt, giving Mt. Diablo possession at a similar field position. The Wildcats were then tagged with a pair of chop block penalties, moving Mount Diablo further down the field. 

Wildcat quarterback Aditya Ved (1) suggested that the team can avoid penalties in the future by “just staying up and staying on your feet and blocking them like the ref is always watching.”

After the penalties, the defense prevented a Red Devil score with a big interception near the end zone by Spears.

Surprisingly, the Wildcats fumbled the football on the very next play which gave Mt. Diablo possession at the goal line. Red Devil running back D’Angelo Jerome (25) scored on a short touchdown run and the team secured a 2-point conversion as time expired in the first half, cutting the Wildcat lead down to 28-22 at halftime.

Coach Clemente explained, “We didn’t do well in the first half; we kind of shot ourselves in the foot. We made fundamental mistakes in tackling coverage reads.”

Mt. Diablo started on offense in the second half but quarterback Jerome was immediately pressured by the Wildcats defense. He nearly threw an interception and was forced to punt at the end of the drive. 

Gaur started the following Wildcat drive strong with a 15-yard carry and finished the drive off with a 25-yard touchdown, his third touchdown of the night. With the PAT successful, the Wildcats yet again brought their lead back up to two possessions.

Coach Clemente stated, “[Gaur] did a great job, I really think that their great performance is on the shoulders of our offensive lineman. And that’s the unsung heroes of our offense.”

Gaur agreed. “I was very happy with my stats, although the stats only happen because of our offensive line. Our linemen are the reason that these plays happen.”

Mount Diablo bounced back with two solid runs for over 20 yards, but they later fumbled and lost the football to the Wildcats. The Wildcats were able to put up a longer drive, highlighted by a couple of nice rushes by linebacker Joseph Halim (20), and yet another touchdown and 2-point conversion, bumping the Wildcat lead up to 43-22.

Mt. Diablo then made a costly mistake by running out the back of the end zone, causing a safety that tacked on two points to the Wildcat lead. The Wildcats would later finish off with three other touchdowns by Halim, running back Leslie Jones (11), and tight end Kimball Kuaea (6), winning with a final blowout score of 65-22.

The final score features the highest number of points Dougherty Valley has ever scored in a football match in the entire history of the school. 

“With this group of guys, we can go undefeated this season. That’s our goal. Because we have a great group and we’re driven, we have our goal set,” Ved stated.

Dougherty’s next game is their homecoming game this Friday against Deer Valley. Coach Clemente hopes more students will continue to show up.

“Our goal is to get the community back to watch football games and cheer on our guys,” Clemente said. “Even in the hallways, that’s our goal. And praise the cheerleaders, the parents, and the teachers. It’s also big when the band comes out.”