Football clinches playoff seed with victory over rival Gaels


Helana Gendy

The Dougherty Valley Wildcats celebrate after a touchdown.

Dougherty Valley Varsity Football won at home against the Dublin Gaels 48-21 at the rivalry game on Friday, Oct. 26.

The first touchdown was scored seconds into the game by Dublin’s running back, senior Alex Gonsalves, bringing the Gaels into the lead, 7-0. This was quickly changed when Dougherty’s linebacker Demonte Aleem, senior, also scored a touchdown. The extra point was scored, tying the score, 7-7.

Dublin soon gained another touchdown and an extra point, making the overall score 14-7.

The tide turned for Dougherty in the second quarter when their offense picked up. Dougherty scored four consecutive touchdowns by senior running backs Xavier Coleman and Demonte Aleem while maintaining a strong defense by blocking the touchdown attempts from Dublin. By the end of the first half, the score was 34-14.

Helana Gendy
Senior Xavier Coleman celebrates a Wildcat touchdown.

Both Dublin and Dougherty showed aggression throughout the game, but Dublin’s defense seemed to waver toward the second half.

“We are a slow starting team, and that’s been shown in the first quarter. So we started off slow as we usually do, but we had a strong second quarter, and that’s the best first half of football that we played all season long,” Head Coach Brandon Black stated.

The third quarter was pretty quiet, with missed interceptions and constant tackles. One touchdown was scored during the last few seconds of the quarter by Dougherty’s  senior running back Abhijeet Sindhu. The extra point was obtained, making the overall score 41-14.

Similarly, the fourth quarter wasn’t as eventful as the first half, with two touchdowns from both sides. Dougherty’s touchdown was scored by senior Christina Urena, and the extra point soon made the overall score 48-21.

Dougherty’s victory against the Dublin Gaels ended the 2018 regular season with a 5-5 overall record and propelled  the Wildcats into the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

After two consecutive seasons with a 1-9 record, the Wildcats have considerably improved this year. Major factors for this season include an aggressive running game led by running backs Coleman and Aleem. Aleem rushed for a total of 1,026 yards and 11 touchdowns while Coleman accumulated 934 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Aleem also significantly contributed in the receiving unit as he caught for 605 yards and eight touchdowns. In addition, senior quarterback Jarom Kuaea had a fantastic year in which he threw a total of 1,298 yards, 13 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. The team’s overall execution significantly improved from recent years.

The Wildcats faced the San Leandro Pirates in a North Coast Section (NCS) playoff game at Burrell Field in San Leandro on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. The Pirates earned a 5-5 overall regular season record. The teams did not play each other in the regular season, but both defeated their common opponent, the Foothill Falcons. The Wildcats edged the Falcons 35-28 in an overtime thriller, while the Pirates easily defeated them 51-29.

Ultimately, the Wildcats narrowly lost to the Pirates 24-21. Even though the Wildcats’ season has ended, their morale has been uplifted after breaking a streak of two 1-9 seasons. The team finished this season with an overall combined record of 5-6.