The Caimans win their CIF quarter finals game against Holtville

Seniors Jaxon Racciato and Caleb Crist were some of the Caimans picked to hold flags at the game. Photo taken by Aubrey Gehman

The Caimans’ first CIF playoff game against the Holtville Vikings on Veterans Day was a special one. Before the game, all veterans present from both sides were invited to stand by the end zone for the singing of the National Anthem. Several selected senior Caiman players each held flags representing the different branches of the armed forces during that time. 

“I thought that it was really special that they honored the veterans … and really cool that they honored each branch of the military with the flags,” sophomore Varsity player Thomas Gehman said. The veterans who stood in the end zone were each presented with a ticket for free dinner at the snack bar.

With helmets removed, the Vikings and the Caimans lined up and shook hands with the veterans. Gehman said that he “thought it really showed a lot of class” and that he “respected Holtville for coming over and shaking the veterans’ hands.” He concluded that “it was just a special moment that I think a lot of guys won’t forget.”

After this, the Caimans put their helmets back on and prepared to play as one. For the entire first quarter, the score remained at 0-0. During the start of the second quarter, junior JK Haman kicked a 24-yard field goal, ending the tie and putting the Caimans in a 3 point lead.

This game was full of interceptions. During the second quarter, junior Ethan Pillsbury caught an interception and ran for a short gain. Junior Jake Gilbert also had an interception, as well as a fumble recovery, and even a touchdown. Two more interceptions were made by sophomore Diego Preciado and by junior Savione Greer.

Senior Ty Patterson takes the ball to the end zone for a touchdown. Photo taken by Gabe Senter.

The score at the end of this half had the Caimans in a 17-point lead, with the Vikings still at zero. Coming out strong after halftime, senior Varsity player Ty Patterson scored four touchdowns. He started with a 12-yard touchdown run followed by an 11-yard touchdown run. This was soon followed by, a 57-yard run that lasted all the way until the 1-yard line, where he was pushed out of bounds. “I felt like I was in on that play … I was just glad to get in the following [one],” Patterson said.

Patterson then received the ball again, claiming a 1-yard touchdown for the Caimans. He didn’t stop there however, later scoring a 50-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. In the Holtville game alone, Patterson’s total tally for rushing yards was 296.

By this time, the rowdy crowd was going crazy. “It’s really encouraging having fans come out and support our football team,” sophomore Varsity player Nasser Jones said. The rowdy crowd waved red, white and blue balloons to show their Veterans Day spirit. Gehman added, “It gets me hyped when they get hyped.”

The rowdy crowd blew red, blue, and white balloons and waved them, cheering loudly. Photo taken by Aubrey Gehman

With a final score of 41-6, the CAHS Caimans prevailed over the Holtville Vikings. Most of the players like Jones and Gehman didn’t immediately start thinking about their next playoff game against Horizon Christian Academy, instead celebrating their victory in the moment. “I wasn’t focused on Horizon right away; I was focused on a great win and being able to cheer and get hyped with our teammates … [but at] about 8:00 a.m. the next day, I hopped on film again and was really focused on Horizon,” said Jones.

For some members of the team, this was a bittersweet game. As a senior, this could potentially be the last game of Patterson’s high school career. “I’m just putting as much effort possible during the week to try to get a win and do everything in my power to try to get another win,” Patterson said.

Upon being asked about their next CIF playoff game, the team started chanting, “CIF! CIF! CIF!”