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Home win for Trojans
YERMO • The players were cheering and shrieking, and there was the celebratory water dump over the coach’s head. The Silver Valley Trojans looked like a team that had just taken a huge win.
Well, they had just won, and in front of a hometown crowd. And it was a big deal.
Silver Valley hosted Desert Christian on Friday night, and when the battle was over, the Trojans had their second win of the season, 10-6, over the Eagles.
“The last time we won a home game was when we beat Crean Lutheran three seasons ago,” said a smiling Trojans head coach John Stewart as his players celebrated. “We beat a hard-hitting team that went to the playoffs last year. I’m really proud of the guys.”
It was a comeback win for Valley, which trailed at the half. The Eagles scored a touchdown in the first half and it looked like it would be a shutout at halftime, but James Liker kicked a 40-yard field goal just as time was expiring. That put the Trojans on the board, behind 6-3, going into the second half.
The Eagles weren’t able to shut the Trojans down in the first half, but as it turned out, the home team kept the visitors scoreless for the final 24 minutes.
“Defensively we played a great game, shutting them out in the second half,” said Stewart. “We struggled a little offensively trying to capitalize on their miscues, but we’re young; it’s something we have to work on.”
Even so, the Trojans had enough for this night. They pulled ahead with 6:43 left in the third quarter, when Robert Santiago made a 50-yard touchdown run. It looked like he was in trouble when forced to go down the sideline, but he was able to avoid the tackle and get open and cruise for the last 20 yards.
“He’s a player we need to get the ball to a lot more,” said Stewart of Santiago. “In the first three plays of the game we got him the ball and he went 19 yards. That was a great touchdown run. He’s a real fighter, a great kid.”
That gave Valley the lead, but there was lots of time left. As the clock ticked down in the fourth, the Eagles had possession and did their best to stay alive. They threw a pass with 7.3 seconds left, then one with 2.3 to go, then another as time expired. Three incomplete passes in the final 10 seconds, but nothing to show for it...unless driving the opposing coach nuts counts for something.
“That was giving me an ulcer on the sidelines,” said Stewart of watching the game’s last seconds.
In addition to Santiago’s long TD run and Liker’s field goal, Myron Sykes had 19 yards on the ground, and Dan Quixchan 45 yards.
It was an inspirational victory that will certainly give the Trojans a lift, though there’s still work to be done.
“Our line is pretty young and we’re still not moving our feet through the whole play. We have to fight for every yard we go for,” said Stewart. “But they’re a team that averages 300 yards on the ground, and we made them throw more than they have all year. A great win for us.”
The victory leaves the Trojans with a record of 2-3.
Valley will try to pad out that win total on the road next Friday, when they travel to Lake Isabella to take on Kern Valley. There’s one home game left, the following week, when the Trojans host Vasquez.