Mayann Dimalanta, Staff WriterDecember 11, 2018
It had been 20 years and state regionals was finally back in view of the Morse varsity football team.
After sweeping through the games that labeled the Morse varsity football team as CIF champions, their next task was to face Central Valley Christian high school on Nov. 30, 2018, in Visalia, California. The Morse Tigers lost to CVCHS 14-30, where they were left disappointed yet proud.
The eager Tigers anticipated difficulty in the upcoming game, and practiced by watching films of their opponents and running their plays in practice, even though the rainy days and soccer games left only one day to practice.
“Preparation for the state regionals was pretty difficult to get into,” said head coach Tracy Mcnair. “We really only had one day of practice which was on a Wednesday.”
The team left Morse high school on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018 at 10 a.m. It was a approximately a six hour drive to Visalia that the team took as a team bonding event where they decided they were ready.
“It was a business trip,” said cornerback Julian Stafford. “But we took it as a team bonding because not very many teams make it that far.”
After finally arriving, the team was later placed into a hotel where four teammates shared two beds and were forced to stay together since every room had one key.
“Just seeing our team really bonding together at the hotel was very meaningful,” said safety Shiloh Logan.
The hours counted down and the well-rested Tigers went through walkthroughs before the game. The game started at 7:30 p.m. and lasted for about three hours.
“We played hard until the end,” said Logan. “Even though we kept slipping through the crazy mud all game.”
The team took the painstaking defeat really well and managed to appreciate their accomplishments instead of focusing on the loss.
“We still went way further than anybody expected,” said defensive end Riczon Salazar. “We surpassed everyone’s expectation so I’m proud of us.”
The Tigers took many lessons away from the experience, and emphasized the impact it had on the team.
“Realizing for a lot of us that it was our last time playing together, and realizing we beat all the odds and what people said we couldn’t do was a bittersweet moment,” concluded Logan.
The progress that the Morse Tigers had made turned the football program around, and made the future seem promising.
“The game was disappointing at the end, but next year for sure,” said linebacker Francisco Martinez. “We’ll have a state title.”