Back At It: Downey High Football

Kailani Fletcher, Writer

After experiencing an unconventional season of playing in front of sparse crowds, being able to step on the field and play in front of over 1,000 people in Downey High School’s Allen Layne Stadium was a dream come true for the Downey High School Football team. For the first time in over a year, Downey students and athletes alike get to experience the valued tradition of Friday night football games. 

On August 20, 2021, the Varsity team made their debut under the bright lights. Although the spirit and excitement was there, the first home game of the year against Corona Del Mar ended up being a loss with a finishing score of 36 to 20. “We started off slow,” Varsity Captain Tryse Redford, 12, explained. “We came back harder in the second half, but, you know, we didn’t finish it.” 

Despite the outcome, the Vikings did not give up. They returned to practice and back to their busy schedule of morning and afternoon training, studying film, and cultivating new plays–all to prepare for the next game against the Bonita Bearcats. “We can’t let the city down like last week,” starting wide receiver Isaiah Blair, 12, stated. “We have to put on a show.” With this on their minds, the Downey High Football team did just that. 

On August 27, 2021 the Downey High School Football team returned to the field prepared to fight for victory. The game started off in Downey’s favor with a touchdown by junior Aidan Chiles in the first quarter, and another by junior Ian Hernandez in the third quarter. By the start of the fourth, the Vikings were up 15 to 10, but the game took a turn when the Bearcats scored and completed a two-point conversion allowing them to take the lead at a score of 15 to 18. With the momentum no longer in their favor, the Vikings fought hard to get to the end zone. After influential plays made by junior Bryant Carey, Redford, and senior Antonio Ruiz, the Downey High School Football team was set up to take back the lead. With only six minutes left in the last quarter, Quarterback Noah Paez passed to Blair who secured the winning touchdown in a close play. With a final score of 22 to 18, the Vikings definitely met their goal of putting on a show. 

“I always keep a positive mindset. It doesn’t matter if you’re losing. I just try to encourage the team,” Blair revealed when asked how he kept the team motivated. “I’m just telling them ‘Let’s keep going. Keep fighting.” Blair followed his own advice and was able to help his team ensure the win. 

The season is far from over, and the Downey Football team does not plan on letting up anytime soon. Their confidence in their ability is clear, and the players are prepared to put in even more work to ensure their goal of winning the championship. “We are better than most teams because we don’t give up,” Redford stated. With that sentiment, the Vikings plan on getting another win on Friday September 3, 2021 against Crespi Carmelite High School.