2021 Downey vs. Warren

Kailani Fletcher, Writer

One of the most popular rivalry games in Southern California, Downey versus Warren football, took place on October 29, 2021 at Downey High’s Allen Layne Stadium. Under a clear night sky, just over 8,000 people gathered to watch the Vikings and the Bears go into battle. The stadium was bursting with energy from the stands and the players considering the importance that this game holds for the city of Downey. 


“We’ve been preparing since seven on seven. That was back in March. We’ve been talking about this game ever since then,” Varsity Captain Tryse Redford, 12, revealed. “This whole season has been leading up to this moment.” The Downey Vikings put a lot of work towards their goal of defeating the Warren Bears. Although the highly anticipated game always gains a high volume of attention, the Vikings wanted to remember that the game itself does not change. “A lot of people in the community hype this game up,” Senior lineman Diego Gonzalez stated. “To us, we came into this game like we would on any other week. We prepare like it’s any other team because they’re really just another opponent.”


With that mindset, the Vikings went into the game with composure. The first quarter started with clean plays from Downey’s defense, but Warren quickly regrouped and scored the first touchdown of the game. At a score of 0 to 6, due to a kick that was no good, the Vikings switched to offense and attempted to run the ball. Although Senior Captain and running back Antonio Ruiz gained some ground, Downey could not complete a play. Back on defense, the Vikings pushed hard against Warren’s intense offense. After a hard break by Warren’s running back, Junior Romeo Clark, Senior inside linebacker Andres De Anda broke up the play and effectively swung the momentum back in Downey’s favor. On offense, the Vikings successfully ran the ball and set themselves up for a touchdown. Senior Quarterback Noah Paez made a long pass to Senior wide receiver Isaiah Blair and the crowd roared. The Vikings’ first touchdown was scored by Junior Keion Andrews, making the score 7 to 6 after a good kick. 


The second quarter did not fare well for the Vikings. Warren Quarterback Nichoulaus Iamaleava, 11, made strategic short passes to secure Warren’s second touchdown of the game. With a score of 7 to 14, due to a successful two-point conversion, Downey’s offense came out to score. Through the entire quarter, the Viking’s could not seem to string any plays together. Although the crowd and momentum was flat, Downey’s defense was successful in stopping Warren’s offense from scoring for the rest of the first half. 


In the third quarter, both teams struggled with playing clean. The Vikings started on offense but their long ball and running attempts all fell flat. Downey decided to attempt a field goal and the kick was good making the score 10 to 14, still in Warren’s favor. On defense, the Vikings are able to break up most of Warren’s plays, but Quarterback Imaleava eventually sees an opening up the middle and runs the ball for a touchdown. 


At a new score of 10 to 20, the two rivals move into the fourth quarter. Warren starts the quarter with another touchdown, but Redford intercepts Imaleava’s pass and effectively breaks up their attempt at a two-point conversion. On offense, the Vikings push to find a way to score.The once energized Viking crowd is silent in anticipation as quarterback Noah Paez tries to string some plays together. After a penalty on Warren for pass interference, Paez saw an opening and passed the ball to Junior receiver Bryant Carey who secured a touchdown for the Vikings. Downey goes for a two-point conversion, but the pass is intercepted. The game ends with a final score of 16 to 26. 


The disappointment in the air was palpable as the Vikings moved through their post-game routine, but their goals were not abandoned for a moment. “We didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but we learned a lesson. When adversity hits, we have to keep going,” Senior Isaiah Blair explained. “I don’t expect to lose anymore games. I want that ring, so we got to get past this. It’s going to be alright. We’re going to go out strong in the playoffs, we’ll be ready.” 


Downey’s quarterback, Noah Paez, was on the same page and gave insight into how the Vikings plan to move forward. “We had a lot of mistakes on both sides of the ball. That means we have to watch film, fix those mistakes, and make adjustments at practice,” Paez stated. “We have to keep looking ahead to our next goal of winning CIF.”