October 25, 2018
Each year, Tritons gather at the last home game to celebrate football players and cheerleaders for the SCHS Senior Night. This year, it just so happened that our annual senior night festivities occured on our final league game versus Mission Viejo High School.
For almost two decades our team has struggled to match with Mission’s talent — our last Mission defeat dates back to 1999.
This year, lots of emotion filled the stands as Triton seniors came together to honor the class of 2019 and celebrate one of our last football games ever. 12th graders, both on and off of the football team, relished this moment; they swayed from side to side, screaming out the last few Loud Crowd cheers of their high school careers. “It gave me the chills, looking at the crowd and knowing it was their last ‘ahh, SC! What!’” senior football player James Willis said. From the bleachers, students were going wild, knowing full well that this was their last opportunity to cheer for a football team that sits close to their hearts.
To go out with such a bang gave our senior class both joy and sadness. “I really enjoyed cheering with my fellow seniors and sharing this special moment with them! It’s sad to think the season is almost over,” senior Sophia Helm stated. Before the start of the game, both the seniors on the cheer team and the seniors on the football team strolled down the center of the football field. Each cheerleader and football player walked down with their family; as they walked, a short, self-written bio on each senior was read aloud for those sitting in the stands. Pictures were snapped as families and their child posed under an intricate balloon arch. This ceremonial event solidified the reality that this may well be our last home game of the season.
Confidence going into the game was high, due to a win versus Capo Valley a week prior. This win gave the Tritons the morale that allowed them to come out firing. A hashtag spread, #MissionK, and the Tritons were set up for success with the spirit and tenacity that they needed.
Right off of the bat, an injury occurred on Mission’s side that left the audience still and surprised. Mission’s player Bryce Russell (#13) was severely hurt with a spine injury. It took twenty minutes to get the injured player off of the field, and with 11:30 still left in the first quarter the audience grew anxious. Once #13 was taken off of the field, the players returned to the field.
Two minutes into the second quarter, starting senior quarterback Brendon Costello (#3) was removed from the game due to injuries from an illegal hit by a Diablo linebacker.
Junior Drayton Joseph, who had yet to throw a varsity pass, stepped in for the starting QB in one of the most crucial games of the season. Although he threw two picks and only completed 17 out of 28 passes, much to the audience’s and coaches’s surprise, Joseph exceeded expectations with 278 passing yards and two touchdown passes that led the Tritons to a victory.
By halftime the Tritons were up 14–7, giving the team the confidence needed to continue dominating the game.
After almost two more quarters, and lots of solid defensive play on both sides, the score became 21–20 in favor of the Tritons. With two minutes left in the fourth quarter, senior Ryan Altman made a pivotal tackle in the backfield during a two point conversion for the game. This created a one point deficit in the Tritons favor, allowing for our team’s victory. When asked about his game winning tackle, Altman explains “We just wanted to beat Mission, that was our goal and we got it done.”
This Mission victory signified the end to our almost 20 year losing streak against the Diablos, and left our Tritons feeling grateful for the spectacular end result. Both the football program, as well as the entire school, is proud to be able to say the Triton’s ranking moved from 52nd in the state all the way up to 41st, and Mission’s dropped from eighth to ninth.
“We went from 1 and 4 to 6 and 4. The failures that we have experienced prepared us for the Mission game,” senior James Willis explains. “We played the best game of our lives, really, and no team deserved it more than us.”