Posted: Sep 21, 2021
By Phil Jensen
Special to Chabot Athletics
HAYWARD – The Chabot football team had a great start against Siskiyous on Saturday afternoon, scoring two touchdowns and forcing three turnovers in the first 8 minutes, 7 seconds of the game.
In fact, the Gladiators' first win of the season featured an impressive whole first half. Chabot scored all of its points in the first 20:41 of the game and shut out Siskiyous until the fourth quarter in a 23-13 home victory.
"It just felt good," said Chabot's Amari Tidwell about the win. "We started the season 0-2, so we just needed to get this. We knew what we had to do, and we did it."
Tidwell, a sophomore from Dublin High, rushed for a game-high 74 yards and the game's first touchdown. But plenty of Gladiators made big plays in the victory.
The Chabot defense made itself known immediately. On the third play from scrimmage in the game, a hit by Chabot's Aavani Bailey caused a Siskiyous fumble, and Deonte Bridges recovered the ball.
Bridges had a huge first half, contributing three of Chabot's nine sacks in the game. Alphonso Mitchell also had an outstanding three sacks in the first half, and Chabot (1-2) limited Siskiyous (0-3) to 19 total yards rushing in the game.
"Our D-line is one of the best in the state, country … We just grind and grind and we live for these moments," said Bridges, a 6-foot-1, 290-pound freshman from Colorado Springs.
Chabot's offense stalled on its first possession, but it didn't on its second after Chabot's Asi Bailey grabbed an interception and returned it 19 yards to the Siskiyous 12. Tidwell then ran the ball four straight times, the last one for a 3-yard touchdown.
The Gladiators then scored on its third forced turnover of the game. Siskiyous attempted a punt on its own 14, but Chabot's Jason Alani blocked it and recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. The point-after-touchdown kick by Andrew McGinty gave the Gladiators a 14-0 lead with 6:53 left in the first quarter.
Another blocked punt provided Chabot a safety early in the second quarter. Siskiyous quarterback Hunter Davis recovered it in the end zone for a 16-0 Chabot advantage. The previous play, Bridges had put Siskiyous in a precarious position with a five-yard sack to the 3-yard line.
Siskiyous recovered the kickoff, but after a Mitchell sack, Chabot's Jovan McConico nabbed an interception. Chabot quarterback Kekoa Turangan immediately hit Jamal Lavallier in stride for a 55-yard touchdown pass with 9:19 remaining in the first half. Lavallier led the Gladiators with four receptions for 77 yards.
Siskiyous got back into the game in the fourth quarter. It capped an 88-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by Ismael Sloan with 12:33 left, but Chabot's Hugo Gomez stopped a PAT run attempt. Siskiyous also scored on its next possession on a 32-yard pass from OJ Calleja to Chase Scrivener with 9:10 remaining and trailed 23-13.
The game was still in doubt down to the final minute. Siskiyous drove to the Chabot 14 and attempted a field goal on a fourth-down play with 47 seconds remaining. If the attempt was successful, Siskiyous probably would have tried an onside kick to keep its hopes alive to tie the score. But Noah Silverthorne's kick was wide right.
"We're happy that we got the win, but we have got a lot of stuff to work on. We've got a lot of young guys," said Chabot head coach Eric Fanene. "When it's mental mistakes, those are unacceptable and we had too many mental mistakes … But a win's a win. I'm proud of the guys."