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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

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Beyond the score: Gabrielino Eagles showcase resilience, brotherhood

A running back’s journey  Junior Isiah Callabero charges from the snap toward the end zone.Bren Belmonte

Despite a challenging start to the 2023-2024 Varsity Football season, the Gabrielino Eagles’ spirit remains unbroken. On Aug. 25th, the Gabrielino Eagles’ 2023-2024 Varsity Football season kicked off with a home game against Temple City.

Though they lost 50-6, their spirit remained undeterred.

“Definitely winnable, it’s just execution,” shared junior Austin Ko, a quarterback on the team.

Regardless of being an underclassman, Ko has evolved into a team player and leader on and off the field over his two years on the team. He maintains a positive outlook through personal traditions.

“I wear the same bracelets as a good luck charm,” Ko stated. “I wore them during freshman year, so I wear them now.”

Senior Salvador Arias, a tailback, linebacker, and defensive lineman, also taps into his own traditions.

“Under my left wrist, I write my mom’s name to always know my mom is with me,” he explained. “I love my mom.”

Arias’ inspiration carried through on the Sept. 22nd game when he executed an impressive tackle during the second quarter that brought down the opposite rushing and an almost 80-yard return. Though they lost 39-6, the game not only energized the players on the field but also ignited enthusiasm in the stands.

The theme of game was USA, with students and adults decked out in red, white, and blue clothing. Balloons and pride filled the air.

As they lined up for the coin toss, Ko, Arias, Raul Perea, and Michael Ramirez, felt ready to take on Santiago. With Santiago taking the ball, the game began.

As Arias hoped before the game, “the team was able to do good and ball out”, scoring a touchdown in the second quarter.

Sophomore, Nicholas Hoang scored another touchdown later in the game, but it was nullified due to a flag, eliciting a strong reaction from the crowd.

Through it all, cheer demonstrated unwavering support. Decked out with red leis as part of the USA theme, the squad raised the crowd’s energy and enthusiasm. Even after halftime, the cheer team never lost hope, holding flyers up high and performing jumps all around.

Loud and proud!  Senior Desiree Cardenas uses her megaphone to rally fans watching on the sidelines as the Gabrielino Eagles face the Santiago Cavaliers. Bren Belmonte

As a receiver on the team, junior Aj Tran is tasked with maintaining precise movements and analyzing his surroundings so that when he obtains possession of the ball, it can be taken far. Though he has been out since the beginning of the season due to a back injury, observing has changed his perspective of the game.

“I pay attention to the little things, and I am more strict,” Tran shared. “I’d rather go slow and perfect than fast and messy.”

Tran highlighted key players like Hoang and Isiah Caballero but also recognized the consistent excellence exhibited by the entire team, not just during the Santiago game. Notably, a select group of seniors has shown exceptional dedication by committing four years to Gabrielino Football. This long-term commitment has allowed them to deepen their understanding of team dynamics and foster stronger bonds with each other.

No matter what the Eagles’ record is, the practice and dedication the football team puts in is something to be proud of. As cheer chants, “L-O-V-E! We love our varsity!”

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About the Contributors
Gabrielle Rodriguez, Staff Writer
Gabrielle Rodriguez is a Staff Writer for the school newspaper, currently in her first year with the team. Outside of her journalistic duties, Gabrielle is passionate about volunteering for the youth and projects in relation to the arts. Her decision to join the newspaper stemmed from her love for English and the opportunity to be in a class focused on writing.
Bren Belmonte, Staff Writer
Bren Belmonte is a Photographer and Staff Writer with three years of experience on our newspaper team. Outside of journalism, Bren enjoys cosplaying, photographing friends, reading manga, watching anime, and listening to music. Bren chose the journalism class in sophomore year after encouragement from family members in the industry. Since then, they've recognized it as a future passion and career interest.
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