Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the high school, the Santa Clara Bruins football team made sure the night ended on a positive note by cruising to a 41-0 shutout victory over Gunn on Friday. Taking on a small Titans team with only 15 active players, the Bruins didn’t take anything for granted as they came out flying on the very first series.
Nose guard Alize Guillen-Herrera blew up a second-and-ten run up the middle with a tackle for a loss of three yards that helped force the Titans to a three-and-out on the game’s opening possession.
Santa Clara’s offense took over from there with a ground attack led by tailback Matthew Nguyen. A drive that started in Gunn territory at the 39, Nguyen took the first snap around the right side for a 15-yard gain. On the next play, Nguyen looked like he would be stopped for a gain of just two yards before carrying a would-be tackler upfield for another five yards and an eventual gain of seven yards on the play.
“For being such a little guy and putting up a fight against these bigger dudes, it’s pretty fun,” admitted the junior, who is listed at just 5-feet, 6-inches and 140 pounds.
“That guy is just tough as nails, he doesn’t shy away from contact,” chimed Bruins Head Coach Andrew Calderon on his lead running back. “He’ll put his shoulder down and try to get tough yards. He takes pride in being physical because he’s a little guy.”
Ngyuen would finish off the Bruins’ opening drive with a 9-yard touchdown run.
On the following Bruins’ possession, the passing attack would lead the way. Quarterback Matthew Conklin rolled out to his right and threw a bullet pass to 6-foot, 3-inch wide receiver Jeremiah Karongo for an 18-yard touchdown. The little guys and the big guys scoring for the Bruins.
“Initially, the route that Jeremiah was running, he ran out of real estate on the sideline, but then Matt directed him to go vertical,” recalled Calderon on the play. “Then when he went vertical, Matt saw a little bit of separation and then just threw that like a dart.”
After another three-and-out from the Titans, the Bruins needed just one play to put the game away for good. This time it was tailback Orlando Lewis who took the first play of the drive 43-yards to the house. Lewis would add a punt return for a touchdown and another rushing touchdown for three total TDs in the game.
Along with Lewis’s punt return, senior Kedawee Teka rounded out the Bruins’ scoring with a 97-yard kick return for a touchdown. It was a memorable night for the Bruins and the greater Santa Clara community. It had been three seasons since the team had won on homecoming night, and no better year to break that streak than during the sesquicentennial celebration.
“To be the coach that wins the homecoming game on the 150th anniversary?” posed Calderon. “That’s pretty special.”