Homecoming Game Ends in Heartbreak

By Alex Richter and Tommy McMahon

The high school rivalry between Branham and Leigh is intense. The homecoming spirit week focused around the idea of beating Leigh during the big football game on Friday, Oct. 14. Banners around school glorified the idea of the victory over Leigh, while chants in the hallways and during the rallies fired up the student body and gave spirit to the week.

The Junior Varsity game against Leigh was a shutout. Branham lost 27 to 0. JV player sophomore Chris Kaae, said “There was just a lack of emotion,” and that he was disappointed in the performance during the game.  The crowd was supportive and the cheering was welcome, but overall, the Junior Varsity Bruins football team had a bad day and made Leigh seem invincible.

 Hours before the Varsity game, tons of students from Blue Crew and other Branham supporters gathered in the parking lot and prepared for an exciting homecoming game against our school’s biggest rival. At 6:30 pm Blue Crew stormed into the bleachers and started showing awesome displays of spirit and pride for our team.

Blue Crew president, Matt Flores, said “We came into the game with a lot of spirit, thinking we were going to win… We were also able to see how much noise we could make, and it made me proud.”

Before the game started, Branham’s Royal Alliance performed their new field show, Baktun Maya. The band and color guard put on a great performance.

After the performance, the game began with Branham’s kickoff to Leigh. Linebacker senior Tony Tran dislocated his knee on the first play of the game, and quarterback Tommy McMahon broke his wrist in the second quarter, although he finished out the game. Tran’s return this season is questionable, and McMahon is most likely out for the season.

At the end of the second quarter, the score was tied 7-7. Branham scored its touchdown on a pass from quarterback Tommy McMahon to wide receiver Abey Bezabeh.

During the halftime show the senior homecoming candidates walked onto the field to await the results of who had won king and queen. The top awards went to Scott Larson and Simone Snell.

At the start of the second half, spirit and enthusiasm was louder and greater than ever. Banners, flags, face paint, the Blue Man, and all sorts of displays of Bruin pride filled the bleachers.

With only one minute left in the fourth quarter, Branham was in the lead 21-17, and the Bruins were on the edge of winning their first homecoming game against Leigh in many years. Then Leigh got a touchdown, taking the lead 24-21, with less than a minute left of play.  With 38 seconds left on the clock, Branham threw an interception during the last drive down the field, and Leigh regained possession of the ball. Leigh took a knee, running out the clock and crushing the homecoming hopes of the Branham Bruins.

“The 38-second mark was when I lost it. I heard crying and screams of agony… We knew the game was over,” said Matt Flores. Branham was sad. Leigh ultimately won the game in the end, and their fans stormed our field. This upset Branham’s players and fans, who felt the actions of Leigh’s fans were disrespectful.

The players felt very emotional about the game. Quarterback Tommy McMahon said, “During the game, emotions were running high and tempers were flaring. We understood how important the game was and how much it meant to each team, but even though we lost, we felt disrespected on how they stormed the field.”