Redlands Unified District announces sports will have a season

By JASMINE ROSALES, LILY SHAW & MIYAH SANBORN

The Redlands Unified School District announced that sports have been cleared to return.

This is nearly a year after a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic instituted a mandatory quarantine in March 2020, sending schools across the country into distance learning and cutting the school year short, along with school events and sports.

Given the news, coaches are working hard to get their players back and in condition to play games. Tryout dates for the first week of March have already been announced. Prior to this announcement, many fall sports such as football, water polo, cross country and volleyball have been practicing and conditioning in hopes of being cleared to have a season. Football coaches across the county were expecting to hear the news as of March 1, so the early approval was exciting to many coaches.

Coach Richard Lunsford at Redlands East Valley High School said, “I was absolutely ecstatic. Mostly for the seniors, because they were freshmen when I took over the coaching job at REV, so we have been through this together over the last few years and they’re all like my children. I knew how much of an emotional toll the suspension of play had taken on them all and to see the joy and excitement they showed when it was announced they’d get a partial senior season was unbelievable.”

Lunsford also says that after football was approved, he “reached out and talked with each and every one of [the] seniors to make sure they were in for this one last ride together as a family.”

Dakota Sta Ana, a freshman at Citrus Valley High School, says, “With sports finally being back, it’s giving me hope that everything is getting better and giving me that small bit of normalcy that everyone needs.”

During a hard game against Redlands High School, Dakota attempts to score a point for her team. Water polo is among one of the many sports that schools are planning to continue (Photo credit to Charmaine Sta Ana).

Since they were the first sports to begin practicing back in the fall, many teams have already had their first game and meet back since the start of COVID-19. Spring sports such as softball, baseball, basketball, swimming and track and field have also started holding tryouts. 

Aidan Maldonado, a junior from CVHS, says, “Since sports like soccer have came back, I’ve felt that many people including myself are happy about it. Although a lot of us don’t like the restrictions, we’re still grateful for sports and the possibility of having actual league games in the near future.” 

Soccer girls awaiting instructions after conditioning. Practices are conducted with extreme caution and safety to reduce COVID-19 cases (Photo credit to Allen Thoe).

Coaches have taken safety precautions in order to hold practice and play games. Before practices, coaches take the temperature of each player and space warm ups at least six feet apart. Players will wear a mask to ensure the safety of others and still practice social distancing.

On and off the field, players will continue to practice with a mask for the majority of the time. Players are constantly encouraged to follow the hygiene protocol: to always wash and sanitize their hands before, throughout and after practice. 

“Sports practices have been really safe from a covid standpoint. The coach is very reasonable and fair with us choosing not to go to certain practices and he enforces the guidelines for our safety very strictly which I appreciate,” says Ariana Ghalambor, a senior at REV.

High intensity sports that include running, or even sports in the water may not require a mask as it can become a breathing hazard for some.

Sports like football or baseball will have players using their own gear to minimize the spread of germs. 

At games, the crowd may be noticeably smaller than before, as there will be a maximum of four spectators per player. Spectators will be required to wear a mask the entire game.

Since sports seasons started late, the seasons may be a bit shorter than normal. However, because they are shorter, teams can still participate in tournaments to make up for lost games. 

Virtual global skate scavenger hunt organized by Skate IDSA and GooseChase

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By AILEEN JANEE CORPUS

The Great Longboard GooseChase Volume One is a month-long event from Dec. 18, 2020 to Jan. 18, 2021, and its organizers are Skate International Distance and Supercross Association (IDSA) and the mobile scavenger hunt app GooseChase. Thirty-seven recognizable sponsors from the longboard and skateboard community such as Loaded Boards, Paris Trucks Co., and Longboard Girls Crew have also helped to curate challenges and prizes.

Skate IDSA has organized previous online races earlier this year including 100 miles in 24 hours and an accumulative 100 miles in a month, so starting a virtual scavenger hunt was not their first socially distanced endeavor. 

The IDSA is seeking an entertaining method to promote mental health awareness. Donations from sponsors and challengers will be going to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, which gives cash grants to people doing research in mental health fields such as post trauma stress disorder (PTSD), addiction, and trauma. It is the largest private funder of mental health research in the United States of America with a worldwide reach. 

Some rules, according to Skate IDSA’s website, include respectful conduct and completing all posted challenges to get as many possible points. Because it will be hard for administrators to verify distance, time, and speed challenges, they are recorded by challengers using ride tracking apps such as Strava or Garmin.

New, creative challenges are released every Friday. Organizers noted that the challenges will be mental, from every form of skate, skill focused, and even introspective; some challenges include playing “Run Rudolph Run” by Chuck Berry on one’s loudest portable speaker throughout their neighborhood and another one would be leaving an encouraging, unsigned note while out skating.

In addition to the basic parameters, there is a point system. One can get extra points as easily as saying a funny comment during the video or adding a unique flair in executing the challenge, but one can lose points by not correctly completing a challenge.

For 500 points, one had to take a picture of their board with a bird. It was a challenge to find a creative way to take a picture with a bird, but it was nothing that a little perspective could not solve. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS / La Plaza photo)

For 600 points, one had to take a picture of their board with the oldest building in their city, and in Los Angeles, there is the 203-year-old Avila Adobe in the heart of Olvera Street. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS / La Plaza photo)

For a whopping 1,000 points, one had to skate the longest distance they have ever skated. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS / La Plaza photo)

Each player who accrues 20,000 points will be entered in a raffle. Prizes include boards, wheels, trucks, bushings, and other longboarding and skating gear. An especially lucrative prize is an online class with well-known longboarder Brandon DesJarlais.

The Great Longboard GooseChase helped me get out of my comfort zone and improve my longboard skills. One challenge required the skater to ride their longboard at a skatepark, and I was extremely nervous because I was the only girl and the only one with a longboard. The challenge caused me to overcome my fear. Now, I can comfortably go to a skatepark despite my gender or kind of board.

The Great Longboard GooseChase Volume Two is planned to span eleven days from June 25, 2021 to July 4, 2021. So, when June 25 rolls around, grab your phone and board and join the community. As Skate IDSA said, “Have fun, be kind, and ride on, everyone.”

Despite the virtual scavenger hunt mainly being longboard oriented, this challenge was to help someone in our community, and one of my neighbors happened to give my family oranges the same day we made chocolate chip, walnut, banana muffins, so I gave the muffins to them in return. (AILEEN JANEE CORPUS / La Plaza photo)

Tampa Bay marks the second victory in Superbowl history

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By ARIANA GHALAMBOR and DANIEL WATERS

Tampa Bay plays against Kansas City in the 2020 Super Bowl, marking a memorable game in football history. (Image via KSAT12)

Kicking off the 55th Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, fans are watching across the world, regardless of the pandemic. This game will be monumental to many sports fans and football enthusiasts alike because it’s the first time a team will be playing in its home stadium for the Super Bowl.

Players you should definitely know about:

Tom Brady, quarterback of the Tampa Bay team, who is 43 years old (which is normal in human years but considered ancient in football years) will be participating in his 10th Superbowl (of the nine thus far, he has won six of them). Youth will be played by Patrick Mahomes, the 25 year old quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs. Mahomes is also known for State Farm commercials. However, Tom Brady is far from the only Patriot to step up in the Super Bowl. Other significant players include Rob Gronkowski, USA Today reports that, “The Patriots offense was great in Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles, and Rob Gronkowski was the brightest star besides Brady. The veteran tight end tallied a team-high nine receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns, including a go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. It was one of the best playoff performances of Gronkowski’s career.” Gronkowski will surely be a problem for Kansas City in the Superbowl tonight because of his previous performances in big games. Besides the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Chiefs also have very important players alike, the NFL’s Kansas City writes that, “No Chiefs player’s stock has improved more than [Darrel Williams’] over the past few weeks. He filled in admirably for Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Le’Veon Bell and figures to play an important role for the Chiefs again on Sunday. He’s the most physical of their backs, and that quality will be needed to provide additional protection for Mahomes against the Bucs’ stout pass rush. Williams is a big-play back, the likely choice if the Chiefs go power in short-yardage situations.” This is important to keep in mind while watching the game because the Kansas City Chiefs still have a chance against the talented and well renowned Tampa Bay team. 

Who’s going to win?

As of right now, many people favor the Kansas City Chiefs. Even the New York Times claims that, “No one has won more Super Bowls than Tom Brady, but in a high-scoring game, Patrick Mahomes has a slight advantage. Speed is everywhere on Kansas City’s offense — Mahomes, Kelce and Hill have it, too — and the rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire added a threat to the running game that had been expected to be missing when Damien Williams opted out of the season. Considering Kansas City’s tendency to play its best when it is challenged most, this game seems to tilt in the Chiefs’ favor, with the biggest caveat being the team’s poor health on its offensive line.”

The half-time show everyone has been waiting for:

The Weeknd will be headlining the halftime show, and there’s all kinds of speculation over what the vibe of the event will be. After all, the stadium will have only about 25,000 people in it thanks to the pandemic, so there probably won’t be any screaming or carrying on like one would expect in a typical halftime show.

How the pandemic has affected the Super bowl:

This year’s Super Bowl will be unlike any other in history as it falls in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus has gripped the nation for nearly a year and caused the NFL to adapt its procedures and health protocols throughout the season. After significant changes to its offseason program and the cancellation of the preseason, the league managed to pull off a full regular season and allow limited fan attendance at most games. For its biggest spectacle of the year, the NFL talked with the CDC, the Florida Department of Health and Tampa area hospitals and health care systems about hosting fans in a safe and responsible way for Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. A total of 22,000 fans will attend the game, with 7,500 of those being health care workers invited as guests of the league to honor their service during the pandemic. All health care workers in attendance will be vaccinated and the majority of the group will come from hospitals and health care systems in the Tampa and central Florida area. 14,000 spectators will have been winners of a lottery to watch the Super Bowl live.

Game notes and recap:

First quarter scoring: 7-3 TB

There were three punts to start, then a 49 yard field goal from Kansas City. Then, Brady threw an 8-yard TD pass to Gronkowski (first TD pass that Brady has ever had in the first quarter of his ten SB appearances).

Second quarter scoring: 14-3 TB

Kansas City punted, then Tampa Bay turned the ball over on downs at Kansas City’s goal line. It led to another KC punt of 29 yards, which would have led to a 40 yard TB field goal, but the Chiefs lined up offsides, so it gave Tampa Bay a first down, leading to an instant 17 yard touchdown from Brady to Gronkowski, their second thus far. Kansas City responded with a drive ending in a 34 yard field goal led by Kelce (4 catches, 41 yards on drive). Just before halftime, Brady threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown, mainly because of two pass interference penalties drawn by Mike Evans combining for 42 yards. 

Halftime score: 21-6 TB

Tampa Bay’s offense was prolific, aided by several mental errors from Kansas City (8 penalties and 95 penalty yards in the first half). Brady was unstoppable, completing sixteen of his twenty passes and throwing three touchdowns. Tampa Bay’s defense did a superb job of limiting Kansas City’s league leading offense, holding them to six points and 124 total yards in the first half. Also, the halftime show was easily one of the best ever. The Weeknd performed with the fervor that one would expect after he was blacklisted from the Grammys for accepting the offer to headline the Super Bowl halftime show. 

Third quarter scoring: 10-3 TB

Kansas City came out of the second half with their most energy thus far, led by two runs for 36 yards from Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It ended in a 52 yard field goal. Tampa Bay responded with a quick touchdown drive capped off by a 27 yard run from Leonard Fournette. The next drive, Antoine Winfield created the first turnover of the game as he intercepted a tipped pass from Patrick Mahomes. The Buccaneers offense earned three points off of the interception, kicking a 52 yard field goal. 

End of third quarter score: 31-9 TB

Fourth quarter scoring: 0-0 

After the field goal, the Chiefs failed to convert on a fourth down try in the Buccaneers’ redzone, effectively ending the game as Tampa Bay had possession of the football and a 22 point lead with 13:32 left on the game clock. Following the Chiefs’ failed conversion, the most exciting plays of the night were when a streaker ran onto the field and when Devin White intercepted Patrick Mahomes in Tampa Bay’s endzone to seal the victory. Following the opening drive field goal for Kansas City, the wheels fell off of their offensive line. Mahomes took a couple big hits and was consistently forced to scramble for several seconds at a time. 

Final score: 31-9 TB

The largest contributors to Tampa Bay’s victory were undoubtedly their defensive line and their efficiency on offense. The Buccaneers’ defensive line versus the Chiefs’ offensive line was a gigantic mismatch, being the primary reason why Kansas City scored only nine points. On the other side, the Buccaneers’ offense was admittedly helped by the stellar play of the defense, but they also performed about as well as they could have. They forced several penalties from the Kansas City defense and consistently took advantage of the Chiefs’ mistakes on the way to scoring 31 points in three quarters.

Club and high school volleyball adapt to changing COVID guidelines

By MAKAYLA NAIME and ALLISON STOCKHAM

COVID-19 has put all sports on a pause and many people are missing the action out on the court, but with cases now going down and conditions improving, sports might finally be allowed to start their season. Volleyball, an orange-tiered sport, is one of the first high school sports to start their journey to getting back into shape and being allowed to play again. Although, club volleyball has already started this journey, practicing outside safely and even having a few games and tournaments. 

Dustin Fujiwara, director and coach of Redlands Renegade Volleyball Club, shares his input on the situation. He says it has been harder for the team to practice during COVID-19 as they had to find ways to be safe and still practice effectively. His team has been distancing themselves by playing outside and while constantly wearing masks and taking breaks to sanitize and check temperatures throughout practices and games. Players are not as motivated lately due to the stay at home order, “so as coaches [they] have to work on that mental side of it,” which can be difficult to do. Large crowds are no longer allowed at games, Fujiwara says, “maybe one parent per player.” After a game the teams cannot high five or hug each other. He also mentions that their “referee crews have been minimized as well, so [there are] only two per game when there would be four to five.” 

This year has been different due to wearing masks, distancing and sanitizing constantly, but on top of that, the team now also has to practice outside on the grass rather than in a gym, which has definitely made practices and games much more difficult. Fujiwara says that “tournaments and game COVID policy is different every month and [it is] hard to stay on top of it.” He says that this year has definitely been harder because of all of these rules. They had to buy supplies and come up with a protocol which they had to make sure was okay with USA volleyball and that parents felt safe with it. 

Renegade volleyball players Samantha Fujiwara and Jordyn Vasquez getting in the zone  as they start their first set during their 15-U tournament. Everyone’s excited to be back on the court cheering on their team and working together again. (Photo credit Renegade Volleyball Club)

Competitions were finally able to resume on January 25, but this was only the case for some sports. Sports in California are organized into four different colored tiers, purple, red, orange and yellow. Purple consists mostly of outdoor, low-contact sports while yellow is made up of indoor sports with either high or moderate contact. The red tier is outdoor sports with moderate contact and orange includes outdoor sports with high contact and indoor sports with low contact. Volleyball is in the orange tier under outdoor, high-contact sports. Most sports that were in the purple or the red tier were able to begin competing again on the 25th. 

Haley Bond, a member of Envision Volleyball Club and a freshman looking to play in high school says, “Yes, I do feel like COVID-19 has made many things difficult.” With COVID-19, club volleyball has been different from previous seasons. “Last year we were able to practice inside and not wear masks and participate in tournaments every month,” says Bond “but now we practice outside, wear masks and just started joining tournaments again.” Additionally, all teammates play on grass at parks instead of inside courts, always wear masks and get constant temperature checks in order to play instead of continuing their long break. 

When California allows orange tiered sports like volleyball to play, high school teams will have to carefully follow rules in order to keep their season going. Keeping masks on at all times even if it causes hard breathing, have small crowds with only family who live in the same house as players and only travel for frames within a close distance. Additionally with volleyball being inside, crowds will be controlled and limited to possibly only players and coaches. However, high school players aren’t going to let these rules affect their experience. 

“High school volleyball has pretty much been the same as club volleyball, we’re practicing outside, wearing masks and safely staying six feet apart.” However, the high school experience has been “different but fun so far,” according to Bond. High school volleyball has been doing the best they can for their players, hosting “fun practices every week and tryouts until we know if [there is] going to [be] a season.” One of the most important things to start volleyball is tryouts. Bond feels like tryouts have been easier due to the fact they were outside and there might not even be a season in the first place.

Renegade’s blocker, Sidney Chaves working on her blocking under the lights during practice on their outside court. Coaches are excited to get back but are still keeping safety as a priority. (Photo credit Renegade Volleyball Club)

Bond stated, “I feel like everyone did a really good job considering the circumstances we’re under, but inside on a real court our success rates could’ve been higher.” Bond is hoping for a season, but until California reaches the orange tier, that won’t be possible. 

The new season will be a different season for most players, as the spread of COVID-19 increases and puts all at risk. However, teams can form new, special bonds over the difficulties they might come across, ultimately forming an even stronger team. These bonds will allow teams to overcome all battles to ensure their best season yet. 

Team member Jordyn Vasquez hitting the ball over the net during Renegades 15-U tournament hoping to score a point. The set was a close one but Renegades was able to put in their all and win the set. (Photo credit Renegade Volleyball Club)

National sports leagues adapt to COVID-19, as do fans

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By CYRUS ENGELSMAN

With the complications of 2020, every sports league has had to adapt in order to stay afloat.  Many changes have been made, with mixed reactions from fans. 

One of the biggest differences is the absence or limitation of crowds.  Without crowds of people, the atmosphere of the events completely changed.  

“It does make it feel more awkward and it takes away the Roman colosseum feel,” says Matthew Alvizo, a junior at Redlands East Valley.  

A Wilson NCAA basketball is shown in front of a basketball hoop in Redlands on Feb. 8, 2021. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

To combat this issue, some organizations got creative. The National Basketball Association, National Football League and World Wrestling Entertainment are some leagues which include virtual seating for fans who want to show support while staying safe.  

Because most sports include lots of physical contact, players are very susceptible to getting the coronavirus.  This has had an impact on players’ willingness and ability to play. An example is the NFL’s Cam Newton, who was not allowed to play against the Kansas City Chiefs due to testing positive for coronavirus.  To combat the spread, some sports play in “bubbles” that no one can enter or leave, protecting players, coaches, and everyone else inside from contracting the virus.  This strategy has been successful for players in the NBA, WNBA, NWSL, and NLS.  

A Wilson NFL football is shown on a patch of grass in Redlands on Feb. 8, 2021. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

Sports have been very different this past year. However, many fans are enjoying the new format and even enjoy it more.  

“It’s made me watch them more,” says Alejandro Rodriguez,  a sophomore at South Carolina Virtual Charter School. 

“I dislike crowds and prefer to watch Esports alone so I have been enjoying watching just as much as usual,” says Paul McClure, a junior at Redlands High School.  

While this past year has proven to be a challenge for sports fans, players, and leagues alike, all three levels have, and continue to, adapt to the challenges that the infectious coronavirus poses. For some, the adjustments in the sports world are pleasant deviations from tradition. 

Steelers lose their winning streak

By LILY SHAW and MAURICIO PLIEGO

The Pittsburgh Steelers, led by head coach Mike Tomlin, were thriving on a 11-0 winning streak. Multiple games were suspenseful near the end, like game 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles and game 6 against the Tennessee Titans, but the team did not let their fans down until Week 13. 

Although the team was undefeated, they faced a couple of bumps in the road this season. The game versus the Baltimore Ravens was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving Day. However, it was then moved to the following Sunday, and then to Tuesday, and finally to Wednesday Dec. 2 after a reported COVID-19 outbreak on the Ravens team. Beforehand, two players were critically injured. After the Steelers’ first game of the season against the New York Giants, offensive tackle, Zach Banner, was injured. A torn ACL was reported on Sept. 17. After an MRI, his season was over. Later on Nov. 11, linebacker, Devin Bush Jr., tore his ACL and underwent surgery shortly after the incident. Sadly, the 22-year-old’s season was also cut shorter than planned.

Steelers lose their winning streak to the Washington Football Team now standing in a 11-1 Ratio. (Mauricio Pliego/Ethic News)

We asked a fan what the most “nail-biting” game was for them. Ivy Walker, a freshman at Redlands East Valley, said, “The Ravens game last night was the most anxiety-filled game for me because they [Ravens] are our rivals. We’re undefeated, so we couldn’t lose the game. Our offense was not doing the best, and they kept dropping easy passes. But in the end, we barely won the game.” 

Another Steelers fan was asked what game he had the most confidence in. Isaac Marshall, a sophomore at Citrus Valley High School said, “I felt the most confidence in the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. I felt so confident because in the past the Jaguars have not had many good seasons, and they have not done so hot this year either.” 

Do you believe they can reestablish dominance?

The road to a 2020 World Series Championship Title

By JASMINE ROSALES

In the year 1903, things changed for Major League Baseball forever, that year was the first year of playoffs and has been going on ever since. Each year it was modified to what it is now. This years playoffs recently just finished and the results are in. Due to the Co-Vid 19 disease, this season was postponed and wasn’t what it normally was schedule wise. Normally the regular MLB season is roughly six months long plus an additional month or so including playoffs and the championship game, with the recent conditions the whole season was shortened by three months which is half of the season. 

On that note, the 2020 MLB playoffs kicked off with the Wild Card Series Tuesday, September 29th for the American League and the following day for the National League.

The first braquet of this year’s playoffs. Here it shows which teams will be playing and in which League they are from, with the American league on the left and National league on the right (Image by cbs.sports).

The first games for AL 

1. Houston Astros vs Minnesota Twins (4-1)

2. Chicago White Sox vs The Oakland Athletics (4-1)

3. Tampa Bay Rays vs Toronto Blue Jays (3-1)

4. New York Yankees vs Cleveland Indians (12-3)

The first games for NL

1. Atlanta Braves vs Cincinnati Reds (1-0)

2. Miami Marlins vs Chicago Cubs (5-1)

3. St. Louis Cardinals vs San Diego Padres (7-4)

4. Los Angeles Dodgers vs Milwaukee Brewers (4-2)

The first games had already finished within a blink of an eye, the teams all played their first games already and began preparing for the next one. Since this years season hadn’t gone according to plan, changes has been made all around to accommodate the current situation. This year’s playoffs was broken down differently. The postseason expanded in a 16-team playoff tournament exclusively for the year 2020, instead of the standard 10-team tournament. Teams in each league are ranked by division winners (1–3), division runners-up (4–6) and best teams remaining (7–8). Along with the series being different than normal on top of that the teams that advanced past the wild card series did not play in their home stadium. After the first round, baseball goes into a bubble of sorts, with the four American League teams traveling to Southern California and the four National League teams to Texas.

An updated bracket of the Major League Baseball playoffs, showing which teams will be moving on to the next series (Image by cbs sports).

Moving on to the National League Division Series, from the National League, the advancing teams were the Los Angeles Dodgers vs The San Diego Padres and The Miami Marlins vs The Atlanta Braves. 

The advancing teams for the American League Division Series will be the Tampa Bay Rays vs the New York Yankees and The Houston Astros vs the Oakland Athletics. 

Throughout the Major League Baseball season, fans looked forward to seeing which two teams would end up battling it out for the World Champion title. Since then, four teams remained. Those who advanced were the Tampa Bay Rays and the Houston Astros from the American League Championship, as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves from the National League Championship. The League Championship consisted of a best of seven series between the Tampa Bay Rays vs the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers vs the Atlanta Braves. Moving on from here, whoever advanced would be one of the two teams participating in the long awaited Championship Series.

This is the last bracket showing all data from start to finish of which teams advanced and made it to the last round. (Image from cbs.sports).

The  first Champion Series game took place on October 20th, 2020 with The Los Angeles Dodgers from the National League vs the Tampa Bay Rays. This series was back and forth and had everyone at home watching on the edge of their seat. With the Dodgers returning for another shot for the championship title and the Rays advancing to the final round for the first time in history. It was an amazing series to watch and an amazing outcome for the Dodger fans, after a long awaited 32 years of hard work and dedication the Los Angeles Dodgers rained victorious and won the 2020 World Championship of Major League Baseball.

RUSD board members and parents take steps toward building a REV athletic stadium

By MIRIAM YORDANOS

On Oct. 13, Redlands Unified School District held their monthly board meeting to inform and update the community of issues in the RUSD, including the status of a Redlands East Valley sports stadium.  

The district has sent out a request for qualification and a proposal from architects for a stadium. They will soon be planning a rubric and grading the proposal from the architects. The proposal will be brought to the next board meeting for the board to deny or approve.

Paul Cullen, the interim assistant superintendent of business services, discussed in the board meeting how the district has $11 million in the district’s development funds. 

Yet, only $6 million would be possible to be used for a REV athletic facility due to the district’s needs to replace portables, start street improvements near a future middle school, and repair the swimming pools at the high schools.

 2 years ago, Redlands East Valley High School football team competed in a game in Redlands High School’s stadium. Over the past years, Redlands High School and Citrus Valley High School have been sharing their stadium with REV. (Photo credit to Shireen Takkouch)

Cullen advised against using the entire amount of $6 million for the stadium. 

Cullen said, “Should anything catastrophic happen, the district would need that $6 million for repairs,”

Superintendent Mauricio Arellano agreed with the idea of possibly using part of the fund for the stadium and introduced the possibility of using $2 million from an appraisal of the district’s 9.1 acres of land towards the stadium.

During the community input segment of the board meeting, Laura Mapes, along with Melissa Campos and Jill Green, announced a committee formed called the Coalition to Support the RUSD in the Completion of a REV Athletics Stadium. 

After hearing discussions in board meetings and being encouraged by local news outlets for a committee to be formed, these parents of RUSD took action. 

“We are very eager to help RUSD in any way necessary,” Mapes said. “We have connections with other entities, businesses, parents, teachers  and etcetera to ensure this stadium can be built under RUSD guidelines and supervision safely and expeditiously, so that it can be enjoyed by all in attendance.”

The committee plans to help supplement the completion of a stadium if needed through fundraising and asks the board to have the stadium to be on the agenda every monthly board meeting, a board member to be appointed to the committee, and to be able to work with the facilities.

At the next board meeting on Nov. 10, the board may vote on the proposal for a stadium for REV. 

Modified sports practices begin for the fall season amid the pandemic

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By MIA ARANDA

Student-athletes and coaches have been anxiously awaiting the resumption of high school sports following the cancellation of the spring sports season. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is required that if sports teams practice in person, they wear a mask if possible, minimize the sharing of equipment, and maintain a distance of at least six feet apart when applicable.

Redlands Unified School District recently transitioned into phase one of returning to athletic participation on Oct. 1. Student-athletes must complete the online athletic clearance process and sign a pledge to try to limit the spread of COVID-19. As for coaches, they must also sign the pledge and are required to complete COVID-19 online training.

Guidelines for phase one of returning to athletic practices include the following: outdoor conditioning only, ten or less per conditioning group, no equipment usage, six feet social distancing with masks, no spectators or media, and masks must be worn unless conditioning with proper social distancing at nine feet.

As a result of high school sports seasons being pushed back to January, three seasons had to be condensed into two. Fall sports for this year include football, water polo, volleyball, cross country and cheer with each following differing guidelines.

For example, water polo may use the pool facilities, but each lane is limited to only one swimmer with each person in every other lane going in the opposite direction. 

In addition, cheer is prohibited from vocalizing chants and volleyball must conduct practice outdoors at this time. 

Redlands East Valley football team practices consist of bodyweight conditioning exercises, such as upper, lower and full-body movements, footwork and agility drills, plyometrics and sprints.

Redlands East Valley head football coach Richard Lunsford times his players as they do sprint intervals on Oct. 20. Coaches wear masks the entire time and athletes are advised to put theirs on when practice ends. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

“Being able to start these small group conditioning sessions has definitely given us a little ray of sunshine in the darkness that has lurked over us since this pandemic has begun,” said Richard Lunsford, head REV football coach. “I have high hopes for this upcoming season, but we will know much more in the weeks to come as the data continues to come in to health officials and we hopefully see the number of cases decrease.”

Prior to starting in-person practices, REV football engaged in virtual group workouts. Players now express their exhilaration to begin in-person training once again. 

Football player Noah Sorenson, REV senior, said, “I am obviously very excited to be beginning practice. The situation as you know isn’t ideal and being able to have fun and stay safe is an incredible undertaking for anyone.”

“These things aren’t easy but the steps we take now will allow us to go back to normal,” continues Sorenson. “Here at REV our practices consist of conditioning and only conditioning which for now is fine because many of us need the help, but I do hope soon we will be able to follow the footsteps of both the NFL and college football in having regular practices and games, of course while keeping social distancing in mind.”

Redlands East Valley football players engage in conditioning exercises during modified practices on Oct. 20. Athletes were distanced at least six feet apart from each other on the baselines of the basketball courts. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

Redlands East Valley head football coach Richard Lunsford concludes practice on Oct. 20 notifying players that they can’t break into individual groups for each position during practice until each player has been cleared. Lunsford encourages his players to remind their teammates to get their clearance cards in order to start practicing. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

REV junior Zachary Mendieta, a fellow teammate of Sorenson, said, “It’s definitely different than what we are all used to but I feel as if the transition went smoothly with how bad everyone just wanted to be back out on the field. I know that all of my teammates were so eager to be back to in-person practices that we just did anything that was told by administration.”

Mendieta recalls, “I even missed practices for a little head cold so I wouldn’t risk getting our sports shut down, and pre-COVID, I would always go for a little sickness like that.”

If a staff member or student does contract COVID-19, they are required to inform their school site so that RUSD Risk Management can determine the following steps. 

Until then, all coaches and athletes must abide by requisite protocols concerning the safety of everyone at practices. 

Lunsford closes football practice on Oct. 20 by reminding his players “you know the drill when you leave” followed by a collective response from his players: “masks on!”

Dodgers win their first World Series in 32 years

By TATUM MAPES

After a 32 year drought, the LA Dodgers have finally taken home their seventh World Series title. This Game 6 win was worth the wait for Dodger fans, who have consecutively witnessed World Series losses against the Houston Astros and Boston Redsox. With a final score of 3-1, the Dodgers solidified their powerhouse status in the Major Leagues.

The Dodgers celebrate their first World Series win after 32 years (Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos).

Redlands students are celebrating the win as well. Redlands East Valley senior, Matt Marinkovich, shares his reactions “The Dodgers have consistently been to the postseason for years, and this year — really when the community needed it — this team pulled through and really gave us something to cheer for.”

The Tampa Bay Rays opened the first inning with a run by left fielder Randy Arozarena, leaving the Dodgers behind 0-1. The game went runless until Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts and center fielder Austin Barnes scored in the 6th inning. Mookie Betts further contributed to a Dodgers 3-1 win with a solo home run in the 8th inning.

While the contributions of Betts and Barnes are not to be take lightly, the biggest contributing factor to the Dodgers win was their pitching strategy. They put into practice what is known as “pitching by committee.” Also known as bullpen pitching, pitching by committee does not involve utilizing a set starter. Instead, multiple pitchers are used to get in and out of innings. This strategy proved to be effective, as the Rays were kept from scoring more than one run. It was deemed by announcers to be the “Defensive Play of the Game.”

While pitching proved to be the Dodgers’ advantage, it ended up being the Rays’ disadvantage. In the 6th inning, the Rays’ manager Kevin Cash pulled out their star pitcher, Blake Snell, after 73 pitches and 9 strikeouts because of only 2 hits by the Dodgers. It can be easily argued that Cash’s bullpen management was a major contributor to a Rays’ defeat.

It is worthy to note that Dodgers player Justin Turner had to leave the stadium in the 8th inning due to him testing positive for COVID-19. This was the first positive coronavirus test in the MLB’s bubble in two months.

By the 9th inning, 24 year old pitcher Julio Urías threw the final strikeout to clinch a Dodgers’ victory. It is worth noting that not only is Urías the first Mexican-born pitcher to save the deciding game of a World Series, but he is also the first to appear in five World Series games.

Rudy Beltran, a senior at REV, says “I’d just like to say it was a great game, very scary knowing how we play in the World Series, but I had to believe in my boys and have my doubts. But at the end, they came up. I’m proud of them and couldn’t be happier.”

Opinion: NFL season preview gives insight into Super Bowl prediction

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By DANIEL WATERS

The 2020 NFL season is scheduled to start amongst the coronavirus pandemic on September 10th as the Houston Texans face a daunting matchup with the 2019 Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. The NFL has not announced any plans for a bubble, but teams are taking precautions to try and make sure that the season happens in its entirety. Reckless behavior from the players will be the biggest threat to the NFL as just one player with coronavirus could easily spread it to his teammates due to the high contact nature of the sport. Regardless of the very real possibility of a shutdown, let’s explore every team’s outlook and chances to win the Super Bowl.

(Aileen Janee Corpus/ La Plaza art)

AFC East

Buffalo Bills

For the first time in forever, the door is wide open for Buffalo to take the AFC East crown. Winning the division feels like the ceiling for Buffalo, though. The team boasts a very solid defense and some skill position talent, but QB Josh Allen is simply terrible at throwing a football. The only reason he has been kept around is because the Bills have managed to win enough games by building a good roster around him. Having such an unreliable passer at quarterback caps the potential of the Bills. 

New England Patriots

In their last season with QB Tom Brady, the Patriots did not prove themselves to be anything beyond products of their easy schedule. Concluding with pathetic performances against Miami and Tennessee at home left a very sour taste on their 2019. There are not many reasons to believe that 2020 will be better. New England will face a tougher slate of games with a transitioning offensive identity and several key players on defense gone. Belichick is the best coach in the game, but the roster does not have enough talent to really contend. 

Miami Dolphins

Miami has a clear path to success. Brian Flores appears to be a capable coach. The roster is improving as the team spent money on defensive help in free agency and drafted offensive linemen that will ideally shore up that weakness. It remains to be seen whether the Dolphins’ strategy pays off or not, but a Super Bowl is not in the cards for now. 

New York Jets

Terrible coaching combined with an offense barren of talent and a defense without its best player in S Jamal Adams leaves the Jets projected to finish last in the AFC East. 

AFC South

Indianapolis Colts

GM Chris Ballard has accomplished his goal of building a team that is strong on both sides of the trenches, particularly on the offensive line. However, the Colts are not as well-off at the skill positions on either side of the ball. QB Philip Rivers should outperform former QB Jacoby Brissett behind such a skilled offensive line compared to the Chargers. 

Tennessee Titans

To win a Super Bowl, the Titans will need to extend their magic from the second half of last year through an entire season with heightened expectations. In the ever-changing NFL, that is hardly a good formula for success. The losses of OT Jack Conklin, DT Jurrell Casey, and CB Logan Ryan add to existing gaps at receiver, defensive line, and the secondary. 

Houston Texans

QB Deshaun Watson is not in a good position to succeed with a bad offensive line, receiver group, and running back corps. Houston’s defense is also suspect beyond its pass rush. 

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars’ focus in 2020 is contending for the number one overall pick rather than the Super Bowl. 

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City is returning almost all of their starters from last year. The key to beating them is limiting the damage of the offense by keeping the ball away from Patrick Mahomes and taking away the big play when he does have it. No one in the NFL looks to be as well-equipped to accomplish this as San Francisco was last season. Therefore, I am predicting that the Chiefs will repeat as champions. 

Denver Broncos

The Broncos will field a good defense, but the offense has a wider range of outcomes. Incoming draftees at receiver and the progression of second-year QB Drew Lock will determine how far Denver goes. Even in a best case scenario, the offensive line is merely average. Also, the drastically reduced practice time in this offseason will add to the normal challenges that young NFL players face in their improvement. 

Las Vegas Raiders

GM Mike Mayock has great visions for the Vegas version of the Raiders. He was active in free agency and again prioritized competitive, talented players in the draft. The finished product of the rebuild figures to contend in 2021 or beyond, though. Overall, the Raiders are a young team that needs to develop a bit more before thinking about the Super Bowl. 

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers are looking towards the future, but they have compiled an impressive level of talent across the board. The secondary, defensive line, and offensive skill positions are highlights. Unfortunately, a poor offensive line and quarterback situation eclipse the positives. 

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

To win meaningful games in today’s NFL, a team has to be able to pass and erase a deficit if needed. Baltimore is a great team that often creates favorable game scripts, but being in a good situation is much harder come playoff time. When the going gets rough, the Ravens’ flaws become apparent. They are not well-equipped to pass or come from behind with an inaccurate quarterback in Lamar Jackson and a weak receiving group. For the Ravens to win the Super Bowl, the aerial aspect of the offense has to improve. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh is returning a fearful, complete defense but the team could be derailed by its quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger is on the decline and highly likely to get injured. Even with a great defense, offensive line, and surprisingly deep receiver group, the Steelers are weakest at the most important position in the game. 

Cleveland Browns 

At the very least, Cleveland’s offense should be expected to rebound after the nightmare of last season. Their abundance of skill-position talent should shine with a bolstered offensive line and an efficient offensive mind as head coach in Kevin Stefanski. However, the defense is still lacking impact players outside of DE Myles Garrett and CB Denzel Ward. 

Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati is not as bad as having the number one overall pick would indicate, but new QB Joe Burrow has the odds stacked against him in a tough division with drastically reduced practice time. 

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas’s explosive offense is returning with new WR CeeDee Lamb poised to replace WR Randall Cobb. The concerns lie on the defensive side of the ball. The additions of DE Everson Griffen, DT Dontari Poe, and K Greg Zuerlein are nice, but it will be difficult to replace the production of CB Byron Jones and DE Robert Quinn. 

Philadelphia Eagles

The injuries of G Brandon Brooks and OT Andre Dillard greatly reduce the quality of Philadelphia’s offensive line. However, Miles Sanders will have a full season and little competition to showcase his talent while the receiver situation will at least be slightly improved. On the defensive side, S Malcolm Jenkins is a tough loss, but the acquisitions of CBs Darius Slay and Nickell-Robey Coleman along with DT Javon Hargrave go beyond in compensating for it. Philadelphia improved overall, but they were far from getting to the Super Bowl in 2019. 

Washington Football Team

Washington’s fearsome pass rush is the highlight of the team. They will be held back by QB Dwayne Haskins, the lack of receiving options outside of WR Terry McLaurin, and the secondary. 

New York Giants

Both New York teams are poised to finish in the basement of their respective divisions. The Giants are going to be plagued by a bad defense, a bad offensive line, and turnovers from QB Daniel Jones. 

NFC South

New Orleans Saints

It has been the same story for the Saints over the past several years. They consistently excel in the regular season, but underwhelm in the playoffs. New Orleans is a great team on paper, especially with the additions of WR Emmanuel Sanders and S Malcolm Jenkins, but they cannot be trusted to perform in the playoffs until further notice. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay’s defense is much better than it would seem considering that QB Jameis Winston turned over the ball so often. With Tom Brady, the Buccaneers will be much better off in the turnover department. However, I doubt the fit between Brady and the Buccaneers’ offense and the idea that they will seriously compete. Receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have thrived with a reliable need to pass and a quarterback that was much more willing to take risks, but can they show up in big games and prove that they are as skilled as their numbers would indicate? Can the offensive line give Brady enough time to pass or open up the running game? In a season that is not going to reward change and uncertainty, Tampa Bay is not likely to win the Super Bowl. 

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta is predictably unpredictable. To win the Super Bowl, their defense has to continue the remarkable performance from the latter half of last season and the offensive line has to improve in order to protect Matt Ryan and the volatile Todd Gurley. The Falcons cannot be trusted to accomplish this, though. 

Carolina Panthers

Carolina could have a good offense with their talent at receiver and running back, but they could also be limited by QB Teddy Bridgewater and their offensive line. The defense is going to be one of the worst in the league after the departures of CB James Bradberry, DTs Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe, and LB Luke Kuechly. There will be severe growing pains with such an inexperienced unit. 

NFC West

San Francisco 49ers

History is not kind to teams that lose the Super Bowl, and the trend looks poised to continue in San Francisco. Losing WR Emmanuel Sanders and replacing OT Joe Staley with the unreliable Trent Williams is very concerning for their offense. The offensive line is everything for San Francisco’s run-first, pass comfortably approach. Emmanuel Sanders also opened up the offense for San Francisco in a way that will be difficult for rookie WR Brandon Aiyuk to replicate. WR Deebo Samuel’s foot injury might limit his impact. Rookie DT Javon Kinlaw has big shoes to fill with the trade of DT DeForest Buckner, but that is the only issue on the defensive end. 

Seattle Seahawks

QB Russell Wilson is surrounded by impact players at the offensive skill positions, but the offensive line remains terrible. The health of RBs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny is also concerning. Running the rock might not be the best approach for the Seahawks with unstable running backs and a horrid line. DE Jadaveon Clowney was the only productive player on Seattle’s defensive line last season, and he is now gone. However, Seattle made good moves to improve their secondary with the acquisitions of CB Quinton Dunbar and S Quandre Diggs. The weaknesses on both sides of the trenches will be Seattle’s downfall. 

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are returning with a shaky offensive line, a shaky quarterback, and new question marks at running back and receiver. Their defense and special teams unit were decimated over the offseason with the departures of LBs Cory Littleton/Dante Fowler Jr., CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, S Eric Weddle, and K Greg Zuerlein. Los Angeles did not contend last year and they declined in all three phases of the game. 

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona made the flashiest move of the offseason by trading for WR DeAndre Hopkins, but the team’s offensive skill positions are where the excitement begins and ends. A weak offensive line and defense are going to limit the potential of the Cardinals very much. 

NFC North

Green Bay Packers

The Packers’ 2019 season appears to be more of a flash in the pan than a sign of serious contention. They could not do anything against the 49ers in their biggest game of the season. With a relatively quiet offseason, there is no reason to believe that Green Bay will improve their run defense or suddenly perform well against top-tier defensive units. 

Minnesota Vikings

Over the offseason, Minnesota lost offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, WR Stefon Diggs, DE Everson Griffen, DT Linval Joseph, and CBs Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackenzie Alexander. Just making the playoffs is more of a concern than winning a Super Bowl. 

Chicago Bears

GM Ryan Pace failed to meaningfully address the offense that was so problematic for Chicago in 2019. For a team that is going to rely on their defense, losing DT Eddie Goldman, S HaHa Clinton-Dix, and LBs Leonard Floyd and Nick Kwiatowski will not go over well, even with the addition of DE Robert Quinn. 

Detroit Lions

The Lions are glad to have QB Matthew Stafford back, but it seems like it will end up being another typical season for him. The offensive line and defense are still bad, despite the free agency pickups coming in on the defensive side. He will put up great numbers with a nice receiving duo in Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. and a constant need to pass the ball, but he will not come close to getting his first playoff win.

Redlands East Valley parents pressure school board for safer sports fields

By MIRIAM YORDANOS

Jill Green, PTSA member, REV Gridiron Booster Club board member and REV Wildcat football parent, speaks at the March 10 school board meeting. Green spoke about equity of safe fields among the high schools in the Redlands Unified School District. (Emily Walos/ Ethic Photo)

 Redlands East Valley High School families are still struggling to secure improvements for the athletics facilities with the help of the Redlands Unified School District.

Alex Vara, a RUSD board member, said how enrollment in RUSD is decreasing  with a projection of 1000 students in the next 7 years, and 9 million dollars has been saved since 2015 to build another school because Loma Linda plans to expand. On Feb. 11, 2020, during the RUSD monthly board meeting, RUSD board members recognized REV’s  inadequate athletic fields and discussed potentially using the money to fund stadiums, turf and track fields. 

Kero Adeib, a REV junior football and soccer player, spoke out at the board meeting about sprained ankles,  knee injuries and incidents occurring on REV fields. Adeib said, “To us, this is an attack on our future.” 

Injuries resulting on the fields have led to student athletes missing out on opportunities that could further advance them as athletes. For example, Kapena Kamakawiwoole, a senior football and soccer player, described how he wasn’t able to play soccer for a year due to injuries.

Kamakawioole said, “Because of how unsafe the fields are that football and soccer uses along with many other sports and activities, I was unable to partake in things I love doing. These fields took that away for me. And all I ask is for a safe field so that no one else gets their passion taken away from them.”

Currently, REV uses “district fields,” such as the Dodge Stadium and Hodges Stadium, to compete in home games due to not having their own facilities. Yet, the Dodge Stadium and Hodges Stadium are decorated with the mascot markings of the Blackhawk and the Terriers. This makes it apparent that those fields are not truly district fields.

Cecilla Kamakawiwoole, a parent of a Wildcat football and soccer player, said, “Why is it, that every year, REV football and soccer have to fight for access to these districts fields?”

On March 10, 2020, the board met again for their monthly board meeting. 

Jill Green, PTSA member, REV Gridiron Booster Club board member and REV Wildcat football parent, brought up how former REV head football coach Kurt Bruich left due to demolishing fields. According to Green, in a speech given to the School Board, Coach Bruich sent an email to the entire football team and families revealing he couldn’t imagine spending the next couple of years constantly repairing the fields everyday and his coaching staff deserved to be working with a more substantial field.

Green said, “Don’t we want to make sure that all of the schools within our school district have equitable facilities to prevent coaches and teachers from bouncing from one school to another? Don’t we want to ensure that every student is able to participate fully in a safe and equitable environment?”

Not only are athletes affected by traveling to another facility for home games, REV Gridiron football booster club, which helps coordinate the logistics of meal planning, the home game snack bar, health department permits and more, faces challenges that include making sure home game facilities are unlocked and food vendors and volunteers are able to set up. Students therefore have limited access to community service opportunities due to needing transportation to another school. Green stated that having a stadium would increase community pride through greater involvement of parents and students because of a more reasonable event location.

Michelle Juarez, a REV parent, said, “We do need to have at least a long term plan in place to support the students of REV to be allowed to enjoy the same amenities as their sister schools without the added time to travel to and from home events as well as the extra expenditures incurred in traveling for those home events.”

Michelle Juarez speak at the podium during the Redlands School Board Meeting about Redlands East Valley sport fields conditions. Juarez spoke about the excessive travel time and costs associated with not having home athletic facilities. (Emily Walos / Ethic Photo)

According to the California Department of Education, every year, by February 1, schools in California have to release a school accountability report card. These SARC can be found online. Every year, REV does not report how unsafe the fields are for students to play on. 

Juarez mentioned how there are multiple sections and improvements of the sport fields that could have been reported. Yet, never has it been reported as a critical need, student objective, school facility condition or on section C.

In the SARC, section C refers to engagement. It is to provide a report on the “effort the school district makes to seek parent input in making decisions for the school district and each school site.” REV parents have requested a stadium numerous times over several years to the school and the board; however, it was not published onto the report card.

The report card published during the 2019-20 school year reporting on the previous 2018-2019 school year touches upon how much money REV boosters collect for athletic programs, funds which are used to pay for the transportations to and from home games. It was not reported how Citrus Valley and Redlands High School do not need to use money from boosters to pay for these extra necessities for a home game due to having a stadium.

 Juarez said that a parent spoke with Brian Guggisberg about donations made to RUSD for the stadiums in October 2015. According to Juarez,  it was explained that all the money would be deposited into an account that is controlled and invested by the county of San Bernardino. Any return rates the county receives on the amounts donated will be added as well, and any person may call the district office to learn what the balance of the fundraising efforts are at any time.

Guggisberg, RUSD fiscal services director,  plans and administers for the school district a budget in excess of $150 million through budgeting, accounting, auditing, payrolls, purchasing, and more.

In a previous board meeting, she brought this up to Guggisberg and he did not remember such an account. 

During discussion, the board members stated that they will have a workshop on April 23 at 4:45 pm to view a presentation, created by the business department of RUSD, showing exactly how much it would be to revise and create a safer field and stadium. In previous meetings, the board had discussed forming a committee but did not make any commitments. 

At the time this article was published, it was not clear if the workshop would proceed to due COVID-19 precautions and protocols.

Upset wins NFL Playoffs

By JOSEPH QUESADA

The NFL’s 100th season came to an end with the Kansas City Chiefs defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium on February 2, 2020.

The amount of excitement that characterized this past season was due in part to the staggering amount of upset wins pulled off by underperforming or surprising teams, especially when the postseason playoff period began. Over the past 10 years of football, teams like the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers have dominated the NFL’s postseason, leading to a proverbial drought in excitement for fans of other teams. The 2019-2020 season finally saw a stirrup in the competition which is what made this season so thrilling.

However this is not to dismiss the sheer dominance of teams such as the Baltimore Ravens, who racked up 14 wins with MVP winner Lamar Jackson at the helm, or the wrecking ball that was the San Francisco 49ers who pounded teams with their top notch defense and impressive run game. But the NFL’s 100th playoff saw a slew of teams surprise fans with upsets that no one could have possibly predicted. 

Superbowl LIV caps off the NFL’s historic 100th season with Kansas City’s victory over San Francisco. (Kevin Dotson and Darran Simon / CNN)

The drama began on January 4 when the Tennessee Titans took on the New England Patriots in the Wild Card round in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Patriots ended the regular season with some struggles on offense as questions surrounding the performance of their quarterback, Tom Brady, began to arise. However, history has shown that the Patriots would surely be able to overcome the Titans, especially during a home game in the playoffs where this team has been historically dominant. 

Backed by the NFL’s leading running back, Derrick Henry, and a strong performance by their defense, the Titans were able to knock out the Patriots at home in an incredible upset victory with a 20-13 final score.

The trend continued the very next day, January 5, with the Minnesota Vikings defeating the New Orleans Saints. According to CBSSports, the Saints entered the contest as definitive favorites with an estimated -7.5 point advantage over the visiting Minnesota team. Fresh off a 42-10 statement victory over the Carolina Panthers in the regular season, the Saints were slated to run away with this Wild Card victory. However, the Vikings came out on top with a walk-off touchdown scored on the final play of the overtime period, prematurely ending the Saints’ season. 

The Baltimore Ravens rolled into the postseason with a 14-2 record and the number one seed in the American Football Conference after their regular season run. The Titans, on the other hand, barely secured a playoff spot. Regardless, Tennessee defeated the Ravens in their own stadium with a 28-12 statement victory. Coming into the playoffs as strong Superbowl favorites, the Ravens’ loss by double digits to the 6th seed Titans was a rarity in itself. 

The Kansas City Chiefs added two comeback wins in the postseason. The first of which came against the Houston Texans in the divisional round of the postseason. The Texans came out strong, reaching a 24 point lead within the first 20 minutes of the game. But, once the Chiefs found their pulse, the game spiraled out of control in Kansas City’s favor and the Chiefs’ won by a score of 51-31, the biggest comeback win in the team’s history. 

The Chiefs found a way to come back from yet another deficit on February 2 when they rallied late and scored three touchdowns within a six minute span, defeating the San Francisco 49ers for this year’s Superbowl. Down 10 points going into the 4th quarter, the Chiefs high-powered offense closed the gap within minutes and secured a Superbowl victory. This comeback win was a perfect end to a postseason filled with upsets and strange victories throughout. 

Sources:

CBS Sports Staff. “49ers Vs. Chiefs Odds, Line: Super Bowl 2020 Picks, Predictions from Top Expert Who Went 12-3 on Niners Games.” CBSSports.com, 2 Feb. 2020, www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/49ers-vs-chiefs-odds-line-super-bowl-2020-picks-predictions-from-top-expert-who-went-12-3-on-niners-games/.

CBS Sports Staff. “Saints vs. Vikings Odds, Line: NFL Picks, Wild Card Round Predictions from Advanced Model on 96-65 Roll.” CBSSports.com, 5 Jan. 2020, http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/saints-vs-vikings-odds-line-nfl-picks-wild-card-round-predictions-from-advanced-model-on-96-65-roll/.

“Real-Time NFL Scores.” NFL.com, National Football League, 26 Feb. 2020, http://www.nfl.com/scores.

East Valley boys varsity soccer aspires to continue winning streak as they advance to CIF finals

By MIA DELMONICO

On Saturday Feb. 22 the Redlands East Valley High School boys soccer team competed against Santiago High School in the semi- final round of the California Interscholastic Federation. With a last minute goal by REV senior Luca Russo, resulting from a miscommunication between Santiago center defender and Santiago goalkeeper, the REV boys varsity soccer team advanced to the final round of CIF. 

Russo stated that “it was a great feeling scoring in overtime to win that game.” He recalled that they “didn’t play [their] best but nobody gave up.” He feels that this is one of the main aspects that “shows hot truly great this team is.” He believes that if they continue to play like they have all season in the final game, they will come out victorious in the final. 

After a successful season in the Citrus Belt League, the boys varsity soccer team reigned victorious and secured the title of CBL champions. They went on to win every game following this title and hope to become state champions with a victory over North Torrance High School on Saturday Feb.29. 

Senior forward Sam Pister explained that at the beginning of the season the team “had two goals–to win league and CIF playoffs.” He added that they were “always shooting for a ring.” The team feels that they have in fact “accomplished [their] goal of winning league and that [they] are one step away from completing the goal of being CIF champions.” 

As the season progressed, they faced struggles as any group working toward such a rigorous goal would. Pister felt “the biggest struggle as the season progressed was taking it one game at a time.” He expressed that in the excitement and long duration of league they “at times looked too far ahead of what [they] could accomplish.” Despite this, he feels that they were able to “overcome that and are a better team because of it.”

The team prepared for the CIF final by “working hard at training and games” almost every day. Pister added that “every training session has been an opportunity for [them] to grow and better prepare [themselves] to reach [their] goal.”

Looking toward the end of the postseason, he stated that being a part of REV soccer is “an experience you wouldn’t want to miss.” He also said that it entails not only working to grow individually, but also working to improve for the team. Pister feels that “REV soccer is a family and [he] is blessed to have been a part of it.”

Featured Image: The Redlands East Valley boys varsity soccer players and coaches pose together on the Santiago High School fields, after their victory on Feb. 22, 2020. (Photo credit to Sam Pister)

Wildcats soccer player Breanna Murillo talks about the legacy she hopes to leave

By AALEYAH WINSLOW

Redlands East Valley High School Senior, Breanna Murillo, has been playing soccer since the age of four. Murillo is now 17 years old. Along with being a soccer star, she is also a fashionista who in fact has just won the best dressed girl hagar award for her senior class.

As a young girl, Murillo played for a beginner league, American Youth Soccer Organization. When she turned 10, she began to play for a high level soccer club known as Legends IE. Now she is currently playing center mid-field for Redlands East Valley High School Varsity soccer.

Murillo is pictured advancing down the field in hopes of scoring a goal. She is wearing jersey number 21 and a neon green pre-wrap headband. (Photo credit Murillo’s family)

When asked about  the REV Varsity soccer season, Murillo said, “we could’ve done better in certain games but we didn’t and it was disappointing.” REV suffered a great loss from Citrus this year, which was a good wake up call and encouraged them to work harder in order to be back to back CBL champions this year. Although the team was stronger last year, they still won CBL this year, so it ended well.

Murillo has fallen in love with soccer because she has made so many great memories and met some of her best friends. She still talks to them today because she was on the various teams.

She does not plan on playing soccer in college, being that she has played her whole life, she plans on focusing solely on school after she graduates high school, but she is going to finish the season with her club team.

Her greatest accomplishment while playing soccer includes receiving many offers from various colleges with varying divisions. Although she does not wish to pursue those offers, she is grateful and happy that she would be good enough to play.

Breanna Murillo plans on attending Cal Poly Pomona to double major in nutrition and fashion design. She also plans on becoming a nutritionist, owning her own vegan restaurant or organic market, and having her own fashion line.

Murillo’s unique style is pictured in this photo. She thrifted everything here with the exception of  her shoes being from a 90s brand called Delias. Her skirt is from Princess Polly Boutique and her shirt and shoes are Vintage Demonias. (Photo credit to Murillo)

The legacy Murillo hopes to leave at REV is to be an individual who keeps pushing to be the best you can be.

Featured Photo: Here Murillo is pictured shooting the ball. She is wearing an East Valley jersey with a green pre-wrap headband. (Photo credit Murillo’s family)

Redlands East Valley boys’ soccer defeats Citrus Valley in electric fashion

By RONALD MILLER

The Blackhawk varsity boys team battles against the Wildcats for their last soccer game of the season on Feb. 7, 2020 at Citrus Valley High. “The game was balanced and the results could have fallen either way” says Alex Gaede, a Citrus Valley soccer coach. (Ethan Dewri / Ethic Photo)

The atmosphere in the Hodges Stadium was electric as Citrus Valley High School had another chance on February 7 to strip the Citrus Belt League title from Redlands East Valley Highschool at the CV versus REV soccer game. This game decided whether Carter Highschool or REV took home the Citrus Belt League title.

With the players all lined up to start the match, the referee blew his whistle and the teams began their high stakes game. REV towered over the Citrus Valley team with their size, however Citrus was unfazed and properly prepared for the occasion. From the very start, REV looked for an early goal and missed many opportunities until Luca Russo landed a shot into the top left corner of the goal. 

Although the Citrus boys were losing, they did not give up; in fact encouragement and energy permeated through the team. Junior Yahir Ocampo leveled the score with a free kick, and with their heads held high, the referee signaled for halftime and Citrus ended the game tied at 1-1.

After halftime, the game pressed on. Citrus Valley boys were still fighting for a victory and REV was as motivated as ever to beat their inter-city rivals. Although during the beginning of the second half the score was equal—each team having chances to score—REV finally capitalized on a mistake by the Citrus Valley team. Though Citrus put in a valiant effort, it was still not enough to break the formidable defense REV posed, ending the game with a REV victory by a score of 1-2. 

Citrus Valley senior softball athletes sign with dream colleges

By SOFIA DICARLO

Graduation season is slowly approaching, and many seniors are finding the colleges of their dreams. On Wednesday, Feb. 5 in the Citrus Valley High School’s Hall of Fame, many senior athletes proudly signed with their respective colleges. Two of those athletes are from the CV Softball Program: Sophia Gil and Sarah Mosqueda. As they signed, both athletes beamed with excitement and optimism for their futures.

Sophia Gil started her recruitment process with Waldorf University at the Colorado Sparkler Tournament in the summer of 2019. Her old coach, Neil Price, provided her with a list of schools that were looking for high school students of the 2020 graduating class, and Gil emailed almost every single one. Many replied, but Waldorf gave her an invitation to tour the campus and get a feel for their program.

During her visit at Waldorf University, Gil felt an immediate connection to the school. When asked about her first impression of the school, she replied, “I don’t know…I just felt really happy there, and I kept thinking about [Waldorf] when I left.” Two months later in November of 2019, the head coach, Lexy Determan, asked for her to sign, and Gil happily agreed. Now, Sophia Gil’s future is laid out before her as she plans to major in English and Literature to become an English teacher and author.

Sophia Gil signs her athletic contract to Waldorf University, starting in the fall of 2020. (Sofia DiCarlo / Ethic Photo)

Another senior who signed on Feb. 5 was Sarah Mosqueda. Her recruitment story began at a Vegas Tournament with her travel team, Explosion, which is based out of Grand Terrace. In between games, the assistant coach of Concordia University, Dave Golitko, approached her and asked if she was committed. As she was not, Golitko continued to watch her games, and got the head coach, Sarah O’Malley-Fisher, to come out the next day and evaluate Mosqueda as well. After watching Mosqueda herself, O’Malley-Fisher invited Mosqueda to visit Concordia, and they exchanged contact information. 

When Mosqueda first visited Concordia University in Chicago, she really connected with Chicago’s environment and the coaching staff, and she knew immediately that it was the place for her. When asked what she planned to major in at Concordia, Mosqueda revealed that she plans to major in psychology and minor in criminal law. 

Sarah Mosqueda signs her athletic contract to Concordia University, starting in the fall of 2020 (Sophia DiCarlo / Ethic Photo)

Blackhawk boys basketball ends its season with a bang

By EMILY BLOMQUIST

 Citrus Valley High School’s varsity boys basketball team took on the Redlands Terriers on Jan. 29, 2020. Captains Devin Smith and Daniel Melero led the team towards victory, coming a long way as the team acquired a record of 7-8. Sophomore Jacob Taylor started off the game with a jump ball and the ensuing match was full of excitement as the first player to score was Citrus Valley junior Nate Coppi with an impressive three-pointer. 

Devin Smith, senior and varsity captain, attempts a closely contested shot inside the paint against Redlands High School, Jan. 29, 2020. (Emily Blomquist / Ethic Photo)

The players demonstrated their skills on the court as the first quarter was characterized by Coppi making a total of three three-pointers, and Melero shooting two three-pointers. Through it all, the crowd was on the edge of their seats, wholly invested in the outcome of the game and its victors. The second quarter was just as exciting as the first; Devin Smith ran onto the court and immediately scored a layup for the Blackhawks. As the game was heating up, Coppi got shoved, which gave him two shots at the free throw line, making the foul count for the second quarter six fouls for CV and one foul for RHS.

The third quarter started strong: the score was 33-24 for the Blackhawks and the team’s  communication was at an alltime high. Coppi made another three-pointer, Smith shot a two-pointer, and with three seconds left Taylor landed a layup, ending the quarter with a score of 52-40 for CV. Though RHS was only down by 12 points and had a chance to make a comeback, the Blackhawks’ defense was too strong. The game ended with Arnold Henrico scoring a layup that made the final score 73-61, a win for the Blackhawks.

Citrus Valley Cheer Update: Varsity performs at first competition of season

By: EMILY BLOMQUIST & AVALON SALVADORE 

Citrus Valley High School’s varsity team cheers on the football game and motivates the crowd. (CV Spirit Photography).

Citrus Valley High School’s varsity cheerleading team went to their first cheer competition at Brea Olinda High School on Dec. 14, 2019. It was the team’s first time performing together as a group; tryouts were held for the competition team earlier in August for anyone to see if they had the talent and commitment to be on the team. At 6 a.m. on a sunny Saturday morning, the varsity team competed in the Super Large Novice division against ten other teams. Though they performed at 8:30 a.m., the team had to wait until 11:30 a.m. to hear their score and placement within the first tournament. Citrus Valley’s varsity team placed second in their division, and qualified to compete at the National Competition in February. 

The competition team changes every year with the arrival new, unique talent. This year there are multiple newcomers to the team who are not experienced with competitive cheer such as senior Cameron Mudget. Regarding joining the team, Mudget said “I wanted to do something different for my senior year and I thought it would be really fun.” The addition of the many new members only diversifies the girls’ collective abilities and only pushes the team to strive for another national title. If the team wins at nationals again, this will be their third time bringing home the national champion trophy, banner and backpacks. The team is now working hard to perfect their routine for the upcoming CIF competition and regional competition before nationals.

Opinion: Lionel Messi: the best player in the world

By RICARDO RAMOS

As a result of his many accolades and accomplishments, Lionel Messi, an Argentine professional footballer who plays for both Spanish club Barcelona and the Argentina national team, is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. (Ricardo Ramos / Ethic Photo)

There’s no doubt that Lionel Messi is the best player in the world to many across the world; Citrus Valley High School is no exception. Jeamil Haboud, a senior at Citrus Valley, remarked that “[Lionel’s] consistency with FC Barcelona through the years is insane,” and “it seems like he’s the only player on the field for them with the way he dribbles past everyone…it’s something we’ve never seen before.” Lionel Messi is out of this world and this fact is not only reflected in public opinion, but also in Messi’s long list of accomplishments.

Lionel Messi has just won his sixth Balon d’Or football award. Messi the only soccer player to win six Balon d’Or awards, beating his rival Cristiano Ronaldo who has five, and finished one of his best seasons with 51 goals and 19 assists. But the debate continues on who is the best player in the world, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? My answer is the one and only Lionel Messi.  

Not only does Lionel Messi have six Balon d’Or, but he also has six European Golden Boot awards, one Best FIFA Men’s Player title and five FIFA Puskás awards. Lionel Messi has been playing with Football Club Barcelona his whole life, starting with the academy team and then making his debut in a preseason game against Porto at the age of 17. Additionally, Messi has won ten La Liga titles with FC Barcelona, four UEFA Champions League titles and six Copas del Rey awards. In the light of all these accolades, Messi seems to have a master class of trophies, but he is still missing one crucial achievement: a World Cup.

Messi is the top goal scorer in Argentina’s history, surpassing Diego Maradona by 36 goals. In 2014, Argentina and Messi had the chance to take home the World Cup when they faced Germany in the finals and, although Messi had one of his best performance, the team still lost to Germany with a score of 0-1. The loss left Messi without an international trophy but with a Golden Ball award instead for his brilliant performance throughout the tournament.

The way Messi moves the ball, the way he dribbles, it’s an art form to watch. Messi is able to dribble past professional players like it’s nothing and he’s on a different level than everyone else. Announcers and commentators constantly note that Messi exists in a different class than others known as the “Messi Class.” He is such a joy to watch and a perfect example of sportsmanship for kids since he does not dive when he gets touched or tripped; coaches and players agree that he is the greatest player of all time and there will be no one like him.

Citrus Valley’s football team finishes their best season in school history

By JOSEPH QUESADA

The Citrus Valley High School football team finished the 2019 season with a 10-2 record—the highest win total in school history. Images taken at Citrus Valley’s home non-conference game against Valley View High School wherein the Blackhawks secured a win of 35-0 on Aug. 30, 2019. (Emily Walos / Ethic Photo)

Blackhawk football received the leadership and guidance it needed in 2017 when Coach Kurt Bruich transferred over from Redlands East Valley High School to assume the role of Citrus Valley High School’s head varsity coach. The culture in the Blackhawk locker room was immediately invigorated and it transferred well onto the field.

Coach Bruich instilled the virtues of hard work, team bonding and feisty competitiveness among the players. Safety and outside linebacker, Jake Acuna, stated that “there was a lot more bonding as time progressed; we all became closer and the chemistry was there.”

Acuna said that Coach Bruich “made it more of a brotherhood than it already was; it was more like a family and we always prioritized winning.”

Senior receiver and defensive back, Jordan Scott, had one word to describe the atmosphere that Coach Bruich brought to Citrus: “intense.”  Scott also explained the impact that Coach Bruich had on the players. Scott said, “[Bruich] made us come together closer as brothers” as “putting in that work everyday with those guys beside you definitely brings you all closer together.”

Citrus Valley finished 7-4 in their first year with Coach Bruich at the helm, making it their first winning season since 2011 according to MaxPreps. The impressive 2018 win total was just a glimpse into what was to come for the following year. 

Citrus Valley opened the 2019 season in an impressive fashion, going undefeated through the first eight games and establishing themselves at the top of the Citrus Belt League. The Blackhawks weren’t just scraping by either. The team had a total of four shutout games and five 30+ point wins in that span alone. Their undefeated reign featured impressive wins that included a 47-8 upset against Silverado in week four and a 56-7 blowout against Yucaipa High in week six. 

Citrus Valley’s only loss of the regular season came against Cajon High School in week nine—a game that many thought that even the Blackhawks couldn’t pull off. Coach Bruich voiced the uncertainty among the players going into this tough division matchup that “deep down, I don’t know if at first our kids really believed that they could play with Cajon.”

This game would put the victor on top of the Citrus Belt league, and the division three Cajon Cowboys were all but sure to win against the division six Blackhawks. 

Citrus Valley put up a strong fight and trailed 26-20 at the final seconds of the 4th quarter. In a last ditch effort, quarterback Dylan Wheatly lobbed a high pass in the back corner of the end zone to receiver Jordan Scott before Scott and the defensive back in coverage went stumbling to the ground with the ball still in the air.

A questionable no-call by onlooking referees left Citrus players, coaches and fans alike fuming for an explanation to an absent pass interference call that would have given Citrus Valley another chance to score. Regardless of the 26-20 loss, the Blackhawks were content with the fact that they kept up with a league rival that was slated to run away with the win.

Coach Bruich was more than proud of his team’s performance and said that “as the game went on, our boys knew they were every bit as good as [Cajon].”

Bruich also said, “The confidence was there, and even though we weren’t able to score that final touchdown to win the game, at the end of the day our kids knew that our program had arrived, and that we can really play with anyone in our league.” 

Citrus Valley finished off the season with a statement 35-0 win over Redlands East Valley High School. The Blackhawks entered CIF playoffs with a record of 9-1, which is the best regular season total since 2011 and a two win improvement from the year before.

The Blackhawks dominated Silverado High School in the first round of the CIFSS playoffs, ending the game 55-21. The next round of the playoffs saw a much tougher match for Citrus Valley when they traveled over 3 hours to face off against Pacifica High School in Oxnard, California. The Pacifica Tritons overwhelmed the Blackhawks with a 55-28 game and ended Citrus Valley’s season.

The first two years of Coach Bruich’s tenure at Citrus Valley has proved to be successful, especially when considering that under his leadership the Blackhawks have won the most games in school history. Citrus Valley will lose a few key players on both sides of the ball come next fall, but they look to regroup and continue to dominate in the upcoming 2020 season.