Football ends long drought with undefeated 2021 season


After 17 seasons without the trophy, the CHS football team are once again the top dogs after defeating Chaffey 38-0 in the San Antonio League championship game, capping off a dominant season that saw them go undefeated in league play without giving up a single point.
The team’s journey to league dominance was long and complicated. Last season, the football team finished a lukewarm 6-5, ending the season on a sour note with a 1-3 finish and a first round CIF playoff exit at the hands of Chaffey by a razor-thin margin of 20-22. This season, the coaches and players were determined to make the best of what they had, with a significantly more experienced squad that contained 15 seniors.

Unfortunately, the pandemic shortened the team’s usual three or four-month-long preseason training block. During this stretch of time, the players were not even allowed to touch the football at certain points. Practices were cancelled and restarted frequently throughout the year. Despite the obstacles, the players remained motivated and persistent throughout the process.

“When we came back, [the team] never wavered,” CHS Varsity football coach Shane Hile said. “They came back, and they were ready to go. And we were all frustrated of course, but everybody came back — and they were just excited and happy to get going.”

According to senior and team captain Isaiah Love, the coaches, too, “never wavered.” Love attributes much of the team’s success to them.
“What really motivated us was Coach Hile pushing us,” Love said. “Even when we were at school, we were motivated to do stuff outside of school, like lifting weights, building our own personal gyms, getting bigger, trying to condition and waiting.”

Along with the coaches’ leadership, the leadership among the players, who felt a massive responsibility to inspire the rest of the team, was crucial too.

“It was kind of rough because the team is always relying on you,” Love said. “They look up to you, they want to see everything that you do and how you do it. And if it wasn’t for the captains pushing the team, I don’t think we would have been as good as we were because the captains were the ones who were pushing everyone every day in practice to get us better.”

After handily defeating Chino Hills 28-0 in the opening game, with three players including wide receiver Love putting up over 100 total yards, the team lost their second game of the season against San Dimas 24-6.

The game was a critical part of the season. Although it was not a league game and did not end the way the team wanted it to, the locker room setting and the attitude after the game were fundamental for the rest of the season.

“It really helped us a lot because we realized that when we’re going to get hit in the mouth every now and then so we have to push through everything and adversity,” Love said. “After that loss, practice was just crazy. Everybody was flying around. We didn’t want that feeling of losing, ever again. So that just pushed us off the way in the rest of the season.”

Their determination to never taste defeat again was evident on the field. They steamrolled past their next two opponents by a combined margin of 75 points. The team’s largest win was against Don Lugo, where sophomore running back Caden Campuzano scored an absurd six rushing touchdowns to help Claremont win by a comfortable margin of 49-0. Those six touchdowns were a new school record for a single game.

Even more impressive than Campuzano’s unstoppable night against Don Lugo was the Wolfpack’s stingy, impenetrable defense. They did not give up a single point against all three of their league opponents. Along with incredible coaching and players who knew their assignments and executed play well, Hile attributed the team’s strong defensive performance to the leader of the defensive unit, CHS senior Simon Jansezian.

“These last couple of weeks, [Jansezian] did a great job,” Hile said. “He was almost like having a coach on the field for the defense. He would come off the field and we would ask him, ‘Hey, what do you think? What are you seeing?’ You know, when we would communicate with each other and he’d say, ‘Hey, I see this, I think we can do this or that.’ And we would, we would do it. And, you know, Simon was great to have on the field. And again, all those guys, you know, a lot of experience on that side of the ball and they just did a good job.”

Hile also recognized the importance of the special teams this season, most notably kicker Miguel Lopez’s precisely placed kicks giving an important advantage to the defense, who was put in a good position to stop the opposing offense from putting any points on the board.

Facing the same team that ended their 2019 season, the football team put behind any thoughts of the past and got its revenge against Chaffey with a commanding performance. Senior quarterback Ricky Murillo threw for 238 yards and three touchdowns, with Love on the receiving end of two scores. Although Chaffey’s rushing core ran nearly three times the amount of yards that CHS did, no rushing yards resulted in points, and the defense held the opposing quarterback to a mere 10 passing yards. After realizing that there was no path to victory by the end of the 4th quarter, Chaffey tried to spoil CHS’s shutout streak, but they fumbled the ball and it was returned for a touchdown to put CHS up 38-0.

Hearing the final whistle that game was a moment of pure, unadulterated bliss for the players and coaches, who could now celebrate after a long, complicated, and hard-fought season. They exceeded the expectations of many, including CHS students. CHS football were once again league champions.

Unfortunately, the team was not able to show their full potential due to not being able to play in the CIF playoff games.

“Yeah, I’m sad for those guys that they didn’t get a chance to play for a CIF championship, because I think if we had had playoffs, you know, we could’ve made some noise in those playoffs that I would have loved to see,” Hile said.

Preparation for the next season is right around the corner, with the players already back in the weight room since last Monday. For Hile, the compressed schedule is a bit frustrating, but until then, the players and coaches have some time, as little as it may be, to enjoy the fruits of a well-deserved championship season.