Farmersville and Exeter played in the 10th annual Chuy Cup to honor former coach, teacher Jesus “Chuy” Banuelos
FARMERSVILLE – For the past 10 seasons, Exeter and Farmersville have competed in a preseason matchup that is less about the result and more about the recognition of a man who touched both communities.
Last Tuesday, both teams played in the 10th annual match known as the Chuy Cup, which is played in honor of Jesus “Chuy” Banuelos who died in February 2011.
Banuelos was a former coach and teacher in Exeter but was born in Farmersville. Exeter head coach Pete Renteria played and coached under Banuelos before succeeding him as head coach shortly after his death. Renteria, along with Farmersville head coach Michael Jordan, started the annual tradition in December 2011.
The Aztecs have come out on top in nine of the 10 meetings, including a 4-1-win last week. It was the first game of the season where Farmersville fans were allowed in-person. After the game, both teams normally gather to hold hands, pray in honor of Chuy, and the winning team is presented with the trophy. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, both teams decided to still have a short ceremony but kept their distance.
“I know Chuy was proud to see kids out there on the pitch,” Renteria said. “Especially after COVID-19, I know he was looking down saying ‘I don’t care win, lose or draw just go out there and compete.’”
Exeter had their chances to score early in the match and put the pressure on Farmersville, but were unable to capitalize. As a result, they went in halftime trailing 3-0. The Aztecs were struggling with injuries, so they’ve been focusing on getting their reserves more playing time. It paid off as two juniors off the bench, Miguel Mejia and Irvin Espinoza, took advantage of their extended time as Espinoza assisted Mejia on a goal.
According to Jordan, the coolest part about the goal was the bolt of excitement that traveled throughout the team, specifically from the starters on the bench who were ecstatic for their teammates. The other three goals were scored by Efrain Castro, Felix Zarate and Isaac Valtierra. The two teams tied the second half with Exeter’s lone goal coming off the leg of Miguel Lara.
The Aztecs are now 5-2 and began league play last night against Sierra Pacific which began after press time. They’ve been dominant in their wins, outscoring opponents 20-2 with three shutouts. They lost 4-1 to Fowler despite scoring the game’s first goal and they also lost 3-2 to El Diamante.
After opening the season with back-to-back losses, the Monarchs finally put one in the win column last Thursday with a 4-0 victory over Woodlake. Due to a player being ejected following two yellow cards, Exeter played over half of the second period with one less player on the field than the Tigers. It didn’t matter as they were up 1-0 when that happened and they went on to score three more goals. Bennett Reser-Guerra scored two along with Lara and Ismael Rojas knocking in the other two.
According to Renteria, his team is still learning how to play together and figuring out their positioning on the field. Those weaknesses were exposed in their first two games as they were outscored 11-2, but that is largely why he opted to open the season against tough teams like Clovis and Farmersville. It is all in preparation for the tough Central Sequoia League which will begin next Thursday, April 8 against Central Valley Christian. Through those tough games, they have discovered their strengths which all came together in their first win of the season. They’ll have one more game to prepare for league play as they’ll host Golden West on Monday, April 5 at 4 p.m.