Pioneer football stuns Rangers in 66th Cowhide game

Former Ranger Alex Garza scores game wining touchdown in final minutes

VISALIA – When it comes to the Cowhide game, season records go out the window. It doesn’t matter which team is having the better season, an upset can happen on any given Friday night in the 66-year-old rivalry. In just their second win of the season, it was Mt. Whitney who pulled out the nail-biting victory last Friday as they defeated Redwood 13-7 following a late game winning touchdown run.

The win is Mt. Whitney’s 27th in the rivalry. The biggest play of the night came in the fourth quarter with 1:20 remaining, when Alex Garza ran down the middle of Redwood’s defense for a 40-yard Mt. Whitney touchdown. Later on, with 1:05 remaining, Redwood quarterback Francisco Alvarez fired a 40-yard pass to Moses Burk to put Redwood on the 6 yard line. The play was called back due to a false start by Redwood. The Rangers couldn’t repeat that same success, and Whitney would win the Hide back.

Mt. Whitney’s head coach Nathan Chamberlain feels that their key to success was their effort and attitude. Chamberlain says, “They never quit, they competed. So the three things: attitude, effort and compete.” Chamberlain would later add on that he believes their defense was a big reason for their win.

For Whitney, this was more than just a game. Jordan Meyst said, “It was like a dream come true. I’ve played with these seniors since I was in 7th grade and we’ve always dreamed of winning our senior year Cowhide. That dream became a reality.” Meyst added on that he respects the seniors at Redwood, but he made sure to fuel the rivalry further, using Redwood’s own words: “Try again in ’22.”

Rivalry games have always felt different, and this one was no different. Chris Zavala said, “Be about what you say, don’t underestimate a team because of their record because rivalry games are a whole different atmosphere of a game.” Zavala went on to say, “The feeling of [Whitney] being up and watching the clock countdown to all zeros was one hell of a thing to see knowing that [Whitney] had won the game.”

Chamberlain feels that this win was a long time coming. Chamberlain says, “Seniors, this was the second win for the sophomores that were on varsity.” Chamberlain added, “second win in three years, it’s pretty big.”

Redwood’s head coach Kevin Scharton feels that the reason they weren’t able to win is because they overlooked Mt. Whitney. “As far as us, we overlooked Mt. Whitney, on their capabilities of playing well.” Scharton would add, “We were definitely humbled,” Scharton said.

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