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Delhi claims first league win over TC
Delhi pic1
Joel Cantu shakes an Eagle tackler during the first half of Delhis 64-7 victory Friday night. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

Delhi High climbed into the Southern League winner’s column and snapped a five-game losing streak Friday night as it defeated Turlock Christian High, 64-7, in the Eagles’ homecoming away from home at McSweeney field in Hilmar.

The Hawks (1-5 SL, 4-5 Overall) inflicted its damage on the ground—finishing the game with no passing attempts—pounding the rock against the Eagles with the help of quarterback Garret Thomas and running back Joel Cantu.

“It feels good to snap the losing streak, get us a league victory, but it’s kind of bitter sweet. You know I wanted it to be more of a struggle,” Delhi head coach Rod McCombs said. “I didn’t want it to come so easy for our team, we had, to be honest with you, a pretty flat week of practice, and then they come out here and have this kind of an outcome; it’s a bitter sweet victory.”

Delhi jumped out to a 40-0 first half lead as Thomas notched the first two offensive touchdowns with scrambles from 26 and 84 yards out, respectively. Reinaldo Medina capped off the first quarter with a 43 yard touchdown dash before a pair of Cantu scores in the second quarter and another Thomas touchdown from two yards out made it 47-7 at the half.

“I thought we were going to dominate more on the passing, but their defense wasn’t expecting that run, so we kept going to the outside,” Thomas said.

TC struggled on both sides of the ball as its defense displayed poor tackling and its offense failed to gain traction, but the Eagles (0-6 SL, 0-9 Overall) were finally able to score in the second quarter when a pair of Malik Portillo rushes—35 and 40 yard gains—set them up inches away from the goal line where Portillo punched it in.

On the defensive side, Cantu shored up the edges to limit Portillo’s speed while Sergio Hernandez and Jose Martinez plugged the middle. Jesus Soto came up big with a 35 yard interception return in the first quarter while Hernandez recovered a fumble in the second quarter.

Delhi continued its dominance as it scored on its first possession of the second half on a Renee Guerra three yard touchdown before Hernandez recovered his second fumble of the game to set up a Jose Davalos QB sneak from the one yard line. Fernando Nuno hit a 22 yard field goal in the fourth quarter to end the Hawks’ scoring frenzy.

Thomas finished the game with 112 rushing yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half, while Cantu racked up 130 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half as well. The Hawks finished the game with 406 total yards, 354 of which came in the first half.

“He has done everything that we’ve expected him to do this year,” McCombs said of Thomas. “What we’re looking for is for him to provide a little more vocal leadership. We know he has all of the athletic ability in the world, everything we need at that position, we just need him to be able to pull them along and get them to the level that he is currently playing at.”

TC was held to 126 first half yards, 85 of which came from Portillo alone.

Delhi must now prepare for next Friday’s homecoming game against Denair High as both teams look to end the season with a second SL victory. TC will finish its season against Waterford High.

“They’ve got a decent team, they’re just going against the same teams we are,” McCombs said.  “I believe it’s going to be a pretty even match up and I want our guys to be focused and not take Denair lightly or expect Denair to be the same kind of team we played here tonight.”

“We got to keep that momentum going,” Thomas said. “We got a win, it was a good win, but we got a better team next week so we got to keep working hard.”