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Hawks battle Eagles for homecoming victory
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Delhis Joel Cantu runs off tackle and behind a lead blocker in the first quarter of Fridays homecoming game against Turlock Christian. - photo by ANDREW GRAHAM / The Journal

Delhi hosted Turlock Christian High Friday night for the Hawks' homecoming game.

TC entered the game with a five game losing streak after falling 39-18 to Denair last week. Delhi was also looking to end their two game losing streak after a tough 35-0 loss to Mariposa County last Friday, in which they lost their star full back Ryan Saaverda to a knee injury. Saaverda had an MRI on Wednesday and is still waiting on the results. Nonetheless, he was sidelined for Friday's game.

Delhi knew that they were going to have to key on TC running back Malik Portillo and force Gonzalez to throw the ball, and they did just that.

TC won the coin toss and elected to receive to start the game. They put together an impressive first drive that highlighted a 43 yard run by Portillo who was brought down just short of the goal line. The Hawks defense put up a fight stopping the Eagles on three plays, but quarterback Chase Gonzalez punched it in on fourth down for the first score of the night.

Delhi was quick to answer back on the subsequent drive with a touchdown run by quarterback Garret Thomas, who scrambled out of the pocket looking for an open receiver before tucking the ball and heading up field 40 yards into the end zone. After a blocked extra point attempt, the score was locked up at 6-6.

The Eagles were forced to punt on their next drive and Delhi took full advantage of it putting together an eight play drive covering 66 yards that ended in a 21 yard touchdown run by running back Joseph Cantu. This time the extra point attempt was a success and the Hawks led 14-6.

Gonzalez showed off his arm with a 65 yard touchdown pass in the next drive but with a failed two point conversion, Delhi held onto the lead 14-12.

A pair of Cantu runs, 18 and 34 yards respectively, increased the Delhi lead to 21-12 with 8:07 left in the half.

TC was working to cut the lead as Portillo picked up 25 yards on four carries, but a holding call and a late hit against the Eagles put them way out of reach of converting and were forced to punt again.

The clear shift in momentum came on the play immediately following the punt when Cantu took the ball up the middle breaking tackle after tackle and finally cutting free for a 70 yard touchdown run.

Now down by more than two touchdowns, the Eagles looked to the arm of Gonzalez to give them a chance but his pass fell into the hands of Cantu’s younger brother Joel for the interception. TC, however, managed to get the ball back and put their faith in the arm of Gonzalez once again. This time the passing game seemed promising as he completed four passes for a total of 32 yards. With a flag thrown against Delhi for roughing the passer, TC found itself on the Hawks 24 yard line with 00:15 left in the half, only for Gonzalez’s next pass to land in the hands of Cantu once again for his second interception of the night. Delhi took a knee as the clock expired and both teams headed to the locker room.

The third quarter was back and forth without either team scoring until TC found pay dirt with 5:07 left in the quarter on a seven yard pass from Gonzalez to wide receiver, Josh Wright. The two point attempt was no good and the Eagles cut the Delhi lead to 27-18.

Cantu was back at it again in the beginning of the fourth quarter with a 59 yard run to the house with 11:44 remaining in the game. Cantu was at a solid 286 yards of total offense after that carry.

The final score was not available by press time. See Wednesday’s issue for the results of the game.