During their first Sunkist League football game of the season, the Kaiser Cats had some difficulties offensively, but the team's defense came through in a big way.
After trailing 7-6 at halftime, the undefeated Cats roared back with a strong second-half performance to claim a 35-7 victory over Grand Terrace on Oct. 4.
Kaiser clinched the game in the fourth quarter by scoring two touchdowns on fumble recoveries, one by defensive end Matthew Lua and another by linebacker Gabriel Ortiz.
Thus the Cats raised their record to 6-0 and extended their winning streak in regular season action to 14 straight games over the past two years.
"I don't think we played very well, especially in the first half," said coach Bill Cardosi. "We made too many mistakes. But this team has desire. They respond, they believe, they have heart."
Cardosi was particularly pleased with the effort shown by the defensive players and their coaches. "Our defense was lights out, bottom line," he said.
At the start of the third period, the Cats stormed in for two touchdowns by quarterback Trevian Tribble to take the lead for good.
"The first half was kind of slow, but we picked it up in the second half," Tribble said. "The halftime speech that coach always gives us motivated us to do what we've got to do."
Cardosi said that by utilizing the wing-T offense, the Cats were able to overcome the obstacles created by Grand Terrace.
"Our power stuff wasn't working, but our wing-T stuff went, and went quick," he said. "We went from down 7-6 to up 21-7 real quick, and then the defense did the rest."
Grand Terrace threatened to come back by driving into Kaiser territory in the final period. But a high snap was bobbled by the quarterback, and Lua alertly picked up the football and raced 76 yards untouched to the end zone.
A few minutes later, the visitors fumbled again, and Ortiz took the ball 35 yards to paydirt.
Tribble ended up completing 9 of 14 passes for 118 yards, and he also rushed 9 times for 89 yards and 3 TDs. Ortiz gained 77 yards in 14 carries and Dustin Chaidez accumulated 71 yards in 12 carries.
Chaidez caught 3 passes for 24 yards, Nate Bedolla had 2 receptions for 49 yards, Josiah Finnell had 2 catches for 32 yards, and Joseph Glenn had 2 catches for 13 yards.
Glenn was 3-for-3 on PAT attempts and Tribble had a 2-point conversion run.
While on defense, Finnell intercepted a pass and Chaidez had 2 sacks. Pablo Almeda, Avery Taylor, and Zackary Bradley each had 1 sack.
Bradley made 6 solo tackles and 2 assisted tackles. Ortiz had 5 tackles and 2 assists, Chaidez had 3 tackles and 5 assists, Bedolla had 3 tackles and 2 assists, Almeda had 3 tackles and 1 assist, Lua had 2 tackles and 4 assists, and Taylor had 1 tackle and 6 assists.
Kaiser's next game will be at home on Friday, Oct. 11 against Fontana High School.