The Rise to the Top – El Diamante

It’s Redwood week. It’s the most hyped up game of the entire season, and arguably the most important. No matter the records, stats, or how each time is playing; all cards are off in this game. No one cares about prior matchups, and no one cares about how the season is currently going. One team could be could be undefeated and the other could be winless, and this game will still be among the most hyped and intense out of all the games on the schedule.

Last year’s game went down as one of the most signature wins in the history of El D football. The Miners defended their own home turf and knocked off the undefeated Redwood Rangers 19-9. Dominance from the defense, and just enough from the offense opened the door for the Miners to shock the Central Valley, and that’s exactly what happened.

This year’s game, however, doesn’t stand as an opportunity for the Miners to slay a WYL giant. The Rangers aren’t undefeated, as a matter of fact, they are far from it at 4-3. They sit behind El Diamante in the WYL standings, just like everyone else. The Miners hold a half-game lead on the Lemoore Tigers to stand atop the WYL standings. Right behind Lemoore are the Redwood Rangers. And just like I predicted in previous weeks, the Miners are entering this game right where they want to be.

Not only do the Miners have a 5 game winning streak against Redwood under their belt, they’ve resurrected their season and are barreling into this game with an endless amount of momentum. So that’s not one, but two, key factors that the Miners can turn into serious confidence. They demolished Hanford West last week 54-13, moving their WYL record up to 3-0. The battery the Miners are putting on the field every week has had some changes made to it as well. Standout players such as Jake Garbani, Curtis Robert, Jayvon Hightower, and Jared Torres are now making plays on both sides of the ball. Robert and Hightower now anchor the Miner secondary. Jared Torres, who stands at least 6’5, is now producing as a Tight End. And Jake Garbani is now serving as the lead blocker for DeVontae Freeman at Fullback. But Garbani isn’t just providing a threat as a lead blocker, he’s bulldozing through opposing defense with the ball in his hands. He’s quietly become a big threat with the pigskin in his hands, especially in short-yardage situations. Garbani scored multiple touchdowns against Hanford West. Although stats aren’t provided for El Diamante, it wouldn’t shock me at all if Garbani has become the team’s leading scorer in the short amount of time he’s been in the backfield.

Like every other game the Miners have played this year, they’re going to have be the most physical to win the game. The one thing this rivalry series has proved is that talent means absolutely nothing. The Rangers were loaded with talent last year and the Miner defense still bullied the Ranger attack. That’s been the story for the past 5 years, and the Green Sea would absolutely love to add another tally to the streak. Even if this season was a lost cause, which it very much isn’t, the Miners would still walk into this game guns-a-blazing. It will be a playoff atmosphere regardless. But the one thing that has been noted by everyone in the WYL is that the El Diamante Miners are red hot. They have proven that they are a legitimate contender throughout all of Division II. Friday night will be another great opportunity for the Miners to turn more heads.


Twitter: @Chandler7Lucas | Read all of his articles HERE.

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