Season Over, West Ranch Falls to Upland 21-28

Patrick Grant, Sports Writer

Season Over, West Ranch Falls to Upland 21-28 


The Wildcats inspiring season came to end on Friday night with a 21-28 loss in overtime to the Upland Scots. But despite a tough defeat, West Ranch can still hang their heads high knowing they exceeded preseason expectations by a mile. 


West Ranch dominated the first half and left the second quarter with a firm 14-0 lead. The Wildcat defense had made life difficult for Upland’s quarterback Noah Sandavol, the pass rush generated enough pressure to force Sandavol into making some poor decisions with the football. Upland realized they needed a spark offensively when Sandavol threw his second interception of the half, and the Scots went to the locker room down 14 points. 


Upland came out of the break with a new strategy: the running game. The Scots motto is “pound the rock” and they did just that. Noah Sandavol took the backseat as he continued to hand the ball off to Upland’s star running back Ricky Allen.  


The “pounding of the rock” was just too much for West Ranch, who went from dominating the line of scrimmage to being frequently gashed on the ground. Upland chained together several drives, all resulting in touchdowns. West Ranch’s momentum had vanished, and now they were staring at the scoreboard to see them losing 14-21. 


With 3:21 left in the game, West Ranch got the ball back with an opportunity to drive down the field and score a must needed touchdown to tie the game. Luckily, the ball was in the hands of the senior gunslinger Ryan Staub, and he led the West Ranch offense down the field with precision and cashed in for a touchdown with a wide open pass to Brady Van Bennekum in the endzone. 


The West Ranch fans all breathed a sigh of relief, but then tensed up again when they realized that this game was far from finished. It was going to go into overtime.


Upland won the coin toss, and immediately handed the ball off to Ricky Allen, who surged his way through an exhausted West Ranch defense for another touchdown. 21-28. West Ranch must respond.


The offense gathered on the field and broke a quick huddle. This team had been through everything together, and now it was time to win one more game.


Ryan Staub took the snap and dropped back to pass. He saw a man downfield and floated a pass that was just a little short of the intended receiver. 


His pass was intercepted by Upland’s Trestin Castro, which sealed the game and a defeat for the West Ranch Wildcats. 


Despite the heartbreaking loss, West Ranch will come home knowing that they had just finished the most successful season in school history, and that this roster will go down in infamy as one of the best that the Foothill League has ever sported. 


The student body is proud of what this team has accomplished on the football field, and Coach Varner and his group of players has brought us glory. After all, we did dominate the league with a 10-0 record.


But sadly, this is the end of the road for many of West Ranch’s top senior playmakers. Ryan Staub and a plethora of his top receiving targets will be gone next year. Guys like Chaz Hilst, Maverick Diaz and Isaac Ellis won’t be catching any receptions. Defensive stalwarts like Connor Reyes, Brady Van Bennekum and Tyler Jones won’t be suiting up. 


It’s an interesting situation for the Wildcats. The team will begin a new era next year, with an entirely new offense and most importantly, a new man under center. But no matter what happens, West Ranch has a loyal and passionate fan base that will continue to support this team forever. Congratulations on this season, it has been fun!