“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that,” Bill Shankly.
Bill Shankly might have played an entirely different type of football in another country, but the Irish soccer legend’s words ring true in my ears after witnessing the opening game of Palomar’s football season.
One of the most memorable moments of the game was during a kick off, when a fan somewhere behind me shouted, “Kill them!” as the ball flew through the air.
I almost wanted to find this man, and ask him why he felt so passionately about the game that those words were his only way of expressing his emotion.
But in reality, it’s football: the modern gladiators game, where a crushing tackle is cheered on as much as a touchdown pass.
The men on the field are giants, behemoths, the heroes in a battle of willpower and determination, chasing victory at all costs.
And damn, does it feel good when you win.
A win is exactly how Palomar’s football team started off the season in their opening game against Southwestern on September 2. in a high scoring display, ending 38-31.
Talking with co-defensive tackles, Anthiony Zuniga and Nick Zimmerman after the game, it was clear how important the win was to them.
“I’m relieved we were able to win this year after losing to them last year,” Zuniga said.
The pair of big men epitomize this year’s football. Returning sophomores, the chemistry and energy between the two is obvious all the way up in the stands. Pumping each other up on the sideline, working together to break down the offensive line, and setting an example to the newer players on the team.
This is a team filled with veterans ready to right the wrongs of last season.
Palomar’s quarterback Matt Romero, returning after being named a second team PCAC offensive player last year, was immaculate in his opening display. Throwing for 368 yards and four touchdowns as well as running in a 15-yard touchdown to commence the scoring.
With Romero at the helm, the offense is currently running smoother than a Cadillac. I can’t see any reason why Palomar might have trouble scoring with all the weapons they have at their disposal.
Aside from the stellar opening performance, the defensive fouls were definitely a concern throughout the game.
Against a Southwestern offense that could only manage a 35% third down conversion rate, Palomar gave up 17 fouls for 160
yards. The score might have been closer to 38-14 if Palomar had not given so many of Southwestern’s drives a second chance.
For a defense that was able to play so well throughout the night, the fouls were very disappointing.
But if you ask any athlete or competitor, winning is all that really matters. A loss can give you positives to pull from a game, but without the win, it doesn’t really mean much in all honesty. And we got the win.
All I have to say is: thank God football is back.