The politically correct thing to say would be that Friday night at Indio High pitted a pair of “modest” football teams.
More bluntly stated: The Cathedral City at Indio contest offered a real time display of struggling squads with one combined win on the season.
Yet the hunger to achieve was evident on both sides, as the visiting Lions battled back from an early 14-0 deficit to snap a 10-game losing streak dating to last season with a 17-14 victory in the game’s waning moments.
Down 14-10 with 90 seconds to play and facing a desperation 4th-and-8 from the Rajahs’ 18 yard line, junior tight end Alan Lezama made an incredible leaping catch over a host of goal-line defenders to grab what would prove the winning score. The TD was the first of Lezama’s varsity career.
“To be brutally honest, when we’ve been down 14-0 we’ve had a tendency to keep rolling in the opposite direction,” said Lions’ head coach Richard Lee. “We haven’t done enough things correctly to play solid football and make up for those deficits. So it’s nice to come back in a game and our defense really stepped it up.”
After yielding scores on Indio’s first two possessions of the night, Cathedral City’s defense found some roar.
“When we started shutting them down defensively, it changed the game for us,” added Lee.
Indio made a last minute charge down to the Lions’ 23-yard line before the game was sealed by an interception by Cathedral City’s Jose Hernandez with 22 seconds left to play.
Star of the Game
Lezama: His lone catch of the night on a seam route down the middle will go down among the highlights of the entire DVL season.
“Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever jumped that high in my life,” Lezama beamed after the win.
Added his coach: “It’s funny,’ smiled Lee. “I was teasing him because in practice he drops a lot of easy balls, and then he makes a spectacular catch and gets in the end zone.”
Sean Cunningham: Indio’s senior back led all rushers with 112 yards on the night. On the second play of the evening, Cunningham appeared to set the tone for Indio’s Homecoming with a 57-yard dash deep into Lions’ territory, followed by his 1-yard touchdown run.
Stats, facts, notes
Not many Lions fans saw the fine comeback effort. A second quarter tally from the press box view revealed just 61 spectators on the visitors side.
Cathedral City (1-8, 1-4 DVL) has a bye week before hosting conference-leading Palm Springs (8-0, 4-0) in its season finale on Nov. 6, while Indio (1-7, 0-4 DVL) visits Palm Springs next Friday at 7 p.m.