Brighton football remains undefeatedSep 23, 2020 01:37PM ● By Tavia Dutson
Brighton offense breaks from a huddle in the first quarter of their win against Fremont on Aug. 14. (Photo courtesy Christine Yee)
By Tavia Dutson | [email protected]
Brighton football is off to a great start this season, despite a summer filled with uncertainty. While some teams spent the summer unmotivated due to the lack of a clear season ahead, the Bengal teammates kept driving each other to improve.
“We all kept in touch, making sure we were lifting, getting in shape and then staying in shape,” said quarterback Gabe Curtis. “It really comes down to how bad we wanted to win and how far we wanted to go this year.”
Second year head coach Justin Hemm cites experience as a key factor in the team’s preparation for this fall. With 15 returning starters and a full senior class of 32, this year’s team has completely bought into Hemm’s process.
“Last year, we were a younger team—new coaches, new system, new everything. But now to have all these guys returning, the standards and expectations are higher.”
Although they have ample reason to celebrate, the Bengals are not yet satisfied with their 2020 season. Hemm wants the team to take it week by week, focusing on the challenge each Friday night throws at them.
“We focus on the job at hand. We have had some road trips and have been able to take care of business there. We’ve done it here as well. Each week is going to get tougher, more difficult,” said Hemm at an afternoon practice before region play had begun.
But the Bengals have shown that they can attack these challenges head on. They were given the tough job of facing the Olympus Titans on their turf to open region play. The Titans were last year’s region champs and the only team to beat the Bengals at home in 2019. Despite their history, Curtis approached the game with calm, confident excitement.
“It’s the game that has been marked on my calendar since we lost to them last fall. I’m pretty sure I can speak for the team in saying that we are looking forward to it. We aren’t underestimating them, and we are going out there with a chip on our shoulder,” Curtis said.
Their determination proved to be the deciding factor in that game. With the Titans answering each Brighton touchdown with their own, the teams went into the locker room at halftime tied 14-14. In the last minute of the third quarter, Mason Young was able to dive into the endzone for his second touchdown of the night.
Brighton’s seasoned defense was able to hold off every drive the Titans came at them with. The game was decided in a fourth quarter interception by Brighton’s Israel Moeai.
With the team and individual players receiving statewide praise for this, the team is trying to keep that passion going.
“It’s fun, the boys deserve the recognition. It’s cool to see their hard work pay off, but at the end of the day there’s a lot that can change from here until the playoffs,” said Hemm.