By Kevin Parada, Staff Writer
Verbum Dei will play St. Pius X – St. Matthias Academy on January 8, at their rival’s home field, 7851 Gardendale Street, Downey, CA. The times are yet to be determined with both junior varsity and varsity playing on the same day. The rivalry between the two teams has been simmering since the last time the teams competed. Verb beat PMA two years ago in both games, and last year PMA won both games making them league champs and Verb took second in league while playing at home.
PMA has obtained over the years some of the Eagles valuable players including Daniel Avina, who played left back in for the VDHS varsity team, before transferring to the rival school. The games are very physical as well with words being exchanged between the players. Additionally, the jam-packed stadium makes the players lose focus; they can feel what the big leagues go through and their dreams of playing pro are fulfilled during those 90+ minutes.
“We expect to continue to be reigning league champs and go undefeated in league for the second year and break the PMA 2nd round curse in the playoff,” stated Victor Silva, the captain of the PMA team. “The game itself is special: the game can either make us or break us, it can reveal many things. There’s no greater feeling than going on the pitch and playing with your brothers especially when they all got the same determination to win even though we show envy at times.”
The VDHS squad has its eyes set on a league championship, and this game is just part of that season long road.
“I will take this game like a regular game as they all are for the final goal we want, which is winning league as well as CIF,” senior and Captain Justin Funez said.
“I was impressed by the amazing show of perseverance during these two teams’ last meeting,” said John Stradley, VDHS English teacher. “The teams played in a torrential downpour for the entire game, yet the weather did not dampen their spirits or their enthusiasm.”
A tragedy occured in this game: Jose Guiterrez, a VDHS junior at that time and varsity goalie, shattered his fibula in a bad dive on the slick turf. This injury put him on the disabled list for one year.
“I will finally be able to finish the game that took me out, and I will prove what I still have left in me after my injury,” said Guiterrez.
The whole Verb campus was sad as the Varsity players played their hearts out and lost the game to tie for champions. The fans applauded their efforts as the team headed to the locker room with their heads down while PMA fans cheered with joy in the victory won at home. The Eagles’ revenge will be sought January 8, and this time it will take place on PMA’s campus.