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Giants varsity football overtakes rival Tam in an exciting last second finish VIDEO, PHOTOS & STORY BY MAX GILBERG

Following a 42-14 loss to Ukiah High School on Sept. 7, the Redwood varsity football team looked to defeat their rival, the Tam Red-tailed Hawks, in what was deemed the “Mt. Tam Game” on Sept. 15. Led by senior running back Alex Aguero, who finished with 25 carries for 233 and four touchdowns, and junior Matt Smalbach, who completed 18 of 27 passes for 226 yards and one touchdown, the Giants defeated Tam 38-31 in an exciting last second finish.

Giants hold helmets in the air during pre-game national anthem.

“We only beat them by one last year, so this was a big game… Tam was saying they were just as good as us, they were better than us, and we just had to come out and prove that last year wasn’t lucky and we’re the better team,” Aguero said.

The Hawks set the tempo early with a 80-yard touchdown on the first play of the game from senior running back Sam Uriarte. Tam further advanced their lead with 30 seconds to go in the first quarter with a rushing touchdown from junior Crewe Hutson, raising the score to 14-0.

Senior running back Alex Aguero, the county’s leading rusher, finished with 25 carries for 233 and four touchdowns.

However, Redwood slowly fought back as Aguero scored two crucial touchdowns in the second quarter followed by a two point conversion from junior Joey Calzaretta. Additionally, the Giants’ defense performed well, featuring interceptions from senior Cole Rehm and junior Rudy Washington, only allowing one touchdown from their Red-tailed opponents, making the score 21-14 entering the half.

The "Mt. Tam Game" champion trophy at stake.

“We really [had] to start off the game firing. [Tam] scored on the first play of the game and it was really tough, however, we weren't even phased. We know what we did wrong, but we knew that it was time to step up and even though they took that short lead to begin that didn’t stop us from coming back in the second half,” Calzaretta said.

Battling back and forth, Tam led the game 31-30 with two minutes and 43 seconds remaining after a clutch touchdown from senior Tam receiver Davion Black. However, the Giants regained control, driving down the field to Tam’s sixteen yard line with less than a minute left in the game. Running a sweep to the right side of the field, Aguero scored his fourth touchdown of the game, placing the Giants in a 38-31 lead after a successful two point attempt from Washington.

Junior Rudy Washington wears Redwood's turnover chain after catching a crucial interception.

Tam took over with 37.8 seconds remaining, hoping to even the deficit. However, after two successful pass completions, senior Sam Warren, the previous starting quarterback, intercepted the ball, securing the Giants a 38-31 victory over the Hawks.

Junior Joey Calzaretta looks to the sideline to confirm the play call for the next defensive play.
Junior wide receiver Luke McKernan played a crucial role and caught a clutch 7-yard touchdown pass that led the Giants to their victory.

“We can win and if we want it bad enough we will win. That has to do with practice and everyone going all out. Lately, everyone—line, defensive backs, linebackers, quarterbacks, running backs, receivers—[is] doing everything they can to succeed and I think if we keep succeeding the league will be ours,” Calzaretta said.

Redwood will next face Terra Linda at home on Saturday, Sept. 22, in their second league match of the year.

Senior Sam Warren, last years starting quarterback, caught five passes for 78 yards in his first game at receiver and intercepted a ball that sealed the game.
Junior Joey Calzaretta holds the "Mt. Tam Game" champions trophy after their victory.
Created By
Max Gilberg
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