CHS Football falls to Upland High in CIF Playoff game


Facing the combined obstacles of a strong adversary, poor air quality and an evacuation resulting in the absence of their entire fanbase, the CHS Varsity football team lost to Upland High School on November 16, leaving them with a final record 10-3. record after a 30-21 loss to Upland High School on November 16.

Leading up to this playoff game, Upland had a 10-2 record, only having lost one game while playing on the road this entire season. Their impressive record, which is further demonstrated by their reputation as a tough competitor in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), combined with the CHS coaches’ play-calling and the empty stands, CHS Football was titled the underdog.

The Coyotes began to struggle after not converting on fourth-down in the first-half in a short yardage situation. Even so, Calabasas entered the fourth quarter with a 10-point lead but was unfortunately unable to capitalize due to the coaches’ calls in the final few minutes of the game including two key fourth downs that were not converted. Upland took advantage of these costly plays, allowing them to steal and hold the lead until the clock ran out. According to the Ventura County Star’s Jacob H. Pollon, Head Coach Chris Claiborne criticised his decisions on the field after the defeat.

“We like our chances in short fourth-down situations,” said Claiborne. “It’s not on the kids. [The coaches] decided to go for it. It’s on me. It’s not the kids’ fault.”

Beside the coaches’ calls, many Varsity players believe a secondary reason for their defeat was the lack of a student presence. CHS football players voiced their disappointment with the empty stands, especially during games of such importance. Given the circumstances around the displacement of families due to the Woolsey Fire though, the lack of attendance at this particular game was entirely justified; however, few people did not agree with this justification.

“With the fire and trouble our community has dealt with, the game seemed like an opportunity to unite together as one,” said junior and varsity football player Guy Rushinek. “As a player, you look up and notice more fans from the other school than your own, and it’s sad to see the lack of support our school has for such a talented championship caliber football team.”

With many players from this year returning for the 2019 season, Calabasas will continue to have a great chance of winning yet another impressive title next year. Standout wide receivers Jermaine Burton and Johnny Wilson, two of many key players in the Coyotes’ successful season, will hopefully up their game even more in the following year, ensuring a stronger football program. More star-athletes like Quarterback and future Fresno State Bulldog Jaden Casey will also hopefully lead the Coyotto to additional victories next year. Even though this year was capped off in the midst of a crisis that left Calabasas in shamble, the future remains bright for the Calabasas Football Program.