The Rivalry Adds a New Chapter


Bay Area News Group

Monte Vista High football player Nate Rutchena (8) is loaded into an ambulance after being injured in the fourth quarter of their football game against San Ramon Valley High in Danville, Calif., on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. San Ramon Valley High’s Jacob Himan (4) was also injured on the play and transported to the hospital. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

Anthony Santa Maria, News Editor & Social Media Manager

One of the most historic high school football rivalries in all of the Bay Area resumed last month, but not without drama.
Monte Vista welcomed in cross-town rival, San Ramon Valley, on Oct. 26. The Mustangs entered the game with a seven-win and one-loss record and sat in second place in the Mountain Division of the East Bay Athletic League. San Ramon entered the game with a five-win and four-loss record and was in third place in the Mountain Division of the East Bay Athletic League.
The game started slowly as both defenses limited the production of the offense. The Wolves struck first as they put three points on the board with a field goal in the first quarter. SRV would keep that momentum going as they scored a touchdown late in the second quarter to increase their lead to 10-0 going into halftime.
The Mustangs would strike back, though, early in the second half. The MV defense forced a San Ramon punt on their opening drive of the third quarter. The punt was mere 60 yarders to MV return man, junior, Jacob Oliphant. He received the ball at his own 10-yard line and went 90 yards to put MV on board and put the score at 10-7.
The return for a touchdown was the first for MV football in the rivalry game ever. It was also the first returned punt for a touchdown since the 2008 season for the Mustangs.
The rest of the third quarter was scoreless as both defenses settle into a groove and made it very difficult for either offense.
MV came out in the fourth quarter striking as they went from their own 18-yard line to the Wolves 20-yard line, which resulted in a Micah Hertz field goal. The field goal tied the game up at 10 apiece with 9:45 left in the game.
The game would be tied at 10 for most of the fourth quarter, but a massive collision on the field halted the game for more than a half-hour.
With 2:40 left in the fourth quarter, San Ramon had a 2nd & 4 at their own 40-yard line. SR called a run play to the right and gave it to their running back, Jacob Himan. MV star-player, junior Nate Rutchena, filled the hole and made a clean tackle. Both players went down and failed to get up.
“I remember playing and seeing the running back and I just filled the gap like any other play,” Rutchena said. “We just hit each other and then I saw black and white lights and I couldn’t move and I heard a ringing noise, a minute or two later I woke up and saw the trainer and the coaches standing around me.”
The training/medical staffs of both teams rushed onto the field almost immediately as players from both teams signaled to them. The response of both teams players was visible to the crowd as both sides went to the ground in a kneel and many players put their head to the ground in disbelief.
The two players stayed on the ground for more than 20 minutes and two ambulances arrived and drove onto the field. Himan was stretchered off first and put into one of the ambulances and gave the crowd a thumbs up. Rutchena would be put was put on a stretcher and put into the back of the ambulance shortly thereafter.
It was released that both players were recovering and doing much better later that night. It was announced that Himan broke his collarbone and will be out indefinitely for the rest of the year. Rutchena got a concussion and Rutchena is questionable for the next game.
“I am feeling a lot better since the game,” Rutchena said.
The rivalry was put on halt for more than 30-minutes and energy in the crowd had almost completely vanished.
“The energy was completely taken out of the crowd,” junior Cameron Roth said. “I felt a bit freaked out. I just hoped that they’d be okay.”
The game did resume after referees met with both players and coaches from both teams. San Ramon resumed their previous drive from the spot of the collision. They would take it down the field and score with just 38 seconds remaining in the game and took the 17-10 lead. A final second hail mary from the Mustangs was incomplete and resulted in a San Ramon Valley win.
With the win, the Wolves moved to 6-4 on the year, and the loss moved the Mustangs to 7-3. Both teams were projected to make the NCS playoffs and did. San Ramon earned the four-seed in the Division-1 bracket and Monte Vista earned the five-seed. Both teams also earned a bye and are set to play each other once again the second round of the NCS playoffs. The game will take place on Saturday, Nov. 10 and will be at San Ramon Valley.

*** Due to the ongoing Camp Fire in Northern California the Monte Vista v. San Ramon NCS football game will be played on November 17 NOT November 10 or November 12.