It was almost a perfect night for the Selma football team on Friday, Oct. 21.
The student section was packed, the homecoming festivities electrified the crowd and the Bears stayed undefeated with a 46-8 rout against Immanuel, leaving them 8-0. The only problem? The Bears racked up five penalties for 50 yards in the first half.
Especially in the first quarter, the Bears had a stretch of three consecutive penalties, including a pass interference that gave Immanuel a first-down. A 97-yard kick return by Tiveon Stroud was also negated in the first half after the Bears were called for holding.
"We were the better team tonight, so it didn't cost us, but when we go into playoff games and big games with Exeter and Kingsburg coming up, we have to clean up those mistakes," Selma Head Coach Matt Logue said. "At times, it was just a lack of focus. When you get tired, your mind shuts off on you. You have to stay focused and pay attention to the little things."
Logue said he doesn't expect a perfect game in high school football, but he hopes the team can avoid mistakes in critical moments.
"It's about understanding in key situations that you have to avoid the penalties," Logue said. "You're going to get penalties. You're going to have things happen, but when you're on the goal line, you can't get a false-start penalty, which we did last week against Dinuba. It's those key moments when we have to be completely dialed in."
Particularly on homecoming night, when there are many activities outside of football, Logue reminds the players to stay focused.
"It's great for homecoming. Everyone likes it, but it's just one of those things where you worry about the focus," Logue said. "They're all watching everything else. It's hard and it drives me crazy. I had to get on a couple of them for dancing on the homecoming float, but they're high school kids. They like to do silly things."
With wins against Central Valley Christian, Dinuba and Immanuel, the Bears wrapped up a three-game home stretch. Now, they hit the road to face Exeter on Oct. 28.
"It has been really nice to get in front of our fans, and our kids really seem to play with a lot of emotion and energy here," Logue said.
After Exeter, the Bears will wrap up the regular season with another road game against Kingsburg on Nov. 4.
"Now, we have to go on the road for two and hopefully we can handle business and get some home playoff games," Logue said.
"Our parents will come on the road and they're going to bring the atmosphere with them and we just have to bring it with us too," senior Rudy Rodriguez said.
In the win against Immanuel, Rodriguez led the way with two touchdowns. Tiveon Stroud, Jordan Dominguez, Jordan Dominguez and Sergio Pena each scored a touchdown for Selma. Bears' senior Joel Aranda snagged an interception in the second half.
"Offensively, we had a lot of guys make plays. A lot of different guys scored touchdowns, a lot of guys got touches," Logue said. "Defensively, I thought we executed our game plan pretty well against the option. We limited the run game and pass game."