‘Blackout Game’ drops shadow on Yellowjacket Homecoming

Colton loses Homecoming matchup against their crosstown rivals 58-28


Referees call players from both Colton and Grand Terrace High to midfield to put an end to the excessive aggressive play near the end of the first quarter.

Colton, CA—The lights went out tonight in Colton after Grand Terrace’s Titans delivered the Yellowjackets a heartbreaking 58-28 Homecoming loss.

Players had just finished shaking hands in their traditional lines at mid-field. Fans on both sides were beginning to head for the exits. Coaches were just starting to the gather their players for the post-game summit.

Then the lights went out.

The only light remaining was the glaring teal neon letters Grand Terrace’s boosters erected atop the visitor’s bleachers spelling out “GTHS TITANS.”

Once the lights went out, chaos ensued for a short amount of time. Players stormed the field. Coaches called out for order. Security was called for by a number of people in the darkness.

The blackout resulted because the light timer at Memorial Stadium was set to expire at 10:00 p.m. The game, along with the halftime ceremony, clocked in at just under three hours.

That three hours, however, was marked by a contentious matchup between the crosstown rivals.

Colton took advantage early on a run by quarterback Gabriel Aparicio, who finished with three rushing touchdowns. On that opening drive, the Yellowjackets, whose offense had been held scoreless in the last two games, looked alive and primed to put a lot of points on the board.

However, Grand Terrace answered right back with a 93-yard kickoff return by freshman Exzavior Oliver. Combined with the two point conversion, the Titans took an 8-6 lead.

Aparicio and company took to the field and picked up where they left off. Grand Terrace’s defense struggled with their discipline, picking up a few unnecessary roughness and personal foul penalties that put the Yellowjackets into a position for another touchdown by Aparicio.

When Grand Terrace’s offense came back out, their run game came with them. Senior Zachery Vinzon continuously tore through the Yellowjacket defensive line, which eventually set up a 27-yard touchdown pass to put the Titans up 16-14.

However, by the end of the first quarter, which itself took nearly an hour to play, the referees had seen enough chippy behavior from the players, breaking up a number of skirmishes ending in cheap shots and trash talk. With :21 left on the clock, they called both teams for a huddle at mid-field to establish some ground rules for the rest of the game.

Colton’s edge began to dull as the game entered the second quarter. The Titans ran on them at will, and the score was 30-14 at the half.

The Yellowjackets showed more heart in the second half, but by then the damage had been done. Even when they closed the score to 44-28, on a touchdown run by Xavier Sandoval, Grand Terrace answered with an interception that led to a touchdown.

“We did a lot of things good tonight,” Coach Ray Rodriguez said after the game. “Unfortunately we did a lot more things badly.”

Losing this game against Grand Terrace put an end to Colton’s playoff hopes, dropping them to 4-5 on the season.

While the overall tone of the players at the end of the game was solemn and disappointed, the blackout game is a reminder of what this team can build upon going into next season.