One play makes all the difference in the annual Capitol City Bowl


Aidan Lanchoney

The Varsity football team celebrates their win against cross town rival, Central, winning the Capital City Bowl.

Kani Miller, Senior Editor

High school football games can often come down to one play, one moment, one batted pass. Thunderbird football expects every player to step up and make that one big play. In one of the most exciting and intense games of the year, cornerback Kaleb Romero stepped up and did just that, batting down a pass at just the right moment to lock up a Thunderbird win over the Central Indians. 

“I just prepared like it was another game.” said Romero, “We just went into the week with the same mindset and goals as it would be any other game. We didn’t really think of it as a bigger game than any of our other games. We just thought of it as another game, even though it wasn’t hyped up to be that. It’s always East-Central, all that stuff, all that hype up to it, you know. But we couldn’t let any of that stuff get to us you know we just had to prepare like it was another game and play our East football.” 

While the Thunderbirds struck first, to take a 6-0 lead, the Indians quickly answered and held the lead for most of the game. East battled throughout the game and finally took a lead with 36 seconds remaining on a Cade Pugh 1-yard run. 

With three seconds left, and time for one final play from East’s 40-yard line, Indian quarterback Keagan Bartlett threw a pass to Nathanial Talich in the end zone. East’s Kaleb Romero knocked it out of Talich’s hands to secure the win and overcome a 14-point deficit. 

You know,” said Romero, “I was just thinking in my head, I can’t let them catch this ball on me, and I was covering one of the best receivers in the state. I saw Keegan Bartlet throw the ball my way, (and) he was obviously trying to get it to Talich. I just went up, knocked it out of his hands, and sealed the game for us.”  

Only after the block, did Romero realize and feel that he had just won the game for his team, East’s sixth straight victory over the Indians. 

“I felt amazing,” he continued. “That’s always so cool, especially in those big games. After that play, I think that’s when I came to the realization that, man, I just knocked the ball out of the hand of Central’s receiver to win the Capitol City Bowl. It was amazing. It was awesome.” 

Romero’s block keeps the Thunderbirds in the top ranks of 4A football with record of 6-1. Romero says the team treated this victory no differently than any other home game win, except for listening to some slow R&B music in the locker room.  

“After each win at home, we go to Buffalo Wild Wings, and we chow down some wings and have some good team bonding moments, and it’s always fun,” said Romero.