Saturday night football goes Sandmen’s way as they improve to 7-0 with big win

LONE PINE – As the Trona Tornadoes football team exited the locker room shouldering a 36-6 lead, it was loud and excited to start the second half. Just next door, the Lone Pine Golden Eagles were walking out, their mood completely the opposite. 

Upon seeing their opponents leave in front of them, Trona head coach Curtis Boutte quickly stopped his team from moving and quieted them down. He waited until every Golden Eagle – player and coach – left the locker room before turning around and injecting more energy into the team. 

“It’s crazy,” Boutte said. “A lot of people would comment on certain things about me. But one thing I say is let’s treat people how we want to be treated. Lone Pine was there and doing their thing, so I didn’t want to interrupt it. And when they were done, we did our thing.”

And that thing continued in the second half, with the Sandmen nearly putting up the same amount of points, ultimately leaving with a 70-6 victory Saturday night. 

Since Immanuel Christian’s football team folded, Lone Pine has arguably been Trona’s most heated opponent. But there are times, such as the gesture coming back on the field or both teams praying together after the game, where sportsmanship comes first. 

“It’s kind of funny, because we love playing at Lone Pine,” Boutte said. “We love this field. My seniors have not lost on this field. It’s fitting sometimes when you show a team respect. This is their field, and that’s what we do. We let them have their moment, because they certainly weren’t getting it on that playing field.”

The three-hour-long game featured a bit of everything, starting when Trona quarterback Tyler Boutte connected with Chad Ramos for a 23-yard touchdown to light the scoreboard up. Ramos scored again when he carried the ball 34 yards to the end zone to put the Sandmen up 14-0.

Lone Pine quarterback Dylan Noland completed an 18-yard pass to Fernando Rodriguez to put the Golden Eagles within reach, 14-6, but then the Tornadoes came. 

Tyler Boutte connected with Kyle Harrison for 37 yards to go up 30-6. Noland was then taken down in his own end zone to give the Tornadoes two free points, and in their ensuing drive, Ramos rushed in a score from 15 yards out to put Trona up 28-6.

Harrison wasn’t finished, as he caught another Tyler Boutte offering for nearly the same amount of yards – this time 38 – to give the Tornadoes the advantage by six times as many points as Lone Pine.

“Our coaches are really good about letting us know what we do if they’re (the Golden Eagles) are playing up close on us like that,” Harrison said. “I’m confident enough that our line can block and get Tyler some time so I can run like that.”

Curtis Boutte credited his offensive coordinator Andy Ramos on the strength of the Tornadoes’ offense picking up, especially in the two long touchdown passes.

“He calls the play and makes it perfect. Every time we adjusted because they tried to put so many people on someone, they didn’t adjust with us. Kyle is quick, has senior leadership, made some awesome catches and ran the ball hard tonight. I’m really, really proud of him.” 

However, not all was jovial for the Sandmen. Late in the third quarter, senior lineman Christian Zamora, who also had carries from the backfield, was taken down with an ankle injury.

“Christian is a great player,” Curtis Boutte said. “You never want to see that with a player. But I never say what’s going to happen or what it is, but we will miss his leadership if he misses, and if he’s back, we’ll be happy to have him back. He does a lot of things for us defensively where a lot of people don’t see it because he’s inside. Offensively, we can put him at lineman or as a running back. He’s earned his right to play a full year, and I hope that it’s not a serious injury.”

The Tornadoes (7-0) will next have its Homecoming game against Frazier Mountain (0-6) on Friday at The Pit. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

“We have to be confident, but not over-confident to the point where we’re in over our heads,” Harrison said.