The 11 year drought against Ventura High has ended with 29-28 Bulldog victory


Eliana Hernandez

Varsity football players (left to right) Payton Hoff, Jackson Geier, Manny Mendez and Kaiden Brunkan pose for a photo holding up their victory trophy.

Eliana Hernandez and Madeline Marshall

Our Buena Bulldogs have rowed the boat all the way to winning the Suzanne Brown Memorial Cup trophy. The win broke Ventura High School’s 11 year winning streak at their own Laribee Stadium this Friday, Oct. 22 at 7pm.

In preparation for the game, Coach Ryan Bolland discussed how prior to last summer, he and the team were unable to practice due to quarantine. However, they did not let that stop them from hitting the field in preparation for the rivalry game as well as league once quarantine was lifted. 

“We were fortunate to be able to do summer stuff this year, which we couldn’t do last year. And much more able to prepare like normal,” Ryan Bolland said.

Leading up to the big rivalry game Bolland was sure to not only prepare the team physically but mentally as well,

The energy was there all week and I knew we were ready,

— Payton Hoff

“We feel confident about the kids that we have and other kids have worked really hard this week of practice,” Bolland said. “We’re gonna go out there with confidence and feel like we have a chance to be successful and play our butts off and do well.”

Through the help of Bolland and their bond with each other, the team worked together to prepare for their big night,

“Going into the game I was mentally prepared and I was encouraging everyone to get the same. I knew there was no way we would lose. We wanted it way more than they did and we were much more prepared than them” senior Lj Chandler said. 

Although in the past Ventura High has proved to have a consistently strong football team, with this knowledge Buena Bulldogs had the chance to prove themselves and end that streak,

“I knew going into the game I’d be matched up with one of their better players who had a significant size advantage on me. I tried to focus on using my technique against his power and it worked out very well for me,” senior Sonny Chantler said.

Once the game ensued the Bulldogs started off strong with a touchdown by senior running back and second striker Jake Murphy. The first quarter ended with a 7-3 lead for Buena, but the game was far from over. 

“We came out very strong in the first half in all aspects and we stuck to our game plan,” Chantler said.

In the second half of the game Murphy scored an 80-yard touchdown that gave Bulldogs a 15-3 lead midway through the second quarter. By half time the score was 22-10, giving the bulldogs time to recuperate and ready themselves for the next two quarters, 

I feel like a champ, like we are the new kings of Ventura,

— Lj Chandler

We wanted to keep them out of the game by controlling the football on offense and stop them from the snap of the football on defense,” senior Offensive Lineman Ethan Sanchez said.

By the third quarter the score was 22-17, and in the last quarter of the game Ventura had the lead of 28-22 over Buena due to a few fumbles on Buenas end. However, with only 1:30 left on the clock junior quarterback Zane Carter threw a 17-yard scoring pass to Brandon Rice earning Buena the winning touchdown with the tie of 28-28 over Ventura, It was then that Rice scored the PAT that secured the winning point lead of 29-28.

It feels so good to be the ones to finally break this 11 year long streak and to finally bring home that trophy,

— Brandon Rice


After their well deserved victory Buena students stormed the field to celebrate this long awaited win alongside their football team. On the field spirits were high and it was then that the trophy was presented to coach Ryan Bolland by the VUSD superintendent Roger Rice. Bolland then delivered a speech to his team to congragulate them on their win (Link to Video, provided by Freddy Martinez from the VUSD school Twitter page).  The team continued their celebration and took their victory photos with fellow teammates, family and friends.

“I feel great about last night’s game, it’s something I’ve been talking about my whole life. Being able to hold that trophy with my team and celebrate with them was the best thing that’s happened in my life so far,” senior running back and slot receiver Kaiden Brunkan said.


After their victory over Ventura High, the Buena varsity football team showcase thier victory pride, posing for a photo with the Suzanne Brown memorial cup trophy.  (Photo By: Mikayla Valencia)