The California Golden Bears (Cal) football team has started its season strong despite a few setbacks. To start the season out with a bang, they won their first four games and defeated the Washington Huskies for the second year in a row, winning 20-19 with a thrilling last minute field goal. The Cal Bears won their fourth game of the season 28-20 against Ole Miss, making them the 15th ranked team in the country. After that, the Cal Bears lost their fifth game to Arizona State University (ASU) when their quarterback suffered a potentially season-ending right arm injury towards the end of the first quarter. The Bears started out strong, but now their season may rely on Devon Modster’s ability to step up as the team’s new starting quarterback.
According to senior running back Alex Netherda, at their August training camp, the Cal Bears set a team goal of winning the Pac-12 North and then winning the Pac-12 Championship. “We started out the season really strong, just as we expected,” he said. “We know we have the ability to go out and beat any team we come in contact with, we just need to go out and execute at the level at which we are capable.” Netherda said that the loss to ASU was disappointing, but served as a learning experience for the team. Netherda’s advice to high school athletes hoping to compete in college is to get good grades and work hard. “The first thing any coach or scout asks about any prospective athlete is what their transcript looks like,” Netherda said. “Furthermore, it doesn’t matter how much clout you have, if you’re not the hardest worker in the room in high school, it will show when you get to college,” Netherda continued. He stressed that talent will only get you so far, and that skill can only be obtained through hours and hours of work. “Determination and persistence is what will get you to and through the next level,” he said.
The Golden Bears lost their most recent game against the 13th ranked University of Oregon Ducks. A slow start from the Ducks and an impressive touchdown connection between quarterback Devon Modster and running back Christopher Brown Jr. gave the Golden Bears a 7-0 lead entering the second half. Ultimately, the Ducks came back dominant in the second half, ultimately winning the game 17-7.
Their season record now sits at 4-2. However, they are strongly favored to win their game Saturday, October 19, against Oregon State University. Last year, the Cal Bears’ record was 7-6. However, the season ended on a dissapointing note when they suffered a loss against Texas Christian University in the Cheez-it Bowl. Some highlights of the bears’ 2018 season included upsetting a 14th ranked University of Washington 12-10 and beating the University of Southern California team 15-14, ending a 14-year-long losing streak against the Trojans. Running back Patrick Laird graduated at the end of that season and is currently on the Miami Dolphins.
Ultimately, the Cal Bears hope to build on the strong start to the season.“We as a team simply hope to play to our potential each and every week,” said Netherda. “Doesn’t matter who it is, when it is, where it is, or what the circumstances are. If you go up against us, we’re going to do everything we can to beat you down.” Cal’s success this season perfectly echoes the achievement of our own Yellowjacket football team. Both teams have shown immense improvement on their performance from last, which can only be attributed to the hours of hard work that Netherda mentioned.