FNR Report: Tulare Western vs Tulare Union
TULARE, Calif. (FOX26) —
This week's Friday Night Rivals game is the final regular season game and we will have 9-0 Tulare Western against 9-0 Tulare Union for the second year in a row.
Live coverage of the Bell Game rivalry starts at 6:30 p.m. on CW59.
But before the big game, we want to introduce you to some guys who don't get all the attention, the top lineman from each team, in this week's Friday Night Rivals Report.
Matt Lopez, what's your favorite part about playing football?
"Just the bond of the brotherhood and just being part of something special and I really learned about just life in general," said the Tulare Western senior defensive lineman.
Lopez is a leader, he's a captain, he's 3rd on the team in tackles this year, which is hard to do as a defensive lineman, and he's been chosen multiple times as the Mustang's Hit Man of the Game for delivering the biggest stick.
Tulare Western head coach Ryan Rocha said, "Tough. Tough as nails. Work ethic, weight room strong, um, tenacious off the ball. That first three seconds of his play are just boom, boom, boom. And just, to be honest with you, like a steel train when he hits you."
Lopez plans to join the U.S. Marines after graduation, and hopes opposing players and coaches think of him the guy that just doesn't give up and just plays until the whistle's blown and one guy's not going to stop him.
Kaden Hernandez, What would you say is your favorite part about football?
"The brotherhood atmosphere, definitely," said Tulare Union senior Kaden Hernandez. "Like, you're never alone, really. You always have someone by your side that you can always count on and go to."
The Tribe lineman is tiny by defensive lineman standards. "5' 7" on a good day 5' 8" and then 180, maybe," said Hernandez.
But Hernandez is the Energizer Bunny for a Tribe defense that's pitched 6 shutouts this season and hasn't allowed a touchdown since August.
Tulare Union head coach Darren Bennett said, "He's extremely flexible, he's extremely explosive, and like I said, he's quicker than hell. He's got so much energy, just go, go, go, go, go. So he's hard to block. Our offensive linemen, when we go 1's against 1's, they have a fit with him."
Hernandez also wrestles and dives at T.U. and next year plans to go to a specialty college in Idaho to become an electrical lineman... hoping he's as good on that line as he is this one.
You can watch the Bell Game Friday, October 26th at 6:30 p.m. on CW59.