If anyone was wondering what they can expect from the Galt Warriors this year, the feeling amongst the Warriors is proclaimed loudly on the backs of their practice jerseys: ‘Family.’
On Aug. 23, the Warriors played like a family and did so on the biggest stage they could have dreamed of in Galt, their own, brand-new Warrior Stadium, earning a win over Woodland Christian in the football season opener.
“This year, we spent a lot of time in the weight room, just connecting with each other and just growing a bond. It was a lot stronger than we had last year, it was real different,” Galt quarterback Robert Bulahan, Jr. said after the 34-10 win.
The win was historic, as it was their first on the new Erv Hatzenbuhler Field at Warrior Stadium, which was built this year with a state-of-the-art artificial turf field decorated with a giant G in the center and red and white GALT letters in the left end zone and WARRIORS on the right end zone.
The Warriors started off the night by celebrating the stadium, which also includes new metal bleachers on both home and visitor sides and a large press box, with speeches by Don Nottoli, GHS Principal Kellie Beck, and Dan Denier.
The speakers reflected on what it took to make the stadium happen, the Warriors’ past, and the future additions that will be made to the campus, and talked about the namesake of the field, Hatzenbuhler, who is the winningest football coach in Warrior history.
“It’s super amazing, I’m so proud of the kids and we’re going to keep working hard to keep winning here,” Galt coach Tim Cobleigh said.
The Warriors had had to endure flooded, torn-up field conditions and aging bleachers but welcomed in a new era, including a new scoreboard, as they broke loose in the second half for 28 points while holding Woodland Christian to a touchdown in the second half en route to the win, which put them at 1-0 heading into Friday’s game against Summerville.
Ethan Reece scored the first Warrior points in the new stadium with a field goal with 9:16 left in the second quarter that tied the score.
Woodland Christian had scored on a field goal from the 24-yard line in the first quarter with 3:41 left to take a 3-0 lead.
“I almost felt a relief because with the opening of the new field it felt like there was quite a bit of pressure and it was like, ‘don’t mess up, it’s a new field, come on’ type thing,” Reece said afterward.
The Warriors took the lead with four seconds left in the half when Reece kicked a second field goal.
Cobleigh noted that the team did what it took to make their home opener a success.
“We had some individual successes and everything but it was just the team itself that made it all come together,” Cobleigh said.
The Warriors broke past the quiet first half when Isaac Madrigal scored on a 31-yard touchdown reception on a pass by Bulahan, Jr. with 6:55 left. Reece kicked the PAT to take a 13-3 lead.
A chance to add to the lead came quickly after that play, as Zack Mason recovered a Woodland Christian fumble with 5:28 left in Woodland Christian territory.
The Warriors’ Zachary Cirac then scored on a 20-yard play with 5:21 left.
The Warriors’ offense moved the ball well throughout the night, and once again put itself in scoring position near the end of the quarter.
Bulahan, Jr. scored on a nine-yard keeper with 24 seconds left for a 27-3 lead after the Reece PAT.
After the Warrior defense knocked several passes incomplete, Bulahan, Jr. scored on a four-yard keeper with 8:28 left in the fourth quarter.
Woodland Christian later scored their only touchdown when Anthony Uribes scored on a 14-yard play with 6:01 left. Anders Johnson kicked the PAT.
The passion to bring home a win was fueled by the desire to win in the new stadium as well as to continue the team’s efforts to build a winning program.
“I’d say there was a lot of pressure on the team because of past seasons. I’d say it’s a burden off our shoulders now and we can actually play football now,” Reece said.
“It felt good because there was a lot of pressure coming into the game knowing that we had to win, we couldn’t lose,” Bulahan, Jr. said.
Asked about what the average fan should know about his team, Bulahan, Jr.’s answer was simple.
“They should know that we’re just getting started.”