I wrote a feature on Chiawana wide receiver/running back Miquiyah Zamora a few days ago. It talked about how he was one of only a handful of freshman starters for coach Steve Graff and that he's grown into a leadership role with the Riverhawks.
I led the story off with an anecdote about a block he made on a Hanford linebacker after Zamora's teammate, running back Jordan Downing, was speared in the back on a previous play. On the very next play, Zamora zeroed in on the offending player and knocked him cleanly to the ground.
I got an email from Hanford coach Rob Oram the morning the story appeared in the paper. He had great things to say about Zamora, but he expressed his disappointment that his team was portrayed in a negative way.
So I wanted to clear the air a bit in case anybody got the wrong impression from the story. My intention was to show what Zamora would do for a friend, but the fact that I implicated a Falcons' player ruffled a few feathers. Oram thought telling that story made it seem like he was teaching his kids late hits and kidney shots.
Very much the opposite, in fact.
Hanford is not known for being a dirty team, and — to my knowledge — they never have been. Opposing coaches have gone on the record saying how impressed they were with Hanford athletes and how hard they compete.
I wrote back to Oram and told him that plays like that can happen without intent. Maybe a kid gets a little over-aggressive or just loses himself in the moment. From what I saw, that's all that happened against Chiawana. And once Zamora made his block, the situation was diffused.
I have covered Hanford teams in every sport they have to offer through my 11 years at the Herald, and every year, I'm impressed with their sportsmanship and maturity. The Falcons athletes have always carried themselves with dignity in victory and defeat. That's a reflection of the quality of coaches they have at Hanford.