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You could feel the community swell with pride this weekend.
Trucks decorated in red tooled around town, tongues were wagging
and it seemed just about everyone was buzzing about the ‘Balers’
last-second victory over rival Oak Grove to win the Central Coast
Section crown Saturday.
You could feel the community swell with pride this weekend. Trucks decorated in red tooled around town, tongues were wagging and it seemed just about everyone was buzzing about the ‘Balers’ last-second victory over rival Oak Grove to win the Central Coast Section crown Saturday.

It was a gripping game that had everyone on the edge of their seat until tight end Art Esparza hauled in the final touchdown pass from Quarterback Karson Klauer as the clock ticked down. The ‘Baler defense sealed the deal with a sack on the final play of the game, sending the loyal home-town fans who packed the stands at San Jose City College into a frenzy as the boys in red brought home the trophy after two years of championship frustration.

As thrilling as the game was, and as good a team that Coach Chris Cameron fielded, the most stirring part of this championship win, is the pride and support the community gives this team.

The ‘Baler games are a rallying point for Hollister, a place where people meet, community is formed and the worries of the week slip away. During the season, Andy Hardin Stadium is the place to be on Friday nights and oldtimers and newcomers alike meet to talk football, have a good time and root on their team.

There’s no doubt about it, Hollister bleeds ‘Baler red.

Haybaler football has its roots in traditions more than 100 years old, with rivalries and legacies dating back to when San Benito was still called Hollister High and the campus only spanned about one city block. It’s this tradition which compels fans to come back year after year, long after their own children or they themselves have graduated. And it’s a legacy that inspires the players to reach for the top.

“Tradition makes me want to play harder, our coaches really push that,” ‘Baler runningback Abel Jacquez said. “And I think we put in more work than other teams because of that tradition.”

Bringing home the CCS championship for the first time in five years – and beating big city teams like Palma and Oak Grove to do it – means a lot to the regular folks around here. We’re the little town that could.

“This victory is a big deal, it says a lot about our athletics and coaches, as well as the administration and students at the high school,” said life-long ‘Baler fan Curtis Hill. “It says a lot about Hollister.”

The pageantry and pride that locals take in the team is a nice slice of small-town life that shows why this is a great community.

Way to go boys, we’re proud of you.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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