By Manny Alvarez
Photo Credit: Kyusung Gong
These student sections are making this so difficult to pick the Orange County Student Section of the Week.
One of this week's finalists was looking to repeat as the OCVarsity champ, while another student section came out of nowhere Friday night.
We hope this becomes a thing and we see a bunch of schools revamp their student section.
If this is a sign of great things to come in the stands, this is going to be a fantastic football season.
We had five student sections battling it out for the Week 1 title, all were outstanding ... but the winner was a student section that rallied at the end, just as their team did Friday.
FINALIST #1: THE CAGE
You'd think "The Cage" of Capistrano Valley would take it easy after being crowned the top section in Week 0, but The Cage has no chill. It was just as lit (that is what the kids say these days, lit?) in the Cougars' 38-7 victory over La Mirada.
The Cage looks like an early top pick for Orange County Student Section of the year.
FINALIST #2: THE BARN
The Tustin Barn protected its house in its crosstown rivalry game against Foothill. The Tillers defense gave The Barn plenty to cheer about. A sea of straw hats and black shirts controlled the stadium the entire night in the Tillers' 23-7 win to take "The Crosstown Rivalry" trophy.
FINALIST #3: THE STAMPEDE
The San Juan Hills Stampede is back on the list again and it was electric as it was in Week 0. The Stampede enjoyed another win, this time against Canyon by the score of 34-0.
FINALIST #4: EAGLES NEST
It is not often you'll see a student section rise to this level on a night its team loses, but Santa Margarita's Eagles Nest has been consistent these last several years. Although the Eagles took a tough 30-20 loss to Mission Viejo, the Eagles Nest seemed to control the stands, even though it was on the road.
That's something you rarely see at a game. The Eagles Nest will win this award. It's just a matter of time.
FINALIST #5: THE VAQUEROS
Irvine Vaqueros ... yeah, that's not a typo. I am mentioning the Irvine Vaqueros as a Student Section finalist.
You normally hear the big dawgs of the Orange County Student Section world, but every year a student section pops up and joins this awesome party. A few years ago it was the Yorba Linda Stable .... and The Jungle of Segerstrom. The Vaqueros student section is crashing this year's party.
What impressed was that although Irvine took a 55-35 loss to Rancho Buena Vista, the Vaqueros student section still rocked the stadium.
This student section is for real.
"This year is going to be awesome for us," Irvine ASB president Grant Lockwood said. "Irvine is very rarely in consideration for things like this when compared to other larger schools, and we believe it's just the beginning of it. We've got more things in store for our student section to come back even better for the rest of the season."
The Vaqueros were seemingly seconds away from being picked as the OCVarsity Student Section of the Week, but then the New York Yankees of student sections arrived.
AND THE WINNER IS ... THE ASYLUM
The Servite Asylum, which has set the standard for outstanding student sections around here, came in at the last second and utilized the #ocvfans hashtag and sent the funniest of videos.
Much like their football team's come-from-behind victory over Norco on Friday, The Asylum pulled a comeback of its own to take the title of OCVarsity Student Section of the Week for Week 1.
I had assumed that The Asylum had an off night when the Friars were down 32-14 to Norco. I stopped checking the score.
Servite came back and defeated the Cougars 37-32 – and The Asylum definitely had something to do with the momentum change.
"The team fell behind at half and that's when most student sections would give up," Asylum leader Ryan Saltzman said. "However, tonight every single Friar came back with more intensity to make that comeback win possible. I especially credit the full force of the Asylum to the tight-knit brotherhood, the group of seniors leading it, and the return of Troy Thomas. Credo."
The Asylum started to rock again in the stands during the comeback. Actually, they weren't rocking, they were surfing.
The Asylum always comes up with unique ideas in the stands. The brotherhood was felt in the stands on the field Friday.
Credo Asylum, Credo.