In Los Jets tonight, the Jordan-Matthews High School team, Los Jets, faces some of its biggest challenges yet as the team members prepare for the North Carolina playoffs. Coached by Paul Cuadros, the sons of Latino immigrants who make up Los Jets struggle against their opposition’s dirty tactics and try to make it back to the North Carolina State Championships and claim the title.
“Today, we have the last game of the conference season It will determine who gets to play one or two conference games at home,” Coach Cuadros says.
“This season, the concentration level really dropped,” Cirilo says. “People are always joking around, That’s why we haven’t been to the top of our game.”
“Here’s the temperament I’m sensing from you guys, lackadaisical, clowning around — if you are not serious, I’m throwing you out of tonight’s game,” Coach Cuadros says.
In the game against Cummings, Los Jets scores the first goal. However, soon the other high school scores, tying the game up. At the half, Los Jets led, 2 to 1.
“It’s junky soccer, not the way we play. We need to put them down, right now,” Coach Cuadros tells the team at the half.
The coach tells Cirilo “If you want to play at the next level, you have to tell yourself that.” Los Jets eventually wins, with a score of 5 to 1. They kicked butt, but they have ended up in third place; so, as Cuadros says to the cameras, “The task ahead of them will be hard.”
“Laughing and joking, every single game — it never stops. There’s a time to joke around, but sometimes, there is a time to just shut up and listen,” the disgusted goal keeper, Daniel Estrada, says.
“I’m in touch with my former players a lot. I’ve seen these guys go from being boys to men,” Coach Cuadros says, in his house, full of past members of Los Jets. They all eat dinner and talk about the past and how the present-day Los Jets need to not joke around so much.
“We had a lot to prove then,” says one of the past team members. The coach says “It all comes down to leadership on the field.’
Another past team member says “They have to play with their hearts. They have to realize that.”
The next day, again, Los Jets are joking around and cutting up. Coach Cuadros says “For you seniors, it might be your last game. Now, I have something special planned. Let’s go, Jets, back into the school.”
The present-day Los Jets get to meet the past team members, who won the State Championship in 2004. One says to them “We had much more to prove than you.”
Another one showed his championship ring. The team members of then are connected to the present-day ones. “It’s up to you guys,” says another team member from the 2004 team.
Jonathan Lopez says into the camera “We’re not going to give up. We’re just going to get ready for the play-offs.” Then, Los Jets went to a commercial break.
On the bus ride, Los Jets are getting nervous. Coach Cuadros gives the team a pep talk when the bus stops. If they win, they will go on to the next round. A past goal keeper talks on the bench before the game to the present-day one, Daniel Estrada, saying he wants to see him in the State Championship photo for 2013. Estrada nods his head in agreement.
It is a fierce game. Los Jets scores first against Howle High School.
“I was so happy, I started smiling,” says Jonathan Lopez, of Los Jets. Not very long after that, Howle scored, tying the game at 1-1.
“Don’t lose your concentration We have to win this one to move on,” a former team member tells them at the half.
Los Jets again score, making it 2-1. But, Howle answers back, evening up the score again, at 2-2. “That night, there was a great change in Los Jets. They scored two more times and the team survived to play another day.
“I know you were frustrated at times, but you never gave up. that’s what I like about you guys; you never give up,” Coach Cuadros says to the team members at the end of the game.
“The task ahead of us is daunting,” Coach Cuadros says at the end of the game to the camera. For now, as Los Jets ride in the back of the bus home to the small city of Siler City, North Carolina, they can enjoy the feeling of victory. But, they still have a way to go before they can make it to the North Carolina State Championship game. In next week’s episode of Los Jets, Fight or Flight, the team will see if they can continue to dig deep and keep up their winning streak.
Written By Douglas Cobb
Photos Courtesy of NUVOtv
Left to Right: Darwin Ramirez, Martin Carrillo, Daniel Estrada, Jonathan Lopez, Cirilo Rangel