Every year he has been in high school, Westinghouse senior Zayvian Diaz has watched neighborhood rival Raby walk down Franklin Boulevard with the Jackson Classic traveling trophy before the teams’ annual matchup.
And every year, the Raiders took the trophy back home after winning the game at Westinghouse.
Until this year.
Diaz scooted three yards around left end with 13 seconds left for the decisive touchdown to lift Westinghouse past Raby 22-14 in the latest edition of the spirited West Side rivalry.
It was the Warriors’ first win in the event, which honors former Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson, who served as principal at both schools.
“It’s legendary, man,” Diaz said of the significance of breaking through in the rivalry. “All four years, I ain’t won it. But now in my senior year, I got to take it for all the seniors who didn’t win it.”
“It’s big for West Side bragging rights,” fourth-year Westinghouse coach Julius Carter said. “That trophy is nice to have here for a year.”
Diaz made sure it would be, capping the game-winning drive by lowering his shoulder, powering past a Raby defensive back and flexing after getting into the end zone.
“I was going to find my way in there one way or another,” Diaz said.
Demarion Winfield, who caught a 52-yard touchdown pass from Diaz in the second quarter, knew his teammate wouldn’t be denied at the end.
“I know my boy,” Winfield said. “I told him, ‘Leave it all on the field. Do it for us.’ And he did it, man.”
Diaz also sneaked in from a yard out for a touchdown with 45 seconds left in the third quarter. He finished 4-for-10 for 94 yards and ran for another 36 yards.
Raby (1-1) tied it at 14 on Jalen Monroe’s 40-yard touchdown pass to Dorian Perry with 3:59 left. The same duo teamed up for a 44-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter.
Westinghouse (1-1) also used freshman Jason Jiang at quarterback after halftime.
“He came in and was big in the second half for us,” Carter said. “Zay was struggling a bit with his reads. . . . I’m proud of Zayvian. He bounced back to win the game for us.”
Junior linebacker Reginald Anderson was a leader for the Westinghouse defense with 1½ sacks.
“He’s been working hard all summer,” Carter said. “Extremely proud of him.”
Monroe completed 4 of 10 passes, all to Perry, for 115 yards. He also ran 16 times for 39 yards.
“This is a COVID year,” Raby coach D’Angelo Dereef said. “We weren’t expecting to be here. We didn’t have a team three weeks ago. We put this all together in three, four weeks. . . . I’m going to hold my head up for what I saw.”