Varsity football team defeats Yerba Buena Warriors in first game of season

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Prameela Kottapalli

Harker cheerleaders deliver a cheer early in the first quarter. The Eagles won against the Warriors 21-14.

by Prameela Kottapalli, Asst. Features Editor

The varsity football team won its first game of the season 21-14 against the Yerba Buena Warriors last night at Yerba Buena High School.

The Eagles entered halftime down 0-7 but made a comeback early in the third quarter when wide receiver Anthony Contreras (11) received a pass from quarterback Nate Kelly (11) and rushed for Harker’s first touchdown.

“I just outran my opponent, and then I caught the ball and scored,” Anthony said. “I’m more of a calm, mellow guy, so when I scored I acted as if it wasn’t the first time. I just gave the ball back to the referee and hoped that I could score again.”

With seven minutes left in the third quarter, Nate scored the Eagles’ second touchdown and ran the ball in for a successful two-point conversion. Early in the final quarter, the Warriors’ quarterback rushed for a second touchdown, tying the game at 14-14 with seven minutes remaining.

With three minutes and 35 seconds left, the Warriors fumbled the ball and Harker regained possession. This turned out to be a pivotal moment in the game as, with thirty seconds remaining, Nate drove the ball down from the fifteen yard line and scored Harker’s final touchdown. Kicker Kailee Gifford’s (12) kick was successful and Harker sealed its victory with a 21-14 lead.

 

 

A competitive club soccer player and a member of last year’s varsity girls’ basketball team, Kailee joined the football team this season and the Yerba Buena game was the first of her football career.

“[Football] is really exciting and unlike any other sport I’ve played- basketball and soccer. The dynamic is so different, but it’s really fun,” Kailee said.

The win was an important one for the Eagles, as the team had lost to the Warriors 21-38 last year, despite having a lead at the halfway point. In this year’s Yerba Buena game, the Eagles made all three of their touchdowns in the second half.

“Last year, Harker scored three touchdowns really early in the game,” said sophomore Akhila Ramgiri. “We were leading 21-0 at the half, but then they didn’t score at all for the rest of the game, and then Yerba Buena came back with 38 points because the Eagles let their guard down.”

The junior varsity (JV) team played before the varsity team. While the varsity players played, freshman and sophomore JV players watched the game to support their teammates and learn from the upperclassmen.

“It’s definitely great to learn from the older players who’ve been here a longer time and see how they play against the other teams,” Ayush Vyas (10) said. “It’s informative and it sets the tone for the JV players who are going to play varsity.”

The Harker cheerleading team also gave its first performance of the season at the game, motivating the athletes and energizing the crowd during timeouts and after well-executed plays.

“It’s exciting but I’m usually nervous at the beginning, and it’s the first one, so I feel rusty,” cheer team spirit coordinator Jessica Wang (11) said. “I’m definitely very proud of our football team.”

The Eagles will take on the Prospect Panthers next Friday, Sept. 2 at Prospect High School at 7 p.m.