Spirited away to Homecoming


Kshithija Mulam

Quarterback Nate Kelley (11) darts past Stellar Prep’s defense. The Eagles lost to the Thunder 7-42 during Homecoming on Nov. 5, which also doubled as this year’s football senior night.

by Alex Wang, Sports Editor

The varsity football team lost to Stellar Preparatory High School in the homecoming game on Nov. 5, which doubled as the team’s senior night.

Prior to the game, senior football players Saketh Gurram, Danny Reidenbach, Will Park, Davis Howard, Kailee Gifford, Anthony Crook, Rishabh Nijhawan and Norman Garcia were honored and cheered by the crowd.

The Stellar Prep captains won the coin toss and elected to kick off, leaving the Eagles to receive the kick to start the game.

The Eagles began the game with a touchdown in the first half by Will and a field goal conversion by Kailee. The Thunder responded with a touchdown and elected to forgo a field goal in favor of a two-point conversion, ending the quarter at a score of 7-8.

Stellar Prep began the second quarter with an early touchdown and both teams held each other scoreless for the rest of the half.

The varsity dance troupe performed a routine at halftime, which many spectators enjoyed.

“This was an enjoyable homecoming because I came with my friends and we really loved the amazing halftime performances,” Sumi Wadhwa (11) said. “We were all impressed by how touching senior night was and pretty surprised that Harker managed to pull this off with construction.”

This year’s tug-of-war competition saw the juniors defeat the freshmen and the seniors best the sophomores during the rally, paving the way for a showdown between upperclassmen in the finals. In the second round, the sophomores defeated the freshmen prior to the Homecoming game in order to secure third place, while the juniors outlasted the seniors during their halftime competition to win this year’s tug-of-war.

After the tug-of-war, golf carts paraded this year’s Homecoming Court around the football field, ultimately bringing the Homecoming princes and princesses to the center of the field.

This year’s Homecoming Court consisted of freshmen Alyssa Huang and Phil Han, sophomores Katrina Liu and Katrina Ipser, juniors Isabella Spradlin and Angel Cervantes and seniors Mia Giammona, Kathy Duan, Kailee, Jack Farnham, Ryan Vaughan and Alex Youn. Senior class dean Jeffrey Draper crowned Kailee and Ryan as Homecoming King and Queen.

The Eagles kicked off to start the second half, but allowed the Thunder to score 28 points in the third quarter.

“We came out strong [in] the first half, played well, but [in] the second half they scored on the first drive and we just put our head down,” Rishabh said, reflecting on the loss of momentum that the Eagles experienced after their first touchdown. “Once we went into that mentality there was no going back. They capitalized on our terrible attitude and won the second half.”

We came out strong [in] the first half, played well, but [in] the second half they scored on the first drive and we just put our head down”

— Rishabh Nijhawan

Each team held the other scoreless in the fourth quarter and the score that ended the third quarter carried through the rest of the game.

Head football coach Mike Tirabassi thought his team played hard and did everything they could against their opponents.

“[Our team] did everything they could possibly do. The other team was just stronger and faster than we were across the board, our guys did everything they could possibly do and we would have to [have] played perfect[ly] to beat them and we did pretty close to that, so I’m very proud of them” he said.

For the seniors, both players and spectators, the game would be their last home football game.

“I feel like because it’s the last homecoming for us seniors, we really came together as a class. Our bond was stronger than ever. The screams, cheers and chatters are all precious memories for use to cherish,” Ray Song (12) said.

Despite the loss, many students still enjoyed watching the game and cheering on their team.

“I really had a great time at homecoming, meeting up with friends and watching the game. Cheering on our team is a great bonding experience that lets the whole school come together in unity,” Matthew Hajjar (10) said.

The Homecoming game marks the end of the football team’s regular season, as the team begins play in the NCS playoffs.

This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on November 17, 2016.