Varsity football beats Piedmont high school in second playoff game


Floyd Gordon (12) catches a pass to score a touchdown. So far, the varsity football team is undefeated in their season.

by Eric Fang, Global Editor

Varsity football beat the Piedmont high school Highlanders 38 – 12 in the team’s second playoff game Friday night at Davis Field. They continue their undefeated record of 11 – 0 and will face off against the Hercules high school Titans next Saturday also at home.  

Prior to the game, sophomores Smriti Vaidyanathan and Katelyn Chen sang the national anthem, and players from both teams were introduced to the audience.

The Eagles began the match strong with a 60 yard kickoff return after opting to receive ball during the coin toss. Wide receiver Floyd Gordon (12) followed up by running the ball into the opposing end zone for the first touchdown of the night after a pass from quarterback Nate Kelly (12).

Floyd scored yet another touchdown towards the end of the first quarter with a 13 yard throw by Nate. Kicker Dominic Cea (12) kicked valid extra points after both touchdowns.

The Eagles ended the first quarter boasting a strong 14 – 0 lead over the Highlanders.

Piedmont fumbled the ball at the start of the second quarter allowing Harker defensive back Mitchell Granados (11) to cover the ball for a successful turnover.

Aaron Smith (11) scored a touchdown after catching a mid air fumble by Nate and diving into the end zone. Dominic bolstered Harker’s lead with an extra point as well.

After an Eagle timeout in the middle of the second quarter, Dominic kicked a 25 yard field goal for an additional three points.

The Eagles led 24 – 0 by halftime. The Varsity cheerleaders performed a routine for the audience during halftime. Bobby Schick (12), Neil Ramaswamy (11) and upper school technician Alejandro Osorio in addition to the cheerleaders supported the Harker football team throughout the match by playing the tenor saxophone, drums, baritone saxophone and cheering, respectively.

Piedmont pushed back against Harker after halftime with a 51 yard kickoff return. Highlander quarterback Jacob Prager threw a successful pass to the one yard line leading to a one yard touchdown by Jacob the next down. The Highlanders attempted to kick a subsequent extra point but was summarily blocked.

One of Nate Kelly’s passes to wide receiver Angel Cervantes (12) was picked off by Highlander cornerback Cole Kingston in the third quarter.

The Eagles stopped Piedmont’s advances twice at the goal line allowing Harker to take over possession of the ball.

The score held at 24 – 6 by the end of the third quarter.

“We started off really well with a 24 point lead at halftime, but they came back and punched us in the mouth,” Jared said. “We weren’t going to take that, so we redeemed ourselves, started running the ball, and they couldn’t do anything about it.”

Harker wide receiver Anthony Contreras (12) ran the ball 49 yards after a pass from Nate. Nate was then able to run the ball into the endzone himself for the Eagles’ fourth touchdown of the night.

Harker continued scoring with wide receiver Jared Anderson (11) scoring a pick six after picking off Piedmont’s ball and running 29 yard for a touchdown. Dominic kicked extra points after every touchdown of the match.

In the last play of the game, the Highlander wide receiver Will Kalmbach scored a touchdown with no extra point.

The final score of the match was 38 – 12 with Harker extending their undefeated record to 11 – 0.

“We knew this game was not going to be easy, so we did not let our small mistakes slow us down and made sure to focus on doing our individual parts well, since that’s what lets us win in the end,” Anthony said.

Offensive lineman Ayush Vyas (10) appreciates all the hardwork Dominic has dedicated to football and believes it shows results in gametime.

“Great special teams play by Dominic as well,” Ayush said. “He kicked that ball out of the endzone, made those field goals, and put us in a great position to win.”

After winning the game, the Eagles were interviewed by Cal Hi Sports, given Cal Hi game-of-the-week t-shirts and free tickets to the Foster Farm Bowl football game in December.

“It was definitely a great experience, and I’m pretty sure it was the first time in Harker’s history that Cal Hi Sports came out to interview the football team,” Ayush said. “There’s more to come too. When they come out to interview us and give out t-shirts, it’s a testament to all our hard work and victory this season.”

The team will face off against the Hercules high school Titans next Saturday at home at 7 p.m. The Titans upset the second seed of the division beating Kennedy High School 35 – 29 last Saturday.

“The number two seed got upset by I think the seventh seed, which puts us in position for another home game,” offensive lineman James Pauli (12) said. “So we’re just making history over and over again with a third playoff game at home which has never happened before.”