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Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

Winged Post

Back with a bang: Varsity football dominates Turlock Christian 62-14 in home opener

Brandon Zau
Running back Jackson Powell (10) powers through a Turlock Christian defender in the first quarter. Jackson ran for 62 yards against Turlock Christian, scoring 2 touchdowns.

Varsity football won their home opener game against Turlock Christian 62-14 on Sept. 2 at 6 p.m.

Harker set the tone for the game with a rushing touchdown from running back Pedro Castro III (9), bringing the score to 8-0 after a successful 2-point conversion minutes into the game. Harker and Turlock Christian faced a standstill in the first quarter until wide receiver Arav Vuppala (9) completed a running first down. Co-captain wide receiver Daniel Lin (12) then completed a short pass from quarterback and co-captain Jack Ledford (12) to run in a touchdown, as the score improved to 14-0. Finishing the first quarter strong, Pedro returned a fourth down punt from Turlock Christian, setting up running back Jackson Powell (10) to run the ball for a 20-yard touchdown completion on the next play. After suffering a hit while scrambling as quarterback, Jack was subbed out of the game for quarterback Rayan Arya (11).

Opening the second quarter, Harker scored on a fourth down with seven minutes left in the second quarter, bringing Harker to 32 overall. Keeping the Eagle’s momentum, Pedro made another touchdown, with Rayan scoring a two-point conversion after, ending the second quarter at 40-0. During halftime, the cheerleading team performed on the field as students and faculty watched in their Barbenheimer-inspired outfits for Harker Spirit Leadership Team’s (HSLT) home opener theme. 

Upper school English teacher Christopher Hurshman, a frequent Harker football spectator, tries to watch as many team events as possible to support the teams and contribute to school spirit. Regarding the season ahead, Hurshman applauds the players’ attitudes in the face of obstacles.

“In some ways it looks like it [will be] a tough season because the team is smaller, [so] they’re having to compete in 8-person games,” Hurshman said. “But they’re well-coached, enthusiastic and excited to be here. I’m hopeful that they’ll have a competitive season, and it’ll be full of challenges and successes.”

Following the performance, Jackson ran in a touchdown to bring the score 32-0. Harker completed two more touchdowns until a Turlock Christian wide receiver completed a pass for a touchdown. Harker scored a 55-yard touchdown pass to Arav to set the score 54-6 going into the fourth quarter. 

Harker continued to dominate in the fourth quarter as they capitalized on a dropped ball from a missed hand-off, allowing Pedro to recover the fumble for a turnover. In that same drive, Rayan ran the ball 32 yards for a touchdown. Turlock muscled in a hand-off to their running back in the final minutes to set the final score to 62-14.

Contributing four touchdowns, two running and two throwing, Rayan attributes the team’s success to the warm and welcoming atmosphere of their home opener despite a tough loss last week. 

“It was great to see a crowd out there that really helped us win, giving us so much motivation that got us hype,” Rayan said. “After [the away game], each of us really took a step back and realized we’re not at that level yet where we can beat every single team. Going into each practice every single day and working 120% each rep built up confidence to help us secure this win today.”

In celebration of offensive and defensive line player Charlotte Ludlow’s (10) birthday and the team’s win, new Assistant Coach Chris Wulf honored a pregame promise to allow players to shave his head if they won. Dubbed “Operation Bald Eagle,” players gathered in the locker room after the game to cut coach Wulf’s hair.

“It’s best when players play loose and when they’re having fun, just out there relaxed doing what they do,” Coach Wulf said. “The message going forward, both on offense and defense, is to start to play for each other and really have that family atmosphere in the locker room. If we can have a little fun in the meantime, that’s a bonus.”

The varsity football team improved their record to 1-1. They play Branson High School next on Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at home.

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About the Contributors
Brandon Zau
Brandon Zau, Photo Editor
Brandon Zau (12) is the photo editor for Harker Aquila, and this is his fourth year on staff. This year, Brandon hopes to celebrate his senior Class of 2024 peers and to tell the stories of the Harker community through meaningful photos and coverage. In his free time, Brandon enjoys taking candid pictures of his friends, listening to music and playing baseball.
Kinnera Mulam
Kinnera Mulam, Winged Post Co-Editor-in-Chief
Kinnera Mulam (12) is the co-editor-in-chief of the Winged Post, and this is her fourth year on staff. This year, Kinnera hopes to get to know all the new reporters and create fresh designs for the Winged Post. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, trying new snacks and bothering other staff members.
Mendy Mao
Mendy Mao, Reporter
Mendy Mao (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Mendy wishes to improve her interviewing skills. In her free time, she likes to read short stories and play the violin.

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