Fighting Knights spoil Scots Homecoming

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Fighting Knights spoil Scots Homecoming

Jonaven Kuhn, a senior, jukes his way past a defender on a run during the Scots' Homecoming game.

Jonaven Kuhn, a senior, jukes his way past a defender on a run during the Scots' Homecoming game.

Joshua Baxter

Jonaven Kuhn, a senior, jukes his way past a defender on a run during the Scots' Homecoming game.

Joshua Baxter

Joshua Baxter

Jonaven Kuhn, a senior, jukes his way past a defender on a run during the Scots' Homecoming game.

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On a night filled with flying candy, creative floats, and the screams of fans on the sideline for Carlmont’s Homecoming, the Scots and Fighting Knights put on a show, with Hillsdale coming out on top 54-41.

Running back Nathan Iskander, a senior, who ran for over 240 yards and five touchdowns, led the Fighting Knights to victory. Iskander also passed for a touchdown on a trick play, giving him six total on the day. On the Scots side, quarterback Tim Netane, a sophomore, passed for four touchdowns, three of which were caught by wide receiver Wes Brown, a senior.

The Scots got the ball back with 5:47 in the fourth, looking to make it a one-touchdown game. However, a fumble on the first play of the drive was recovered by the Fighting Knights, who then put the game away with an 11-yard rushing touchdown by Iskander.

While the game was essentially over, the Scots didn’t drop their heads and drove down the field one last time, scoring a touchdown on a 1-yard rush by Dane Fifita, a sophomore.

“We have determined guys who care about the game, but football is a game of attrition, and we’re losing that battle right now with injuries and a couple of guys who couldn’t take care of their academics. It’s just slowly picking apart our team, but I’m proud of our guys, and I thought they did a great job in the face of some real difficulty,” said Carlmont head coach Jake Messina.

The Fighting Knights set the tone early, putting the first points on the board with a 10-yard touchdown pass by Iskander to Parker Crouse, a senior. The score came late in the first quarter after the previous three drives by both teams had stalled.

The Scots responded by putting together a drive capped off by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Netane caught by Brown, his first of three. Three plays earlier, Brown seemed to give up on a ball that he could’ve caught, resulting in coach Messina’s ire.

“At the beginning of the game, I was dealing with a hurt hip, but coach telling me I have to focus more motivated me to go out there and push through to go get those three touchdowns,” Brown said.

The score wasn’t even for long, as on the ensuing drive, the Fighting Knights scored on a 16-yard touchdown rush by Iskander, which was set up by a 46-yard catch by Crouse on 3rd-15, giving them a 14-7 lead.

The unfazed Scots countered this, scoring on a 38-yard catch from Brown three drives later.

After the halftime performances, including the showcasing of the homecoming floats, the Fighting Knights got back to business. A 43-yard touchdown catch by Marc Baldwin, a junior, boosted their lead to 28-7, as they had scored just before the half.

Carlmont again responded with a touchdown, coming on a 7-yard rush by Fifita. The PAT hit the upright, however, and the Scots went down 28-20.

The two teams continued to respond with touchdowns for the next five drives, one of which included Netane’s fourth touchdown pass on the night.

Carlmont is notoriously known for being a run-first team, and the four passing touchdowns to two rushing touchdowns are an oddity.

“It shows that we can do both; we can pass and run. We have a great sophomore quarterback who can throw when he needs to, and we have to make those calls,” Brown said.

Iskander’s 61-yard rushing touchdown also came during this spree and was just one of many big runs he broke off.

“Our defense gives it their all 24/7, and if our offense keeps working hard, we can be unstoppable. My offensive line does all the work, and I need to run through the holes they create,” Iskander said.

Carlmont then fumbled the ball and allowed Iskander to score his fifth and final rushing touchdown on the day, breaking the back-and-forth streak.

Although the Scots attempted a last-ditch onside kick, the Fighting Knights fell on top of it and kneeled to end the game.

While the 56-41 score doesn’t give the Scots much credit, they were neck and neck with the Fighting Knights until the final minutes.

“On the plus side of things, our quarterback skewered their defense and did an amazing job for a sophomore. However, the unfortunate reality is that every week, the injury/ineligibility bug keeps rearing its ugly head, and we couldn’t overcome it, but they’re a good team, and they’re big. We did have some opportunities, but you can only do what you can do, and I think we did everything that we could,” Messina said.

With playoffs looming around the corner, Hillsdale head coach Mike Parodi prefers to be thinking about their upcoming game against San Mateo, rather than the playoffs themselves.

“I’m not worried about the playoffs; we have San Mateo next week and Aragon the week after, and those are the only two games we have guaranteed on our schedule. Right now, we’re only worried about San Mateo next week,” Parodi said.

The Fighting Knights were also reasonably consistent in driving down the field and scoring, whereas the Scots weren’t.

“We always work hard in practice, and we have to outplay our opponent, and if we do lack in size, we have to get back in speed. The offensive line was incredible today, and I couldn’t ask for a better one,” Iskander said.

The Homecoming atmosphere is a tradition of high school. It’s not just welcoming to the home team, but also creates a comfortable setting for the away team as well.

“I like being invited to Homecoming; it’s fun. The thing that made it awesome is such a great atmosphere here, to have so many of the other team’s friends and family here, same with us, and we only live like two blocks away. I thought they did an excellent job with their Homecoming at halftime, and it was just a lot of fun,” Parodi said. “This is what high school football is supposed to look like; just a bunch of kids hanging out on a Friday night, and we just happened to be the better team out there tonight.”

Fumble Frenzy

Between the two teams, there were a total of six fumbles, with four of them belonging to the Fighting Knights. Fortunately for Hillsdale, they only lost two of these fumbles, and the Scots only scored seven points off of them. While the Scots only fumbled twice and turned it over once, the fumble they lost occurred when they needed a score to stay in the game. There were no interceptions thrown by either team.

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