Friday Night Lights: 42-28 victory over the Huskies

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Boomika Velineni

Wildcat running-back Devin Garcia looks for an opening.

Rikin Patel, Lucas Quick, and Nishita Mukherjee

Dougherty Valley High School’s varsity football team is 3-0 this season after back-and-forth scoring led to a comeback win over the Washington High School Huskies on Sept. 9, with a final score of 42-28.

Last week, the Wildcats won against the Newark Memorial High School Cougars 41-16, nearly missing their score against them last season, which was 42-16.

The Wildcats previously played Washington in an away game last season on Sept. 10, beating them 41-36.

Last season, Coach Roberto Clemente said, “It was very back-and-forth. They are a lot like us. Their offensive scheme was a lot like ours: we’re downhill, we’re gonna run at you. So it was like playing [against] ourselves.”

Huskies quarterback Esean Johnson prepares to hike the ball at the 44-yard line. (Boomika Velineni)

The offensive scheme of running the football has been a constant for the Wildcats’ last two seasons. And although Friday’s game was similar, it had a different approach than normal. With senior running-back Aryan Gaur (11) returning from an ankle injury and senior RB Alain Gachara (8) sidelined due to a lower leg injury, the Wildcats found themselves with a hole in backfield touches that left opportunities for other running-backs to receive more carries.

One of those RBs was junior Joseph Halim (9), who received a massive workload that included more than 20 carries and a touchdown. Junior RB Devin Garcia (7) had 17 touches and a touchdown, and RB Gaur had 11 touches on a limited snap count, later scoring a fourth quarter touchdown that sealed the game for the Wildcats.

Rewind to the second quarter: the score was tied 7-7. A fumble by Wildcat senior quarterback Aditya Ved (1) was recovered by the Huskies, setting Washington up near their endzone. Taking advantage, Huskies RB Richard Ereno (3) ran double-digit yards to the 17 yard line. Huskies QB Esean Johnson (1) tried to pass to the end zone but found no one open and kept the ball instead. He scrambled left, making it all the way to the 1 yard line. Johnson then handed the ball to RB Jalen Frenchwood (2) who ran for a short touchdown.

The mascots include one bear, Willie the Wildcat, an owl, and two hawks.
Four mascots line up to race down the track for the second time this season. (Boomika Velineni)

Nearing the end of the first half, the Wildcats were losing 14-7, and with new determination, the Wildcat offense raced onto the field to score again before halftime. Starting from their 15 yard line, the Wildcats alternated between handing the ball off to Gaur, Halim and Garcia, running a total of eight times across the field. After a 35-yard run by Halim and an offsides penalty on the Huskies, the Wildcats were in position to score. A 4-yard touchdown run by Garcia sealed the deal, tying the score at 14-14.

Two scores by Ved and a Wildcat RB brought the Wildcats up 28-14 in the third quarter. But on the following kickoff, Frenchwood broke free for a stunning 70-yard punt return touchdown, giving the Huskies a small boost to 28-20. However, the Huskies never regained the lead and after two scores by Halim and Gaur, the game ended with the Wildcats ahead 42-28.