Football (1-3) lost to Westview High School (4-0) 7-10 on Sept. 18, unable to overcome the Wolverines’ fortified defense.
A series of Wolverine drives dominated the first half of the first quarter, until an incomplete pass and a timeout turned the ball over to TPHS at the Falcons’ 17-yard line.
“It definitely puts the momentum down when [our] defense is out there for the first six minutes of the game, staying on the field constantly,” running back Tristen Alesi (12) said.
After a series of short drives, a 13-yard pass from quarterback Caden Kelley (12) to wide receiver Lukas Braun (12), followed by a 25-yard pickup on third down by Alesi, brought the Falcons into Wolverine territory. But the Falcons did not manage to score in time, ending the first quarter 0-0.
The second quarter was riddled with incomplete passes and quick turnovers by both teams, which “put off the rhythm” of the game, according to Kelley.
“It’s hard when we’re not moving the ball as well as we should,” Kelley said. “We just struggled to find a rhythm on offense, and we could never really get it going.”
Although Westview’s defense made it difficult for TPHS to move down the field in the second quarter, the Falcons’ defense was just as persistent, sacking the Wolverine quarterback three times and preventing big plays from Westview. Yet a personal foul on the Falcons gave a 15-yard advantage to the Wolverines with four minutes left in the quarter, putting them within striking distance of the Falcon end zone.
“It’s pretty demeaning for our offense to go in [and] turn the ball over,” running back Matt Feeler (12) said. “But our defense kept fighting and … did a great job out there.”
With three minutes left in the half and Westview at the Falcons’ 10-yard line, the Wolverine quarterback was sacked on the third down. Feeling the pressure to score, the Wolverines made a 27-yard field goal, bumping up the score to 3-0 and taking the lead.
“The turnover battle definitely [had] a big effect on the game,” Alesi said. “If you turn over too many times, your momentum goes down, and nobody is really hyped up to go back out there again and make the play.”
At the start of the third quarter, the Falcons converted once but were pushed back nine yards by a strong Wolverine defense. After eight minutes, Westview intercepted a Falcon pass and made a crucial 20-yard run toward the end zone, getting stopped at the 7-yard line.
Although TPHS stopped Westview’s first scoring attempt by sacking the Wolverine quarterback, the Wolverines turned around and scored with an 18-yard pass with two and a half minutes left in the third quarter, bringing the score to 10-0.
The final quarter began with a Falcon touchdown by Alesi within the first eight seconds, boosting the score to 10-7 and putting the Falcons back in the game.
“We ran a play designed to … fake [Westview] out to the corner and then run to a post, [giving] me a margin of separation,” Alesi said. “We all came out fired up after that on that kickoff, and [it was] really a big momentum changer at that point.”
With the Falcons trailing the Wolverines closely, the rest of the fourth quarter consisted of a series of turnovers and failures to convert. Although the Falcons managed to prevent another Wolverine touchdown at the 6-yard line with four minutes left in the game, the Falcons were unable to capitalize on the momentum from their previous touchdown when they regained possession of the ball.
“Our momentum was up and down,” Feeler said. “We felt like we should’ve been ‘in’ the game the whole time.”
The game ended with a series of unsuccessful attempts by the Falcons to move the ball down field, and a final score of 10-7.
“I felt like we had opportunities,” TPHS head coach Ron Gladnick said. “[In] a lot of our passes and our passing game, we had open receivers, but we either didn’t protect our quarterback enough or we didn’t make those throws when they were there for us to make.”
The Falcons next game is against the Poway High School Titans (2-2) on Sept. 25 at Ed Burke Field.