By Ryan Owens, Online Sports Editor
// The greatest teams in sports are always resilient. The Acalanes football team showed plenty of resiliency Friday night as they defeated Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep 44-14 under the lights of historic Kezar stadium in San Francisco.
Sacred Heart marched down the field on the first possession of their season, with two big plays leading to a passing touchdown. The big plays surrendered by the Dons’ normally stout defense was uncharacteristic.
“We weren’t ourselves on the first drive. We made a few mental mistakes and forgot some of our basic fundamentals,” senior defensive back Jack Miles said.
After Acalanes lost a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, the defense returned to form, forcing a 3 and out. On the Dons’ second drive, senior quarterback Mikey O’Donnell suffered an ankle injury that would keep him out for the remainder of the game.
Junior Brady Huchingson got the call at quarterback, and he stepped up big time for Acalanes. On that same drive, a long catch and run from senior Jake Delaney off a screen pass put the Dons in the red zone. Huchingson escaped multiple defenders and found senior Ryan Reily in the corner of the endzone to even the score at 7 a few plays later.
Acalanes did not allow a point in the second quarter, shutting down all parts of the Scared Heart attack.
“Coach Ortega did a great job of calming us down and correcting our mistakes. We came out with more energy and we executed much better for the rest of the game,” Miles said.
With just over two minutes left in the first half, the Dons took over on their own 15 yard line. The offense drove down the field, highlighted by a long pass from Huchingson to senior Jack Muren and junior Hunter Ridley kicked a short field goal as Acalanes took a 10-7 lead going into the half.
The second half saw a lot more offensive firepower, mostly from Acalanes. The Dons took a 17-7 lead on the first possession of the half on another Huchingson to Muren hookup. The Fighting Irish answered with a touchdown of their own to keep the game close. Those points would the last the dominant Acalanes defense would allow.
The game was all Dons from there. Senior Lucas Eppinger made a Sportscenter worthy one-handed catch on 4th down to set up the first of Delaney’s two consecutive rushing touchdowns. Huchingson threw a 60 yard bomb to Muren for good measure to put Acalanes up 37-14.
Huchingson completed 13 of 21 passes for 266 yards, with 151 of those going to Muren. Delaney finished with 67 yards on the ground and added 59 yards receiving. Junior Joey Carillo added two sacks for the Dons defense.
The Dons face a tough challenge next week, as they will travel to the beautiful Napa Memorial stadium and take on a big, physical Vintage squad. Containing the Crushers’ vaunted rushing attack will be crucial to success.
“We need to limit big plays from Vintage. It will be a very hard fought, physical game but we are confident that we can stop their rushing attack,” Miles said.