Football: Five turnovers lead to second round CCS loss to Seaside

December 1, 2009 — by Karthik Annamalai and David Eng

When the fall sports season kicked off in early September, second-year football coach Tim Lugo had a vision for his team to play through Thanksgiving. Three months later, his vision was realized.

The Falcons earned a chance to play the afternoon ensuing Turkey Day with a hard-fought first-round 30-20 victory over Burlingame the week prior. They were slotted to play the No. 2 seeded Seaside Spartans at Westmont High.

But a win was not in the cards for the Falcons, dropping their season-ending game 28-19. However, they certainly gave the heavily favored Spartans a run for their money.

The Falcons’ five turnovers ultimately overshadowed a huge game by senior running back Grant Thomas, who accounted for all of the Falcons’ three touchdowns. He racked up a pair of rushing touchdowns and also scored on a deep pass from senior quarterback Vincent Carstens.

However, the Falcon football program stepped off the field into the muggy Friday night looking at the semifinal loss as more than just an “L” in the loss column. Finishing at 6-6 in one of the toughest leagues in the section and playing deep into the DIII CCS playoffs, the Falcon football players said they had a lot to be proud of.

“This season was a good transition to what our program could be,” said senior lineman Connor Clarke, who will play football next year in college. “I’m really happy to be a part of this.”

A lot of the success the Falcons experienced this season can be attributed to the leadership of Lugo and the rest of his coaching staff.

“With coach Lugo, the attitude is a lot different for our team,” said Clarke. “There is a lot more control for the team and I just like him personally as a coach.”

Carstens, who had thrown for 77 yards per game and seven touchdowns prior to the Seaside loss, also had nothing but praise for his head coach.

“He did a really nice job,” said Carstens. “He kept us in line and he expanded our offense this year. The Wing-T offense is typically a running offense, but he expanded it, putting me in the gun formation and letting us throw a little.”

Thomas also flourished in Lugo’s Wing-T offense, eclipsing the 1,000 yard rush mark and scoring an incredible 13 touchdowns in just 12 games.

“Grant Thomas had a great season this year,” said senior defensive end Adam Oreglia. “He was a really important leader on the team as well. He always inspired people to work harder.”

Oreglia also noted the success of Saratoga’s unusually young defense, which featured two sophomores and just four seniors.

“The defense had some big shoes to fill from last year,” said Oreglia. “I think we performed better in the second half of the season because it took our young players a couple of weeks to get used to the speed of the game. Towards the end of the year, we were really solid.”

It seems as if the football team has a bright future to look towards if they put their minds to it.

“Next year is going to be a very big year,” said Oreglia. “We have a lot of young players who will be back. Putting the pads on again next year is going to be exciting.”

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