Football team spars with mighty Trojans, defeat Firebirds to end season

November 16, 2015 — by Allison Lin and Summer Smith
Photo by Sweeya Raj

The Falcons face off against the Milpitas Trojans.

Hand in hand, the varsity boys walked onto the Benny Pierce field one last time this year to face Fremont on the chilly night last Friday. The 14 seniors on the team knew it might be the last game of their high school football career.

To have any chance to play in CCS, the boys had to win. Playing one of their best games of the year, they crushed the Firebirds 63-20.

But to their disappointment two days later, they learned they had not qualified for CCS.

The team ended with a De Anza league record of 2-4 and an overall record of 4-6.

Though Friday night’s big win didn’t result in the playoff berth they were opening for, it was one they took pride in.

“It was Senior Night and we were motivated to win the game for our seniors and have them end their last football game at Saratoga with a win,” junior captain and wide receiver Kian Ghelichkhani said.

In the first quarter, the Falcons scored a touchdown within the first three minutes. The touchdown was scored by Ghelichkhani. The Falcons continued to pile on touchdowns.

After the Firebirds scored, they executed several failed offside kicks that gave the Falcons strong field position and led to quick scores. The Falcons managed to put 49 points on the board by the end of the first half.

“Our passing game was very sharp and our entire offense was clicking on all cylinders which allowed us to put up a lot of points,” senior wide receiver Joseph Eschen said. “Our defense was suffocating and almost shut them out, and they just gave up a few lucky passes that Fremont was able to take for touchdowns.”

In the game, senior running back Alex Hawks had several long runs and added to the impressive 984 rushing yards and nine touchdowns he piled up this season. He averaged 5.2 yards made per carry.

A week earlier, the result was almost the reverse against the league-leading Milpitas Trojans in what could be characterized as a David and Goliath matchup. The team lost 54-7, with the single touchdown scored by Hawks.  

The Trojans, who had previously beaten other powerhouse teams including the Los Gatos Wildcats and the Wilcox Chargers, entered this game against the Falcons with a 4-0 record in the De Anza league and a 6-2 overall record. The lopsided victory can be partially attributed to the fact that the Trojan players were much larger than the Falcons, with their biggest player standing at 6-7 inches and weighing 380 pounds. In the past, the Falcon players have suffered multiple injuries and concussions in matchups against Milpitas (though they did beat the Trojans in the Miracle at Milpitas in 2012).

“They're always the best team in the league, and it's fun playing against the really good guys,” senior wide receiver Matthew Zung said.

During the game, Ghelichkhani, an integral part of the Falcon defense, returned to the field after sitting out of the previous game against Wilcox due to an injury.

During the first half against Milpitas, the Trojans scored four touchdowns, accumulating 32 points.

Hawks scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter after a handoff from junior quarterback Will Liddle. Hawks’ breakaway began more than 50 yards away from the Falcons’ endzone. Sprinting down the field at full speed with two Trojans at his heel, Hawks managed to escape their grasp and slip into the endzone, bringing up the Falcons’ score. Hawks finished the night with 90 yards on 13 carries and Liddle added 20 yards on five tries.

Although the defensive lineup and strategy had improved over the season, it was not enough to impede the Trojan offense. By the end of the fourth quarter, the Trojans had seven touchdowns.

According to Zung, the Trojans ran their double wing offense for nearly the entire game. This strategy ensures that the Trojans “are going to win 99 percent of the time,” he said.

“They're just too big upfront in the trenches,” Zung said. “In both halves, we knew what we had to do, and we knew that their weakness was their cleanliness of play, but their double wing offense was too much for us.”

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