Saratoga suffers first loss of season

September 11, 2009 — by David Eng and Karthik Annaamalai

Saratoga’s first loss of the season was a tale of two halves as the Falcons dropped their opening game 42-36 to visiting Santa Teresa High.

It hardly seemed like the atmosphere that would yield a Saratoga loss, with the support of a spirited, football-starved crowd spanning the length of the Benny Pierce home bleachers, not to mention being backed by a massive band and a team of spunky cheerleaders.
The Falcons snatched a commanding 27-7 advantage with four minutes to go in the second quarter. Senior running back tandem Grant Thomas rushed for a remarkable three touchdowns and Jian Lee also tallied a touchdown. Despite their stunning first-half ground performance, Thomas and Lee’s ground game could not prevent the win from slipping through their team’s fingertips.

The sea of red Falcons jogged off to the locker rooms at halftime relatively satisfied with a 27-14 lead. However, this cushion was not large enough for the rough third quarter that would ensue.

A mass of orange and blue Santa Teresa fans erupted into celebration after the Saints’ kickoff return man Jeno Cornejo returned the second half opening kickoff for a 92-yard touchdown. The following Saratoga drive resulted in a costly turnover , which gave their opponents a chance to take their first lead of the game.

Santa Teresa tailback Mark Borland took advantage, thrusting himself into the endzone for a 2-yard touchdown on his team’s subsequent possession. This was just the second of his four touchdowns of the evening. After their kicker tacked on the extra point, Santa Teresa grabbed a 28-27 advantage, a lead that they would not relinquish.

The Falcons struggled back, showing signs of life on a drive early in the fourth quarter, this time taking advantage with a pass.

Deep in his team’s own territory quarterback senior Vincent Carstens displayed particular resilience on a broken play, escaping the snare of three would-be tacklers and throwing down field for a monster gain. He would later connect with wide receiver junior Chris Guengerich for the Falcon’s only big score of the second half. Junior kicker Peter Auvil added a 25-yard field goal later that period, bringing the Falcons to just a 42-36 deficit. However, after Saratoga’s failed onside kick, the Saints ran down the clock to win the game.

Saratoga will look for its first victory of the season on the road Sept. 11, when the Falcons travel to Westmont High.

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