Varsity Football: Strake Jesuit 29, Hastings 17
Liam Smith ’19, Sports Editor
Before the varsity football game on October 12, against Alief Hastings, Head Coach Klay Kubiak said, “They have twenty returning starters from a year ago, and they won the district last year. They’ve got lots experience and wins; they’re a really confident football team, so this game isn’t going to be easy. We’re going to play the football we know how to play and see how we match up.”
Our players took to the field with the understanding that playing within their system is likely to yield fewer mistakes, such as turnovers, which can hand any game, even a shootout, to the opponent’s favor.
Pearland, Hastings, and Strake Jesuit were all sitting atop the district 23-6A standings. A win against formidable Hastings could foreshadow who would make it out of the district come November. If Dawson was the favorite to win the district, Hastings was the experienced veteran who knows they can win when it counts. In a hostile foreign environment, this game promised to test the Crusader’s postseason prospects.
Both teams started with three-and-out offensive drives. On the second Hastings drive, Strake Jesuit forced an interception on 4th and 4. Four plays later, RB Michael Wiley scored from 20 yards out.
7-0 Strake Jesuit
After a bend-but-don’t break defensive drive that ended in a 4th-and-goal stand, Strake Jesuit went three-and-out because a costly fumble with the snap.
Hastings led a quick-strike drive to retaliate. In six plays consisting of QB runs and passes through the seams of the defense, Hastings scored with an easy 20-yard lob over our corner back.
The next drive for Strake Jesuit started well with quick 40-yard and 9-yard slashes by RB Dylan Campbell. Then came mistakes. Wiley tripped in the backfield on 2nd and 1. After that, QB Michael Hansen was blitzed and scrambled for his life just to get back to the line of scrimmage. On 4th and 1, FB William Dickason—with sure hands— caught a pass in the flat off of play action. RB Campbell gashed the defense again for 8 yards and fumbled; luckily, Wiley recovered. Hastings called a timeout and in consecutive plays caused an incomplete pass, stuffed Campbell at the line of scrimmage, yet managed to leave TE Thomas Gordon wide open. Gordon, however, couldn’t come down with a catch. Jesuit settled for a FG after draining nearly five minutes off the clock.
After Hastings received the kickoff, they took a knee to run the remaining seconds off the clock.
10-7 Strake Jesuit
The locker was ecstatic with coaches reviewing signals to make sure their players understood calls. In such a close game, a team would usually be antsy. The team knew they could be up two, maybe three touchdowns, and they were dying to get back on the field and prove it. Hastings felt the same way: their veteran front still stood as both teams were within three points of each other. Each team was tripping over themselves in a race against time to see who could gain control over the game. The district inclinations could have been weighing on the players’ minds.
Coach Kubiak expressed to his players, “The more physical team is going to win. I need two more quarters of 100% effort out of you guys. Let’s do what we came here to do and how we planned to do it.”
After a Hastings three-and-out, their punter shanked the ball, allowing the Crusaders to start at the 50-yard line. A mistake in our formation on 3rd and 2 warranted an early timeout in the half. Hansen barely threw the ball away before a sack and almost tallied an interception. An illegal formation penalty put us at 4th and 8. Strake Jesuit turned over the ball on downs; Hansen nearly threw another interception hitting the safety square in the chest.
Hastings went three and out and shanked another punt only to their 46 yard line.
Soon, Dylan Campbell ran for a 40-yard touchdown; the whole sideline caught its breath while our crowd erupted after much anticipation. We missed the extra point—casting a shade of doubt in the case of close game. Would this uneven 9 point lead come back to bite us? 16-7
Hastings took a deep shot right out of the gate trying to catch the Jesuit defense off guard. Luckily, DB Camden Terry deflected the ball away. LB Christian Gordon and SS Dylan Cho almost came down with interceptions in consecutive plays. The defense blew up Hastings’ screen on 3rd and 20.
After three dink and dunk plays, Hansen dropped a 40-yard touchdown on the dime to WR Nathaniel Beal—his 7th TD of the year. After making it a 23-7 game, the sideline felt it had its swagger back, until . . .
Hastings answered with a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. 23-14 Strake Jesuit
WR Caleb Crawford had a nifty kickoff return to put Strake Jesuit on their 48 yard line. However, Hansen got sacked, putting the offense behind the chains the rest of the drive. However, Hastings questionably called a timeout; their surge of momentum felt watered down by the quarter change, and this self inflicted lull of time. Three and out nevertheless.
Hastings went 65 yards in four plays. Yet, they shot themselves in the foot with fumble and a consecutive penalty—making it 3rd and goal from the 14 yard line. Hastings settled for a 40 yd field goal, making it 23-17.
With the lead suddenly shrinking to six points, Strake Jesuit answered with maybe their best play of the year. Hansen saw a hole in the coverage and found FB William Dickason WIDE OPEN 40 yards down the field. Dickason, ironically being the fullback, managed to outrun the nearest defensive back for the next 30 yards and score. Strake Jesuit tried to make up for the missed extra point with a faked kick. It didn’t work. 29-17.
Strake Jesuit’s kickoff bounced out of bounds and Hastings made another questionable decision: they opted for a rekick. On 3rd and 2 near their own 30, LB Drew Koenig made a seemingly critical sack on the QB. Hastings converted on 4th and 6 and got to the 45. A play later, they were on the opposite 45. Strake Jesuit played preventative defense, making sure no break in coverage would allow a deep touchdown pass. After these quick flurry of strikes, we forced another sack on 3rd and 10. This time on 4th and 14, the defense made their stop.
Wiley iced the game with a first down, and Strake Jesuit walked out of Crump Stadium unscathed with a 29-17 victory.