Homecoming Win

Huskies use interceptions to pick off first win of season

By Molly Roberts
Posted 9/30/20

The Highland varsity football team defeated North Cedar, 55-14, in its Homecoming game on Sept. 25.

The Huskies took advantage of errors in North Cedar’s passing offense, grabbing three …

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Homecoming Win

Huskies use interceptions to pick off first win of season

Posted

The Highland varsity football team defeated North Cedar, 55-14, in its Homecoming game on Sept. 25.

The Huskies took advantage of errors in North Cedar’s passing offense, grabbing three interceptions, two of which led directly to Highland touchdowns.

The Knights recovered a fumble early in the first quarter, which started a four-snap touchdown drive. But Highland immediately responded when senior running back Owen Donovan returned the kickoff 85 yards for the Huskies’ first touchdown.

Then, during North Cedar’s next possession, Donovan jumped up to snatch an interception, which he ran 47 yards into the end zone to give the Huskies an early 13-6 lead.

Luke Miller caught an interception off a long pass from North Cedar quarterback Jaxon Sander in the third quarter, but the Huskies lost the ball three plays later when the Knights recovered a fumble by quarterback Connor Grinstead.

But shortly after a touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, Grinstead intercepted another Knight pass, running it 33 yards to the 2-yard line. On first-and-goal, senior Caedon Harbison broke through the North Cedar line, extending the Huskies’ lead to 48-14.

Co-head coach Scott Morel said being able to capitalize off interceptions kept the momentum rolling for Highland.

“Those are huge, those interceptions,” Morel said. “They’re sudden turnovers and they mean a lot. Good teams make positive outcomes out of those opportunities.”

The Knights drastically out-passed the Huskies, 171 yards to 6. Jaxon completed 14 of his 29 passes, but 10 of those came in the first quarter. Morel said the Huskies focused on adjusting their pass defense during halftime.

“We made the adjustments where they were beating us,” Morel said. “We dropped our guys back and it made a big difference in the second half. We also put a bigger pass rush on their quarterback and we saw the results from that.”

Not only did the Huskies stifle North Cedar’s pass offense in the second half, they also held them to only 104 rushing yards, as opposed to the Huskies’ 419 yards.

Knight running back Tyler Jackson was credited with 18 carries but only accumulated 71 yards, averaging 3.9 yards per carry. In contrast, Highland’s rush leader was Donovan, who picked up 221 yards off 14 carries for an average of 15.8 yards per carry. Grinstead also broke the 100-yard benchmark, picking up 111 yards on nine carries.

With a commanding lead in the fourth quarter, many members of Highland’s junior varsity team took the field, including sophomore quarterback Abbi Stransky. Sophomore Easton Schlabaugh picked up the Huskies’ last touchdown off a 25-yard run that followed three other consecutive carries. Schlabaugh finished the game with 45 rushing yards.

STAT LEADERS

Rushing: Owen Donovan, 14 carries, 221 yards, 2 TDs; Connor Grinstead, 9-111, 2 TDs; Easton Schlabaugh, 4-45, 1 TD; Caedon Harbison, 5-35, 1 TD.

Passing: Grinstead, 2-of-6, 6 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs.

Receiving: Donovan, 2 catches, 6 yards.

Defense: Luke Miller, 7.5 tackles, 1 interception; Donovan, 5 tackles, 1 interception; Grinstead, 5 tackles, 1 interception.

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