AWHS football falls short to Salesian Prep in season opener

Falcons+defense+pounces+on+a+Salesian+Prep+receiver+in+the+final+quarter+on+Saturday.

Cesar Maldonado

Falcons defense pounces on a Salesian Prep receiver in the final quarter on Saturday.

On Saturday, Aug. 27, at 2 p.m., the AWHS Falcons varsity football team took on defending Division Five state champs Salesian College Preparatory Pride. Held on home turf, the Falcons came in with high hopes coming off of last year’s season strong 7-4 overall record. However, the Falcons ultimately failed to deliver, falling to the Pride with a final score of 51-27.

During the first play of the second drive for the Falcons, senior running back Nate Karpay-Brody broke free for a 54-yard rushing touchdown to put the Falcons up 7-0. The Falcons continued their early dominance, stopping the Pride on defense. Nate once again broke free from the Pride, running for a 75-yard touchdown to put AWHS up 14-0 after the first quarter.

AWHS senior reciever Nate Karpay-Brody drives 64 yards for the first touchdown of the season.

Following another Falcons stop on defense, a punt return touchdown by senior wide receiver Parker Freskos was called back for an illegal block by junior outside linebacker Sam Black. Adding insult to injury, a failed snap over the senior quarterback Will Roberts’ head was recovered by the Pride, resulting in the Pride’s first touchdown of the game.

The Pride followed the turnaround with a successful onside kick attempt, then marched down the field for another touchdown. After an unsuccessful drive by the Falcons, including two incomplete passes, the Pride were able to score another touchdown to make the score 21-14.

Junior Nicholas Lillevand accelerates towards the endzone after intercepting a pass from a Salesian Prep receiver. (Cesar Maldonado)

Following another successful onside kick for the Pride, and a fourth straight unanswered touchdown, tensions amongst the two teams began to rise. Following a Pride kickoff to begin the Falcons’ next offensive drive, a shoving match broke out after players from both teams continued to play after the whistle. 

Once the skirmish was settled, the Falcons failed to score, forcing a punt to the Pride, who began dominantly making their way down the field with the aid of several successful running plays. After an unnecessary roughness penalty against the Falcons, and the help of several successful running plays, the Pride were able to rush for a five-yard touchdown with 1:01 left in the first half. 

However, Nate continued his strong first half, rushing 65 yards for his third touchdown of the half. The Falcons ended the first half trailing 33-21.

The second half got off to a hot start for the Falcons, with senior center Miles Franklin recovering a Pride fumble. However, the Pride quickly answered back with a pick-six, making the score 39-21. The Falcons then failed to return an onside kick for the third time of the game. 

“We really just beat ourselves,” Nate said. “It was just little mental mistakes that keep adding up.”

Junior strong safety and kicker Nicholas Lillevand answered back with a pick-six of his own. However, after a series of Falcon turnovers, the Pride began to hit their stride, eventually closing out the game 51-27.

“Not turning over the ball is our biggest thing. Offensively and defensively we played great, we just didn’t get enough possessions in the second half to make it a game,” said Falcons head coach Anthony Jackson. “I would venture to say they ran double or triple the amount of plays that we ran.”

AHWS senior running back Parker Freskos pushes through Salesian Prep defense in the third quarter of Saturday’s game. ( Cesar Maldonado)

Although they came up short, the Falcons’ morale still remains high. 

“Despite the loss, we are happy with a lot of our play and look forward to growing in areas of need,” Nicholas said.

The Falcons varsity football team looks to land themselves in the win column for the first time this season on the road against Lowell High School Sept. 3.