Hornets Homecoming Not So Sweet

Ben Wiley -- The Alameda Hornets took on the Arroyo High in Friday's Homecoming game.

Hornets Homecoming Not So Sweet

The Alameda High School (AHS) Hornets football team lost to Arroyo High School of San Lorenzo by the final score of 35-14, dropping their overall record to 3-3-1 and their league record to 1-1.

On Oct. 14, the Hornets welcomed the Dons to Thompson Field for the school’s annual homecoming game. After beating San Lorenzo High, 44-14, in their last game, the Hornets came into this game looking to make it back-to-back league wins against the schools from San Lorenzo. However, they were not able to parlay the presence of a larger than normal crowd filled with many students and family members into a victory, largely because of numerous mistakes on both offense and defense.

The Hornets jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, scoring on their first possession via quarterback Eli Slez’s 24-yard touchdown pass to receiver Christian Baca. The Dons answered right back, scoring a touchdown on a fourth down passing play on their opening drive. On Alameda’s ensuing possession, a touchdown catch was wiped out by a penalty and the Dons ended up getting the ball back after an incomplete pass on fourth down.

After both defenses settled down for a few minutes, the next big play came when Slez threw an errant pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown to put the Dons up 14-7. A few moments later, Baca scored again for the Hornets on a double reverse. Yet, it was the Dons who would take the lead and momentum into halftime. They managed to score very late in the second quarter to go up 21-14 at the break.

The Dons took their momentum into the second half where they dominated the Hornets on both sides of the ball. AHS committed three more turnovers, the first two happening on back-to-back possessions. Their offensive futility allowed the Dons to wear out their defense and extend their lead to double digits.

In addition to the turnovers, numerous penalties hurt Alameda on offense as well as they canceled out some big plays. Likewise on defense, the Hornets had trouble wrapping up tackles and stopping Arroyo from making explosive plays.

After the game AHS Head Coach Robin Morris explained what his team has to do to correct their problems.

“We have to go back to basics like teaching blocking and tackling as there were a lot of mistakes

Today,” said Morris. “On defense, we need to rally to the ball and don’t wait for someone else to make the tackle. On offense we have to be a little smarter at finishing plays.”

Morris and his staff are still in the midst of attempting to rebuild this high school football program. Morris said that they are trying to get more students to come out for football as the team needs more depth. Currently, there are seven to eight players that play both offense and defense, and the second string is all first-year football players.

“Our coaching staff is trying to change the culture, but it is still a work in progress,” said assistant Head Coach Ruben Amos. “These kids don’t know how to win football games. Because of COVID, some didn’t play JV football and are now playing varsity as juniors or seniors.”

Despite the loss, AHS students had a good time, especially during the halftime homecoming festivities. The Hornets have three games remaining in their 2022 season. They will face Newark Memorial High School this Friday at Thompson Field.

Ben Wiley is an Alameda Sun contributor. To reach Wiley, email editor@alamedasun.com.