Jets Come Back to Beat Huskies

Adia Hawthorne    Sophomore left tackle Simeon Mitchell protects David Romero-Reinholz’s blindside during the Jets’ 35-24 victory.

With six minutes remaining before halftime, the Encinal Jets found themselves down 8-0 to Fortuna High School (FHS) in the first round of the North Coast Section (NCS) Division V playoffs.

The Huskies had just finished an 11-minute, 13-play drive that was punctuated by a Daeden Taylor touchdown run. But the No. 1 seed Jets needed just 14 seconds to respond. Senior Micah Konapiliahi hauled in a 63-yard touchdown catch from senior quarterback David Romero-Reinholz to narrow the Huskies’ lead to 8-7.

“When the ball was thrown, it wasn’t really for me, but I went for it,” said Konapiliahi. “All that was going on in my head was ‘Don’t drop it, don’t drop it.’”

The touchdown was the beginning of a 35-point unanswered stretch that cemented the victory for the Jets. Encinal High School (EHS) defeated No. 8 FHS, 35-24, last Friday, Nov. 15, at Willie Stargell Field, nicknamed “The Swamp” by the Jets.

Quick plays were a theme for EHS in the contest. The Huskies looked to score once more before the half was over, but senior Teddy Oliver returned an interception 75 yards for a score, giving the Jets a 14-8 halftime lead. EHS would not relinquish the lead for the rest of the game.

Two one-yard touchdown runs by running back Archie Cole and a 55-yard touchdown reception from Romero-Reinholz to Oliver in the second half gave the Jets a 35-8 lead. The Jets pounded the football with Cole for much of the third quarter.

“Running the ball a lot was working well for us,” said sophomore left tackle Simeon Mitchell. “We played phenomenally and we blocked until the whistle.”

But the Huskies didn’t throw in the towel, showing why they are two-time defending NCS champions. FHS ate up most of the clock in the fourth quarter with their veer offense. Jordan Bennett scored two touchdowns and two 2-point conversions bringing the score to 35-24. The 24 points were the second most given up by the Jets’ defense all season. However, it was too little, too late.

“We were ready to (win).” said senior tackle Kauakahi Kahuaui. “Because in the playoffs it is win or go home.”

No. 1 Encinal (10-1) will face No. 4 De Anza High of Richmond (10-1) tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Stargell Field.