Jets Defeat Reigning League Champs Piedmont

Jets Defeat Reigning League Champs Piedmont


The Encinal High football team improved to 4-1 on the year after a gritty 20-13 victory over Piedmont last Friday, Sept. 23.

The Jets stopped the Highlanders from tying or taking the lead late in the fourth quarter. Piedmont was trailing 20-13 with possession of the ball midway through the final period. With the Jets needing a defensive stop, Encinal junior cornerback Jakari Wilson picked off Highlander quarterback Gordon Faust ending the Piedmont threat. It was Faust’s third pick of the game. Encinal defensive lineman Austin Glushenko picked off Faust’s first interception in the first quarter on a tipped ball deep in Encinal territory. 

Senior Brandon Duckett grabbed Faust’s second interception and ran it back to the Piedmont 30-yard line. This set up a 24-yard touchdown pass from quarterback David Hamilton to Akil Francisco to stretch Encinal’s lead to 14-0 (the Jets made a two-point conversion). 

Duckett had other key plays in the game. Duckett blocked a field goal in the first quarter and returned it to his own 43 to set up a Jet drive. He also scored the Jets’ first touchdown of the game on Encinal’s first possession. 

The Jets took a 14-0 lead into halftime. The Highlanders finally got on the scoreboard in the third period. Encinal drove the ball deep into Piedmont territory on the opening drive of the second half. It appeared Encinal was going to go up by three scores, but Piedmont picked off Hamilton’s pass in its own red zone. The Highlanders drove down and Faust hit Andrew Meredith for a touchdown. The score sparked the Highlanders as they were able to march down for another score this time on a 40-yard pass from Faust to Meredith, however the extra point attempt failed. The Jets led 14-13.

Encinal marched down the field on its next possession and scored on a rushing touchdown by senior Tele Lotomau to stretch the lead to 20-13. The seven-point cushion was all the Jets needed to put the game away.

The Jets’ defense suffocated the Highlander’s offense. Even though Faust threw for two touchdowns, he was held to 7-of-24 passing for just 77 yards. The Jets defense also limited Highlanders running back Nick Pacult to 61 yards on 15 carries, well below his season average. Meanwhile, the Jets were potent on the ground. Duckett rushed for 95 yards on 22 carries and Lotomau carried the ball 11 times for 64 yards.

The Jets will have a bye this week before heading into West Alameda County Conference (WACC) league play against Mt. Eden of Hayward on Oct. 7. Piedmont is also in the WACC, but are in the Foothill Division, while Encinal is in the Shoreline Division.

Alameda (0-5) lost to Northgate of Walnut Creek 50-20 last Friday. The Hornets will take a week off before they start league play against Arroyo of San Lorenzo on Oct. 7.