EHS student Luis Verduzco-Ramirez contributed to this story.
Jets Defense Outscores Offense in 26-0 Victory
The Encinal High School (EHS) Jets football team used its defensive prowess to give previously unbeaten Skyline High (3-1) of Oakland its first loss on the season Friday, Sept. 20 at Stargell Field.
The Jets best offense in the non-conference bout was its defense. With its offense sputtering for much of the contest the Jets turned to its defense to put points on the board. The Jets forced five turnovers in the game. They returned three of those turnovers for touchdowns.
After leading 7-0 in the third quarter, EHS senior linebacker Jezaiah Naigulevu tackled Skyline quarterback Richardo Vidaurri, forcing him to fumble. Junior defensive back Keirr Stewart recovered the fumble and ran 40 yards down the field for the score. The Jets missed the extra point attempt.
With EHS leading Skyline 13-0 midway through the fourth quarter, Naigulevu stepped in front of a crossing route with perfect timing and came up with an interception that he returned 48 yards into the end zone. This gave the Jets a commanding 20-0 lead.
After the pick-six, Skyline replaced Vidaurri at quarterback with Geraldo Johnson. However, the quarterback change did not stop the Jets’ defense from turning another turnover into a touchdown. Senior defensive back Isaiah Smith picked off Johnson’s pass and returned it 37 yards for a score. The third defensive touchdown of the night secured the Jets’ 26-0 victory.
The Jets did have an offensive touchdown in the contest. It came in the second quarter after neither team could put points on the board in the first. After being set up by a 39-yard run by Smith, the longest play of the game, senior quarterback David Romero-Reinholz hit senior wide receiver Teddy Oliver for a 20-yard pass completion and a touchdown.
This was the Jets’ fourth shutout of the season. The others came in a 42-0 win against Washington High of Fremont in the season opener on Aug. 23, a 58-0 victory over Sebastopol of Analy on Aug. 30 and a 42-0 victory in the Island Bowl against Alameda High School on Sept. 13.
“It is kind of expected,” said Stewart. “With the work we put in we should be shutting out teams.”
The Jets are now 4-1 overall. They will begin West Alameda County Conference Foothill League play tomorrow against Castro Valley High at home. The game is also EHS’ homecoming game.