Jets Shoot Down Hornets in Perfect Season

Ekene Ikeme    Encinal’s stout defense allowed just six points in the 63rd Island Bowl against crosstown rival Alameda. The victory gave the Jets back-to-back victories in the rivalry game. The Hornets, however, still lead the all-time series 32-29-2.

 

This year’s Island Bowl had the makings of being a competitive ballgame. Both teams were on impressive hot stretches leading up to the contest. Encinal High was a perfect 8-0 and Alameda High was in the midst of a three-game win streak before the game last Friday on Thompson Field. But the Jets made sure any thought of a close ballgame in the 63rd Island Bowl never materialized on the way to its 44-6 victory. 

Encinal remained undefeated (9-0) with a remarkable performance on offense and defense. They held the Hornets offense in check for much of the contest. One of the few bright spots for the Hornets came in the opening possession of the game. The Jets were on offense and faced a fourth-and-four inside Alameda territory. 

Encinal quarterback Theori Oliver rolled to his left and passed to Kenden Robinson Jr., but the pass was defended well by an Alameda cornerback and ruled incomplete. However, the Hornets’ offense could not do much with the momentum and gave the ball back to Encinal after a three-and-out. 

On the Jets’ next drive, Encinal senior Taj Banks Jr. capped off a three-play drive with a 20-yard run through the middle of the Hornets’ defense for the first touchdown of the game. The Jets converted a two-point conversion to take an 8-0 lead. 

Two possessions later Oliver scored on a 25-yard touchdown run to cap off another three-play drive. A two-point conversion made the score 16-0 with 9:45 remaining in the second quarter.

The next time Encinal’s offense was on the field it did not take three plays to put it in the end zone, it took just one. The Hornets punted after another three-and-out, the Jets’ offense took over at their own 36-yard line. Oliver dropped back and threw a deep pass to Robinson who caught it and ran in for the Jets’ third touchdown of the first half. Another two-point conversion made the score 24-0 with more than seven minutes left in the first half.

The second half was more of the same. The Jets added a touchdown run by senior Abdul Holland and touchdown passes from Oliver to Robinson in the second half. The Hornets were able to get on the scoreboard late in the game.

The Jets overwhelmed the Hornets with a balanced offensive attack. Oliver went 15-of-22 passing for 276 yards and three touchdowns. Oliver, Banks and Holland combined to rush for 242 yards on the ground and another three touchdowns. 

The Jets clinched the West Alameda County Conference Shoreline title with the win. They are 4-0 in league with one game remaining against San Lorenzo, who is 1-3 in the league. A win tomorrow against the Rebels will give the Jets a perfect 10-0 regular season and a possible top-six seed in the North Coast Section (NCS) Div. III playoffs.

The Hornets record moved to 4-5 overall. They are in second place in the Shoreline League at 3-1. They will try to finish the regular season at .500 with a win over Hayward tomorrow on the road. Either way the Jets are expected to qualify for the NCS Div. II playoffs next week.