East County Sports

Patriots finish off Matadors in red zone

Mount Miguel junior Saul Salgado kicks off the 2021 season. / P.J. Panebianco




EastCountySports.com staff report

SAN CARLOS —– In a contest that saw both teams run up and down the field throughout the first half, Patrick Henry was able to complete all three drives for touchdowns while visiting Mount Miguel turned the ball over on downs in the red zone each time.

The result was a 21-0 halftime lead for the host Patriots, en route to a 42-7 conquest of the Matadors in Thursday’s (Aug. 19) season opener.

Pats running back Tabias Harris posted three short TD runs, while the Patrick Henry defense came up with defensive stops to make the final score deceptively lopsided.

Both offenses compiled more than 300 in total yards, yet Patrick Henry came up with defensive stops at the most opportune moments.

However, a game of one-upmanship by the Matadors may have keyed the early going when head coach Troy Starr decided to give the Patriots a taste of their own usual tactics, which includes using an on-side kick for all kickoffs.

Mount Miguel elected to open the game/season with a sneaky onside kick of their own. However, the Pats recovered, then scored in the contest’s opening minute on a 6-yard rush by Harris.

Patrick Henry then switched tactics and went to its passing game

Quarterback Malachai Ghitman completes a series of three mid-range passes for the next score. Ghitman connected Omar Hammond (26 yards), Jeremiah Symington (22), then Hammond again on a wide-open 25-yard score when he was left uncovered.

Hammond finished with four receptions for 83 yards.

The Patriots then attempted their own onside kick, but Mount Miguel recovered near midfield and went on another long drive. However, they again stalled inside the Pats’ 20.

The hosts then returned to the ground game, as a Harris run of 29 yards set up his own 6-yard gallop for a 21-0 lead.

Among the fourth-down stops by Henry were tackles by Hassan Noureddine and Koa Altmeyer, while the ballclub also recovered a third-quarter fumble.

The second half saw Harris cash in on another 5-yard TD run.

Ghitman fired his second TD pass on a 29-yarder to Hammond, while Caprece Pressly romped for a 42-yard score in the closing minutes.

Mount Miguel averted the shutout with a score in the game’s final minute to avoid equalling the school’s worst shutout loss this century (Helix 42-0 in 2014).

The Matadors’ top yard-gainer on the night, junior Davian McGowan, had a 19-yard run late in the game, taking the ball to midfield.

McGowan followed that run with a jaunt through the middle of the line for 35 yards, then two plays later, rushed 11 yards to the Henry 3.

McGowan carried the ball across the goal line on the next carry for the score with just a couple of ticks remaining in the game.

Salgado’s PAT was punched straight through after Jeremiah Castillo pulled down a high, hard snap quickly for his man to boot.

“It was a good test,” Mount Miguel head coach Troy Starr said. “We have some really good kids who played hard, we just didn’t have enough. We have quality players and we are going to get better.”

Junior Sterling Rutledge and senior Joseph Madonia were very active on the defensive line for the Matadors.

Mount Miguel has now lost six of its last seven meetings with schools from the City Conference.

For Patrick Henry, Harris, a senior, rushed 16 times for 119 yards and his three scores. Through the air, Ghitman, a junior completed 9-of-11 passes for 132 yards, while Jonny Nelson completed his lone attempt for 57 yards to Makai Elliot.

Mount Miguel (0-1)..  0  0  0  7 --  7
Patrick Henry (1-0). 14  7  7 14 -- 42
PH – Harris 5 run (M.Garcia kick)
PH – Hammond 25 pass from Ghitman  (M.Garcia kick)
PH – Harris 6 run (M.Garcia kick)
PH – Harris 5 run (M.Garcaa kick)
PH – Hammond 29 pass from Ghitman  (M.Garcia kick)
PH – Pressly  42 run (M.Garcia kick)
MM – Not reported


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