It was Senior Night at Patrick Henry High School on Friday, and the Patriots (5-4) celebrated with a 49-14 win over Hoover (0-9). Though the score might look lopsided, one of the biggest stories of the night came from the Cardinals’ sideline, as they found the end zone for the first time this season.
Patrick Henry dominated the contest from the beginning, as star running back Dominick Silvels took a pitch on the first play from scrimmage 31 yards down to the Hoover four yard line. He would set up his own touchdown run from one yard out three plays later. After forcing a three and out on defense, Silvels returned the ensuing punt 49 yards for another Patriots score, breaking tackles and pushing defenders to the ground on his way to the end zone. After leading 14-0 just five minutes into the first quarter, Dallas Potts took a handoff 40 yards inside the red zone, setting up a Colin Frye four yard touchdown run. Forcing another punt defensively, Silvels would take another kick 52 yards to the house (almost identical to his first return touchdown), for it only to be called back by a clipping penalty. Quarterback Bryan Pace would not mind as he would find a wide open Ryan “Macho Man” Savage for a 50 yard touchdown strike through the air. With 2:00 minutes left to play in the first quarter, Patrick Henry had already taken a commanding 28-0 lead.
Just when it started to look like the “same ol’” for Hoover, the story turned around for the Cardinals. Halfway through the second quarter, quarterback Jack Fanning found himself in a rhythm. Completing back to back passes, Fanning took a shot deep, looking for Angel Bermudez. Bermudez would out-time his defender on the jump ball, and after making one Patriot miss, he was in a race towards the end zone. And in the blink of an eye, Hoover had scored their first points of the season on a 74 yard touchdown pass. It was certainly a great moment for a team struggling for highlights this year. The entire offense celebrated in joyous hugs inside the end zone for the first time all season, and in some small way I have to admit, I was really excited for them. But it wouldn’t be the last score for the Cardinals, not on this night. Unfortunately Fanning would suffer an apparent right leg injury late in the second quarter and would not return. Backup quarterback Nathaniel Grinter would step into action with the confidence to keep firing downfield. It would payoff for him and the Cardinals in the fourth quarter, as Grinter connected with Deonte’ Jackson for 47 yards and another Hoover touchdown. “I was just trying to go up and fight for the ball. I knew it had to be mine. I knew we had to score,” said Jackson. “We waited a long time… a long time. So it was time for one.”
I spoke with Hoover Head Coach Jimmy Morgans after the game, about the volumes it speaks of his players, to continue to put in the work and sacrifice in a willingness to get better. He got emotional when commenting, “We might be taking ‘baby steps’, but we’re striving to get better…These guys, they work so hard. I love these guys.” The Cardinals will play their final game of the regular season next week at home against La Jolla High (5-4). The Vikings defense has yielded just eight points in their past three games, but don’t expect that to down the Cardinals’ confidence tonight.
Patrick Henry is still undefeated in conference play, and the Patriots are simply one win away from celebrating an outright City League Championship. Traveling to Serra (4-5) for the final week of the regular season, the Conquistadors’ only conference win came against Hoover. I’d expect another heavy dose of Dominick Silvels, as he would be my recommendation to either Mike or Danielle for a Week 11 Fantasy Pick.
PREVIEW: The Patrick Henry Patriots (4-4) sit alone at the top of the City League, controlling their own destiny, with just two weeks left in the regular season. One of the last opponents standing in the way of a League Championship for the Patriots is the Hoover Cardinals (0-8).
Patrick Henry is in the midst of a very respectable three game winning streak. Two of those victories came against conference opponents La Jolla High (4-5) and University City (4-4), putting the Patriots in the comfortable position they are currently in. Getting the majority of the attention for Patrick Henry is Senior standout running back Dominick Silvels. Averaging 7.6 yards per carry with 7 total touchdowns, the potential Silver Pigskin Finalist produces highlight after highlight. A week ago Silvels led a Patriots backfield that rushed for a season high 224 yards and 5 touchdowns. However, going under the radar, Senior wide receiver/free safety “Macho Man” Ryan Savage is the clear go-to guy for quarterback Bryan Pace in the passing game. Savage has 42 catches, while no other Patriot has 10. He is also one yard shy of leading the City League in receiving yards, though he does have a League high four interceptions on defense. One of those interceptions came in Week 7 to seal a victory against La Jolla High, as the Vikings were looking to complete a game-tying two point conversion. Senior linebackers Marc Mendez and R.J. Ruckle are also a pair of Patriots to watch defensively, as Mendez is second in the League in sacks, while Ruckle is second in the League in total tackles respectively.
Hoover is still looking for the their first win of the season as Jack Fanning and Vivaldo Castillo lead the Cardinals into San Carlos on Friday night. A team with a lot of youth has much to look forward to in the coming years, and a hopeful Hoover team might be looking to play some tricks on the Patriots as we near Halloween. Kickoff is at 6:30pm from Patrick Henry High School. Be sure to catch the highlights on the Prep Pigskin Report at 10:30pm, only on KUSI.