Knights Finish Strong in Road Victory

The Knights ended their season on a high note, defeating San Carlos 26-25.

Knights Finish Strong in Road Victory

Alexi Aguilar

The Knights wrapped their first season last Friday night as they took on the Braves of San Carlos High School. The result was the Knights second win of the season, topping the Braves in a close, hard-fought game. The Knights trailed at halftime 19-12 before rattling off 14 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter to take a 26-19 lead. The Braves made an attempt at a comeback but fell short, falling by one point in the final game of the season, giving the Knights a 26-25 victory.

Coach’s Words of Wisdom

I recently caught up with Coach Blue to get his thoughts on the game and to reflect on the season as a whole.

Q: Can you give me a brief summary of what happened on Friday?

A: It was a tough game. We made it tougher on our own than it should have been. It was a good battle. We eventually won the game, but we went back and forth and fight to climb back into it, going into the last minute, having our defense on the field, having to hold them from getting into field goal range with a 1-point lead. It was a good, quality win for a program that is trying to grow and gain experience. It was tough, but I’m glad we came out with the win.

Q: Why do you say you made it tougher on your own?

A: It was mostly ourselves. We were making mistakes, not tackling. We had a gameplan to not kick to #24, but we kicked to him a couple times. He would put them in good field position, putting our defense in a bad position. We had a couple of big drops that could have been touchdowns. We weren’t able to run the ball, unable to hit the right holes, and every once in a while an offensive lineman would miss an assignment, and it was a key assignment they needed to execute. We mostly put ourselves into that situation. We got out to an early lead, and they weren’t doing anything different than what we saw on film, which worked right into our gameplan.

Q: Why was the passing game so successful in this game?

A: It’s been there for the past 3 weeks, but we haven’t been catching the ball. Mark Chavez had a dynamite final half of the season. He ended up being the second leading passer in the Metro East, but he probably would have been #1 if we make some of those catches. He’s been on target, and the offensive line has done a great job all year in pass protection. Our center Octavio Diaz has been consistently getting the ball back to him. That whole aspect of the game has been clicking. The reason the numbers aren’t showing that is because of drops. We’ve had a lot of receivers dropping balls that should have been caught. Mark has only missed three or four bad passes the last two weeks. Other than that, he’s been on target. It’s just a matter of catching the ball. We probably should have gone over 300 yards passing in this game, but only ended up around 160 yards

Q: What impressed you the most in this game?

A: Our defense. They were put in bad situations throughout the game, and they consistently battled and stood up with the kickoff returns putting us in negative territory, scoring a pick-6 on defense for the first time all year. The defense came out to play and allowed our offense to make mistakes and still survive. The defense made a huge difference in this game.

Q: Being down at halftime, what clicked in the 3rd quarter, scoring 14 unanswered?

A: I told them at halftime that we had the right gameplan, it just came down to executing and making those plays we didn’t in the first half. In the second half, they started making those plays, holding them and then eventually scoring.

Q: Looking at the season as a whole, what are your thoughts?

A: I’ve already started doing breakdowns and looking at the stats, looking at the roster and seeing who’s coming back next year. We accomplished what we wanted to. I would have liked to see more in the win column, but as far as setting a foundation and giving them football knowledge, I think we’re further along than we thought we’d be, starting 17 freshman and sophomores, which is more than almost everyone in the state. To still be able to compete and have an understanding of the game is my takeaway. They’re confident in what they’re doing and a lot of them are coming back, which hopefully will lead to a successful year two.

Q: What do you want the players to take away from this first season?

A: Confidence. I’m doing exit interviews now and the big thing I’m telling them is that they’ve grown so much, which could be hard to see when you look in the mirror. I want them to know that they accomplished a lot, and I want them to be confident going into the future. We are a good football team, we’re young and inexperienced, and we played older, experienced teams, but we are very talented. Getting them to realize that is the key to ending this season and carrying that into the offseason.

Q: Looking at the bigger picture, where do you see this program going forward?

A: We have a very bright future. We have a lot of players who were #1 in their class statistically, in part to playing a lot of freshman and sophomores, who don’t typically play varsity football. Our future is very bright. We have a ton of talent, who are just now learning how to play football, and we’ll be going into next year only losing four players. We’re going to make a huge jump next year, and then carrying those players over to the third year, I think we have a very bright future for this program.

What’s Next?

With ACP’s inaugural varsity football season now in the rearview mirror, it is time to look ahead to the future. The team showed its character all season long and will look to improve and become a force to be reckoned with for years to come.