Wolverines’ shaky start leads to 42-21 defeat


Thomas Glover ’18 avoids a tackler en route to a first down rush. Credit: Aaron Park/Chronicle

Aaron Park

Old ghosts in run defense continued to haunt the Wolverines as the team dropped its penultimate non-league match 42-21 Friday night against the El Camino Real Conquistadors.

The Conquistadors utilized a physical rushing attack to control the game, similar to how the Wolverines’ previous opponent, Garfield, leaned heavily on the inside run. Late in the second half, El Camino was able to bleed time off the clock with long rushing drives, limiting the Wolverines’ scoring opportunities. In total, the Wolverines surrendered six touchdowns, four of which came on the ground. 

The Wolverines offense lacked rhythm early in the game and were unable to mount a scoring drive until the third quarter.  Quarterback Jameson Wang ’20 could not move the offense and threw a first-half interception, prompting head coach Scot Ruggles to consider benching his starting quarterback.  Late in the first quarter, El Camino returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown.

The second half held better results for the Wolverines, who managed to close the gap to a single score with 20 seconds remaining in the third quarter.  Wang and the offense managed to move the sticks, while wide receiver Zach Harleston ’17 scored a pair of touchdowns on long catch-and-run plays.

Football: El Camino Real 23, Harvard-Westlake 7 6:53 left in 3rd. Wang to Harleston for 40-yard TD pass.

A video posted by Harvard-Westlake Athletics (@hwathletics) on Sep 16, 2016 at 8:55pm PDT

“We just realized we could actually win this game,” team captain Odin Hernandez ’17 said, “We came out third quarter, we actually got a couple touchdowns in there too.  We realized we were actually in this, so we started just going full-on.”

However, it was that point that the Conquistadors’ ground attack took off, driving the ball down the field to set up a 25-yard touchdown pass.  The Wolverines’ next possession ended with a turnover on downs, as Wang’s deep pass narrowly missed Harleston’s outstretched hands.  Shortly thereafter, El Camino punched in a 5-yard touchdown with 3:40 to go in the final quarter.

Wang finished the night with a pair of passing touchdowns and a pair of interceptions and a single rushing touchdown. Harleston led the receiver corps with his two touchdowns, while defensive back Cam Jones ’18 intercepted a ball early in the first half.  The Wolverines also recorded three blocked PAT’s on special teams.

The Wolverines will play Dominguez next Friday at home.