By Sam Adams
The Wolverine football team opened its season in style with a 41-0 trouncing of Franklin High School Friday night. Running back TeâRhon OâNeal â09 rushed for 243 yards and scored three touchdowns in the victory.
An effective offense led by senior quarterback Sean Berman scored five total touchdowns. Berman connected with half-back Malcolm Caldwell-Meeks â10 in the first quarter for a score, and again with wide receiver Corey Vann â09 in the third quarter. Berman ended the night with 9 completions in 21 attempts for a total of 144 passing yards.
The defense proved stingy, denying the Franklin Panthers of any scoring or breakout plays. Avery Rosin â09 and Gavin McCourt â09 both intercepted passes in the second quarter that were converted into Wolverine touchdowns on the following drives.
Prior to the game, Head Coach Vic Eumont compared the Franklin team to that of Carson High School, one of the top football programs in the area.
âWe were surprised, [Franklin] was a very good team last year,â Eumont said.Â âWe made some big plays tonight, but we made some silly penalties. We can never relax, though, and I hope we learned that tonight.â
OâNeal has emerged as a team leader, solidifying his role with his performance tonight.
âWe went into battle tonight,â OâNeal said. âWe put our hearts out there, and I was just there, ready to support the team. It was a team effort.â
OâNeal has not received enough recognition in high school football player rankings, Eumont said.
âWhen TeâRhon found out that he wasnât on the list of the top California running backs, he was not happy about that,â he said. âI think you could see that on the field tonight.â
OâNeal said he thought his performance tonight may get him some attention.
âHopefully, theyâll start to recognize,â he said.
In only the second season since light stands were installed at Ted Slavin Field, the atmosphere of the game was similar to the traditional, âFriday Night Lightsâ style of high school football. Cheerleaders held up a banner emblazoned with the slogan âPound the Panthers,â which the team ran through immediately before the game. The cheer squad, which has incorporated stunting into their routines for the first time this year, performed for bleachers full of students and parents who had come out to watch the game.
The Harvard-Westlake Fanatics made their presence known, dressing in capes and face paint and leading chants ranging from the standard âHar-vard West-lakeâ to, as the outcome of the game became more and more clear, asking the opposing crowd âWhy so serious?âÂ
âI was surprised and very excited to see the team play as well as it did,â Taylor Flohr â09 said.
The Wolverines play their next game on Friday, Sept. 12 against Lynwood at Ted Slavin Field.