By Austin Block
It was all or nothing for Alemany. Score a touchdown and silence the raucous crowd or go home empty-handed.
On their last drive, with under a minute left, Alemany was dangerously close to scoring the game winning touchdown.
“Wake up,” Head Coach Vic Eumont yelled after an Alemany player escaped being tackled behind the line of scrimmage and ran for a gain.
“[Alemany] tried to hand us the game last year and we didnât take it,” Eumont said, referring to the Wolverines 17-10 loss at Alemany last year. “We gave it back to them.”
Alemany quarterback Vernon Adams tossed the potential game winning touchdown pass toward the endzone and cornerback Mattie Calvert â10 intercepted it at the five yard line, sealing a 24-20 upset for the Wolverines. An “overrated” chant began, followed by the soccer style “olÃ©” cheer. Fans counted down the final seconds.
Players exuberantly sprinted down the field, and the crowd stampeded onto the field after their beloved players. Many in the crowd of athletes and students held up a single finger in the air: the Wolverines were number one.
“Thatâs senior year Homecoming,” Malcolm-Meeks â10 yelled, while raising his helmet in triumph.
“I know this is clichÃ© but I couldnât be happier,” receiver Jackson Liguori â10 said. “We were tougher tonight.”
It started with a four yard run by Jamais Jones â12. It was followed by a 12-yard pass to Liguori from quarterback Max Heltzer â11 for a first down.
Next came a one-yard gain by Jones and a 10-yard reception by Liguori for another first down. Then after two more plays, the Wolverines quickly grabbed momentum and heavy favorite Alemanyâs attention as Heltzer connected with Liguori for a 55-yard touchdown pass, eliciting a “Harvard-Westlake” chant from the large crowd and firing up the team.
The extra point was converted, and just like that, the varsity football team had grabbed a 7-0 lead on their first drive at Homecoming on Saturday, Oct 3.
The excitement did not last long. Alemany all-league running back Malcolm Marable ran 80 yards for a touchdown on the next play, as the Wolverines suddenly gave up their first six points of the season.
Alemany succeeded on the extra point, and the game was jettisoned back to square one, a tie game.
“Donât have to worry about a shutout,” Eumont growled at some players sitting on the bench.
In the second quarter, the Wolverines managed to block an Alemany field goal attempt and Brian Hentschel â10, drilled a 49-yard field goal, giving the Wolverines a slim 10-7 lead and reinvigorating the team and fans.
Once again, Alemany scored a touchdown on a long Marable run, and the visitors took a 14-10 lead into halftime.
In their first drive of the second half, Heltzer found Liguori again, this time for a 64-yard catch and run touchdown, giving the Wolverines a 17-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, with the team starting at their own six-yard line after being pinned by an Alemany punt, Heltzer ran for 17 yards to give his team some breathing room. A couple of plays later, his short pass to Meeks turned into a 73-yard touchdown play that stretched their lead to 24-14.
Alemany responded with their own touchdown on a long reception, but a Wolverine blocked extra point kept the score 24-20 and prevented Alemany from being able to tie the game with a field goal. Calvert intercepted an Alemany pass on the last drive of the game, igniting the celebration.
Halfway through the season, the Wolverines are 4-1, having shutout Lynwood (24-0) and Rosemead (42-0), lost to Chaminade 24-17 and won by default over Franklin when the Los Angeles Unified School District made the school forfeit due to poor air quality.