Mother Nature was kind to the White Hawks when they faced St. Anthony Village for a belated Homecoming game on Friday, November 6th. While the sell-out COVID-19 crowd still left the stands somewhat empty, the 60 degree kickoff was reminiscent of the good-old-days when Homecoming happened in late September. The beautiful weather, Homecoming Royalty, hometown crowd, and a football team that was excited to rebound after last week all culminated in a big night for the White Hawks.
The Huskies kicked off with an unexpected on-side kick to start the game. The White Hawks were ready and recovered it on the 47 yard line, giving them great field position to start the game. These opportunities have been scarce the last few weeks and the White Hawks worked fast to try and capitalize.
Their first set of downs gained little yards as they tried to find weaknesses in the defense. With 4th down in no-man’s land, the White Hawks tried to convert the first down but the Huskies defensive line had other plans and took over on downs. The first drive took over 6 minutes off the clock but left the White Hawks feeling deflated by another scoreless drive. That feeling of defeat did not last long as junior Chris Christensen intercepted the ball and gave new life to the White Hawks. Despite the jolt, the White Hawks could not capitalize. It would take two more series for the White Hawks to finally put together a drive that would pay off. With just a few minutes left in the first quarter, Bowe would scramble and scratch after his reception to find his way to the one yard line. On the brink of a long-awaited touchdown, a false start penalty would move the White Hawks 5 more yards away followed by yet another. First and goal from the 1 quickly became first and goal from the 11 and so the White Hawks settled for 3 by Ben Neve. 3-0 was where the first quarter would end but the White Hawks were about to get some wind beneath their wings in the second quarter.
The Huskies had to punt on their first drive of the second quarter and finally Westonka took advantage. Jake Gaylord passed to Jason Spaeth which he quickly converted into a 66 yard touchdown reception. It was the first touchdown the White Hawks had in a while and now they had a taste for it. Before the first half was over, Tyler Von Bank (25 yard td pass) and Jake Gaylord (35 yard td pass) would each connect with senior Logan Leonard making the score 24-0 with 2 minutes left.
However, the Huskies were not done yet and were quickly threatening to score before the half. They marched their way up the field and a pass interference call put them at the 1 yard line with just seconds to go in the first half. Fortunately the Huskies were all bark and no bite, fumbling the ball and getting tackled short of the elusive endzone. 24-0 was the score at the half.
Senior captains Trent Bowe, Tucker Anderly and Logan Leonard all joined in the halftime festivities as Homecoming Royalty, then quickly got back to work in the second half of play.
The Huskies put up good yards in the third quarter, but still could not score. Neither team made their way to the end zone until, with about 2 minutes left, Tucker Anderly tucked the ball in, broke tackles and rushed for over 51 yards for a touchdown. At the end of the third quarter, the score was 31-0 and that is where it would remain at the end of the game, allowing for some new faces to get some experience in the varsity game and to make for a fun and exciting end to Homecoming week.
At the end of the game it was clear that this victory was a team effort. Tyler Von Bank and Jake Gaylord combined for over 200 yards of passing and three touchdowns. Tucker Anderly finished with over 70 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Ben Neve added 7 points to the score by splitting the uprights 5 times.
While Jason Spaeth and Logan Leonard scored in the air, Will Wallace, Trent Bowe and Chris Christensen also combined for over 100 receiving yards.
The defense held the Huskies scoreless and were led by Joe Zachow and Chris Christensen, each with 5 tackles and Trent Bowe with 4 solo tackles. This team had to pull together to stop the pack and a 3 game losing streak. The White Hawks hope to ride the momentum into next week when they meet the Bloomington Kennedy Eagles for their regular season finale on Thursday, November 12th. Kickoff is set for 7:00pm.
Coach David commented on the win, “Just a couple of months ago we were unsure that we would even have a homecoming game, so we were grateful just for the opportunity. It was great to see the boys come out right from the get go and play with enthusiasm as passion. That fire is something we have been missing these past couple of weeks. We are excited to get a few more guys back from injuries this week and hope that we can keep this positive momentum going into the playoffs.”