Eagles drop season finale to Falcons

By: Jim Ratajczak, The Telegraph
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SACRAMENTO— After a tough loss to Union Mine last week, the Vista del Lago varsity Eagles came into Saturday’s game against Christian Brothers hoping history would repeat itself. The team’s two previous wins this season came on Saturday afternoons but injuries to key players and a shaky first half led to a 35-15 loss to the Falcons. “We were beat up pretty good,” said head coach Chris Jones. “We didn’t have some of our regulars, we lost a couple of guys during the game. We took a bit of a beating.” Despite not having Cody Woods or Nick Marshall available to play, the Eagles were able to play at Christian Brothers’ fast pace out of the gate. Falcons quarterback Michael Lahey got his team on the board early with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Nick Stathos three minutes into the game. But the Eagles answered right back thanks to a Marques White, who caught a short pass from quarterback Anthony Mull and ran it in for the score. Trey Hairabedian caught the two-point conversion and Vista had the lead, 8-7. But the lead was short-lived. Seconds later, Falcons running back Josh Tucker ran the kickoff back for a touchdown and the Eagles’ first half began to unravel, down 14-8. Hairabedian, Vista’s main offensive weapon, saw his season come to a premature end towards the end of the first quarter. He limped off the field following a short run and spent the rest of the game icing his knee. In the second half, the Falcons scored three unanswered touchdowns, the first on a handoff to Tucker, the second and third on handoffs to running back Marcus McDaniel. Vista did threaten in the half’s closing moments thanks in part to a timely catch by receiver Spencer Hatten, which got the team a first down and put them in Falcons territory. But with one second left and the Eagles at fourth and goal on the 9, Hatten was unable to score on a Mull pass and was brought down at the 1 yard line. Down 35-8 at the half, Jones was well aware of the danger of his team giving up. “We asked our kids to compete in the second half,” he said. “We told them how we finished the half would set the tone for next year.” If that’s truly the case, then Vista has cause for some optimism. The Eagles held the Falcons scoreless over the final two quarters despite facing the same lineup that put 35 points on the board before the half. The team added another touchdown early in the fourth on a quarterback sneak but the Eagles could get no closer and the game ended 35-15. Before the season began, Jones said his team believed it could win 5 games. The Eagles came up short in the win column but he’s still pleased with what he saw in the varsity program’s first year. “I’m excited about what we’ve done,” he said. “It’s been a good start for us. It’s been a valuable learning experience.” Even the players are excited to hit the field once again now that the first season is under their belts. “I think if everyone does what they need to do, to hit the weights, we’ll be much better next year,” said White. JV at a glance The junior varsity Eagles dropped their season ender as well, 48-6. “They took it to us early and we were making a lot of mistakes,” said head coach John Hardwick. “But we came out in the second half and played with much more intensity.” Like the varsity squad, the JV Eagles believed they stood a chance to win 5. “At the beginning of the year, we said if we could be competitive in 5 games, we’d be happy,” said Hardwick. “But towards the end of the year, we lost focus.”