Friday afternoon’s football game at Carlmont High School will literally be a tale of two 3-2 teams going in two very different directions.
Visiting Hillsdale High School, the defending Lake Division champions in the Peninsula Athletic League, come into the game riding a two-game losing streak. The Knights are also trying to rebound from a disappointing league-opening 23-20 loss to El Camino last week.
By contrast, Carlmont has won its last two games and comes into this week’s game, the Scots’ league opener, with all of the confidence in the world. In part from an eight-point win last week over Skyline of Oakland, but mostly because Carlmont snapped a 21-year losing streak to Aragon two weeks ago with a solid 20-6 victory over the Dons.
“We are really looking forward to the league season,” Scots coach Jason Selli said during practice this week at Carlmont. “The kids are really getting ready and working hard, too.”
The Scots figure to lean heavily on the legs of running back Robert Johnson, who racked up 240 yards rushing last week against Skyline and 191 yards on the ground in the win over Aragon.
“[Robert] is our main part of the offense,” Selli said.
If the Knights manage to contain Johnson, they will have to deal with Scots quarterback Jack Karasky, who is capable of moving the ball through the air when needed.
“Hopefully we will focus on our execution and come out and play hard on Friday,” Selli said. “But [Hillsdale] is a well-coached team with its back against the wall and they are going to come out and play like it.”
Despite the back-to-back losses, Hillsdale coach Mike Parodi is not ready to throw in the towel this early.
“Everything is in place with this team,” Parodi said. “We just need to go out and do the job. As coaches, we’ve been trying to fix what hasn’t been working and our players are ready to go out there and fix it too.”
The players Parodi is counting on to “fix” the team’s losing ways and even their league record are the offensive line and quarterback Yannis Tsagarakis.
“Those six guys are the heart and soul of this team,” Parodi said. “They, and our entire team, need to start doing what they have done in the past. If they do, we’ll start winning.”
As for the Scots, Parodi knows his team is facing a tough challenge.
“They are athletic up front, active and physical on defense,” Parodi said. “They really dictate the game. They make sure they do what they want and that you don’t do what you want to do.”
Both coaches agree whichever team can dictate the game will likely be the team ahead on the scoreboard at the end.
WHEN: Friday, 3 p.m.
WHERE: Carlmont High School
COACHES: Carlmont, Jason Selli; Hillsdale, Mike Parodi
LEAGUE: PAL Lake Division
KEY PLAYERS: Carlmont, QB Jack Karasky, RB Robert Johnson; Hillsdale, QB Yannis Tsagarakis
LAST WEEK: Carlmont defeated Skyline (Oakland) 28-20; Hillsdale lost to El Camino 23-20