Sometimes, it’s events that happen outside the white lines that can make a big difference in a football game.
And sure, Friday’s score between Hillsdale and Carlmont will read 34-14 in favor of the Knights in what is a three-touchdown advantage.
But the big play in this, the Peninsula Athletic League Lake Division opener for both teams, can be traced back to the third quarter when a Carlmont 51-yard touchdown pass was negated by a sideline interference penalty that would have tied the score at 21-21. It was a play that should have been Carlmont’s second big play touchdown of the half. But instead, the Scots gained 70 yards the rest of the game while the Knights racked up a total of 540.
Who knows exactly what would have happened had the touchdown stood, perhaps things would have transpired the same way, but no doubt the play (or no play) swung things in Hillsdale’s favor and the Knights took advantage.
“We lose our momentum and then things happens and we have to be able to bounce back from those,” said Carlmont head coach Marcus Farhad. “As a team, I don’t know if it deflated us completely. But it took a little bit of wind out of our sails. It was a big play, we had a lot of energy, we scored and got excited. It happens.”
What happened the entire game was a whole lot of Giancarlo Boscacci. The running back had a monster game, rushing for 253 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns.
“He played his butt of,” said Hillsdale head coach Mike Parodi. “He’s running hard. All our back are really running hard right now and I’m really excited about that.”
Parodi has to be excited with the way his defense executed — especially in that second half. With the exception of a 90-yard touchdown run by Yancey Portis on the first play from scrimmage by Carlmont, Hillsdale pretty much shut down the Scots the entire game. In that first half, when the Knights went into recess up 14-7, Hillsdale outgained the Scots 332 to 97 — having only run three more offensive plays from scrimmage. In the second half, if you subtract Portis’ run, that yardage shrunk to 47.
“We played the way we should have been playing all along,” Parodi said. “Early on, we had those turnovers and did some things I’m not OK with and we’re going to fix. When we played our caliber of football, we played well and I was very happy with the way we played.”
Carlmont capitalized on Hillsdale second fumble by turning it into the equalizing score courtesy of Portis and a 28-yard screen turned touchdown.
Hillsdale came back and retook the lead with Brandon Butcher catching a Cole Carrithers pass with 1:02 left in the half to make it 14-7. Carrithers was sharp in the first half. He passed for 124 yards, completing 8 of 13 attempts.
Still, Carlmont felt pretty good to only be down seven heading into halftime.
“We had good energy,” Farhad said. “DJ (Diariea James), it was his first game back so the team just rallied behind him. We stepped up but we have to capitalize on the turnovers we get. We just got banged up and worn out. They took it to us. We have to be a little more discipline and stay in our gaps. We go back to work and we’re going to get better.”
That energy rose with Portis’ big run and sank just as quickly following the penalty that would have made it 21-21 after John Paran’s TD catch gave Hillsdale a lead.
After the yellow flag, Hillsdale really clamped down and Boscacci punished the Carlmont defense — adding touchdown runs of 88 and 33 yards.
“Our defense is underrated,” Parodi said. “I hope people keep thinking [we are just about offense] because our defense is pretty darn good. I’ve been very happy with our defensive performance all year long.
“We’re trying to win five league games one at time. We’re 1-0 right now. Tomorrow morning (Saturday) we’re 0-0 again. That’s the mentality we’ve spoke about since spring, since January. Everyone has bought in. That’s how we roll. Each week is a one-week championship.”