Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Hillsdale’s Brandon Butcher hauls in the first of his two touchdown catches during the Knights’ 28-6 win over El Camino Friday night.
Things started easy for the Hillsdale football team as it hosted El Camino under the portable lights in San Mateo Friday night.
The Knights took the opening kickoff and marched 58 yards on 12 plays to take a quick 7-0 lead.
Then things got tough for the Knights. They allowed a 57-yard touchdown run before turning the ball over three times in the first half.
Despite the adversity, Hillsdale managed to get everything pointed in the right direction. The Knights led 14-6 at halftime on their way to a 28-6 win over the Colts to put them in the driver’s seat for the Peninsula Athletic League’s Lake Division title.
“It was an adverse situation (in the first half) and we kept on truckin’,” said Hillsdale coach Mike Parodi. “Our kids stepped up and made plays.”
Which is the exact opposite of what El Camino could not do, according to coach Mark Turner.
“They (Hillsdale) made plays,” Turner said. “We had opportunities and we didn’t make plays.”
Hillsdale’s win, coupled with King’s Academy’s 49-14 win over Carlmont means next week’s King’s Academy-Hillsdale game in San Mateo Friday afternoon will decide the Lake Division champion and the division’s lone automatic berth into the Central Coast Section playoffs.
Hillsdale (4-0 PAL Lake, 6-2 overall) scored a touchdown in every quarter as the Knights amassed 380 yards of offense. Receiver Brandon Butcher hauled in touchdown passes of 2 and 32 yards from quarterback Cole Carrithers, finishing with six catches for 92 yards. Carrithers finished the night with three touchdown and 195 yards on 12 of 19 passing. Running back Giancarlo Boscacci finished with 76 yards rushing and a touchdown catch of 42 yards to finish with 118 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns.
There were a couple of things the Knights proved Friday night: one, they are more than just a passing team. They ran for 185 yards and since they were leading in the second half, threw the ball only five times.
“We never set out with the idea to throw this many times or run the ball this many times. We take what the defense gives us,” Parodi said. “We do not discriminate against yards, points or wins. We’ll take them however we can get them.”
The second thing Hillsdale proved is that it can play some defense. The Knights have allowed a total of 13 points over the last two weeks and other than one big play, shut down El Camino running back Brandon Gip.
All told, Hillsdale allowed only 144 yards of total offense. Take away a phenomenal 57-yard run from Gip — one that saw him run over four tacklers — and the Colts managed only 87 yards for the rest of the game.
“We talked all week about (what it takes to stop the Colts’ offense),” Parodi said. “We’re set up to stop the run, but it’s up to [the players] to do it.”
Butcher hauled in a 2-yard scoring pass from Carrithers to put Hillsdale up 7-0 less than five minutes into the game, but El Camino (2-2, 5-3) got on the scoreboard late in the first quarter on Gip’s beastmode run. Hillsdale’s John Paran, however, blocked the extra point attempt and the Colts still trailed 7-6.
That would be as close as El Camino would be the rest of the night as the Colts failed to take advantage of any of the turnovers Hillsdale committed.
The Knights’ second turnover came deep in their own territory with El Camino recovering a fumble at the Hillsdale 8-yard line. The Knights’ defense held firm, however, and they denied the Colts any points when a 28-yard field goal attempt was partially blocked and came up well short.
The Knights finally got its offense on track late in the second quarter and seized momentum going into halftime when Boscacci turned a slow-developing screen pass into a 42-yard score to put Hillsdale up 14-6 at the break.
Hillsdale upped its lead to 21-6 on its first drive of the third quarter, needing eight plays to go 36 yards following an 8-yard El Camino punt. Boscacci took it in from a yard out for the score.
The Knights put the icing on cake late in the fourth when Carrithers hooked up with Butcher again, this time for a 32-yard scoring strike with 3:41 to play.
“It was awesome,” Parodi said. “Before the game, we talked about … having fun. We were pretty loose. When you get uptight, bad things happen.”