Skyhawks “Grow Up”, Defeat Beavers 35-30 in Penultimate Game

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Skyhawks “Grow Up”, Defeat Beavers 35-30 in Penultimate Game

Kyle Pinnell

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The Southridge Skyhawks only needed three points to defeat their cross-town rivals.

With just under a minute remaining in the game and up by five, Southridge kicker, Nathan Mercer, came onto the field to attempt a field goal that would seal the game.  

The ball didn’t even make it to the uprights.

The Beaverton Beavers blocked the kick and linebacker Hunter Franklin scooped the ball up and had plenty of room to return the ball towards the right. One more block would have given the Beavers the lead in a game that they were all but out of seconds before.

Around the fifty yard line, Southridge receiver, Joshua Calo, shoved Franklin out of bounds, preventing what would have been a heartbreaking loss.

Less than ten snaps later the Skyhawks (4-4) got the job done, topping the Beavers 35-30 (4-4) in a must-win, back-and-forth game at Beaverton High School Friday night.

“We’ve always had close games with Beaverton and hats off to them, they played hard, but beating them at their home field two years in a row says a lot about where our program is heading,” Southridge head coach Kevin Bickler said.

Before Calo forced Franklin out of bounds on the return, he scored the touchdown that gave the Skyhawks the lead for good.

With just over six minutes in the game and facing fourth-down near midfield, the Skyhawks decided to go for it. Hanging in the pocket just long enough, quarterback Darik Salinas was able to find Calo wide open thirty-yards down the middle of the field and let it fly.

“It was fourth down and they played man coverage on me. I didn’t see a lot of man coverage all night so when I saw that I knew that I might be able to get freed up,” Calo said. “Darik had the confidence to come to me on that on fourth down and I’m glad he did because it paid off.”

“I saw a one-on-one matchup and I’ll take that any day with any of my receivers,” Salinas added.

For the second year in a row, it was the Skyhawk’s execution down the stretch that led them to a road win at Beaverton High School. While last year they needed a late drive on offense to defeat the Beavers 36-33, this year it came down to their defense. On the final two possessions, the Hawks forced both an interception and a turnover-on-downs.

“In crucial moments we get an interception, and we get a defensive stand,” Bickler said. “That’s a testament to our kids again with adversity and our defense stepping up when we really needed it.”

When the Skyhawks needed to convert a third or fourth down, Salinas was able to find the open receiver almost every time. Tight end Kade Hustler caught multiple twenty-plus yards passes to move the chains throughout the night while Calo came up with an important touchdown on a fourth-down situation late in the game.

“[That trust] gives us a lot of confidence because whenever we are on the field, we know that we can go and get a big first down and that played out for us in this game,” Calo said. “We got a lot of huge first downs that shifted the momentum to our side.”

“On third and fourth down our philosophy and identity as a team is that we’re going to take risks, we’re going to take chances, and we’re going to play the odds,” Bickler said.

On Friday night, like most of the season, the odds have worked out in their favor.

After being sidelined for last weeks game at Jesuit due to a pulled hamstring, Sims made his return to the lineup and finished with two touchdowns. However, Sims was on the sideline for much of the second half getting attended to by the athletic trainer. Bickler is hopeful that Sims will play next week against Aloha.

Sims opened up the scoring for the Skyhawks with 2:48 left in the first quarter as he caught a screen pass, reversed field, and outran the Beaver defense on his way to a 13-yard touchdown on third-and-long.

The Beavers would go ahead again after a Parker McKenna 8 yard touchdown. However, the Hawks tied the game at fourteen right before halftime as Salinas found Hustler in the back of the endzone for a 1-yard touchdown.

After the game, Bickler talked about how well he thought the Hawks handled the night’s adversity. “Our kids were in tough, crucial situations and always came through when we needed plays,” he said. “Our team really grew up tonight.”

Next week the Skyhawks return home to take on the Aloha Warriors on senior night. The Warriors are on the brink of the playoffs and has a lot to play for in the season finale. For the Hawks, a win will guarantee at least one more home game.

“We just have to come out and be ready, and take care of business because there’s a lot at stake for us and our playoff draw,” Calo said. “We know it’s going to be a big game and we just have to go out and get the job done.”