Skyhawks Fall to Warriors 30-14 on senior night, Will Start Playoffs on the Road

Kyle Pinnell

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It all came down to one game. A win over the Aloha Warriors in their final regular season game would give the Southridge Skyhawks a home playoff game for the first time in over three years. A loss would force them to prepare for a playoff game on the road.

It will be the latter scenario that occurs as the Warriors (5-4) defeated the Skyhawks (4-5) 30-14 Friday night at Southridge High School as the rain unrelentingly poured down from start to finish.

“It wasn’t about X’s and O’s for [Aloha]. They played with their hearts, and we didn’t really come out to play that hard. Shoutout to Aloha and respect to them,” senior receiver Graham Auer said.

The game got off to a quick start with Warriors running back, Imami Jamali, running into the endzone to give Aloha a 7-0 lead after their first possession. Just three minutes later, Southridge quarterback, Darik Salinas, found tight end Kade Hustler open on a crossing route for a 16-yard touchdown to tie the game. The next few possessions would be rough for the Skyhawks.

Just two minutes after throwing the game-tying touchdown, Salinas threw an interception to the Warriors’ Payton Volk who returned the ball 32 yards and into the end zone for a pic-six. After that play, the game slowed down.

Salinas’ very next throw was another interception, but the Skyhawks intercepted the ball right back the next snap. After a few more interceptions and a substantial amount of turnover-on-downs, the Warriors took a 28-7 lead into the half.

While the Skyhawks held Aloha to just two second-half points, the damage was done and their offense just couldn’t find any sort of rhythm.

One key player that the Skyhawks were missing was senior running back Blake Sims who sat out because of a concussion picked up in the Beaverton game last week. Sims, who has been held out recently because of a hamstring injury, plays a big role in opening up the offense. Without him, defenses can play tighter defense against receivers, like Keyvaun Eady, and feel more confident rushing the quarterback.

“It’s just [Sims’] leadership,” senior linebacker Zach Hald said about the absence. “He’s such a great leader on the field, gets everyone going, keeps people in the game, and he’s just a great tailback.”

Just two weeks ago the Warriors lost at home to the Mountainside Mavericks, a team that the Skyhawks defeated 56-17 in week five. That might have led to some overconfidence heading into Friday night.

“We just saw their loss to Mountainside,” Hald said. “We had some swagger after having a good game against Mountainside, but I guess we just underestimated our opponent.”

It was senior night and for a lot of players on the roster, tonight was their last time to run out onto the field as a Skyhawks football player, and in some way or another they all made plenty of memories.

Auer has been a part of the Skyhawk football program since he was in third grade. He’s had multiple coaches throughout the years but has been ingrained in the program.

“It goes by fast,” Auer said. “It has been a great time since third grade on this field. It’s a hard way to end.”

Hald has only played high school football for one year and says that he will miss the team dinners on Wednesday night and all the bonding activities that they have.

“I just came out here to have fun,” Hald said. “I came out here to have a good time and play with my team.”

With the loss, the Hawks will not get the home playoff game that they so desperately wanted. However, they are still in the playoffs and will play again next week against an unknown opponent on the road.

The Hawks will have a lot to prepare this week to be ready for the playoffs and prevent a repeat of tonight’s result.

“We need to be more disciplined on the line, just not jumping offsides, and knowing every little thing we got to do to stop the defense and offense,” Hald said.

“We got to use [this loss] for motivation in practice this week,” Auer added. “Hopefully we can do that and get back to Southridge football next week.”