By Jeremy Balan
Don’t let the score fool you, Saturday was a good day for Stuart Hall.
The Knights’ (0-1) 52-2 loss to Crystal Springs Uplands of Hillsborough on Treasure Island was overshadowed by the fact that Stuart Hall was playing it’s first 8-man football game in school history.
“It’s a great day because we have football,” said Stuart Hall head coach and athletic director John Bertken. “We had a lot of people out here who had fun and they’re going to see us get better.”
The Stuart Hall community did have a considerable turnout on Saturday and Stuart Hall officials spotlight a sense of community as one of the team’s key purposes.
“The thing that’s exciting about it was that it was an event,” said Tony Farrell, Stuart Hall’s head of school. “The biggest thing is to have Saturdays like this. You get Saturday afternoon football. The number-one goal is to enhance our guys’ high school experience. I couldn’t be happier.”
Even though the event was a success, on the field, it was clear that the two programs are at different levels.
The Knights were clearly outmatched on both sides of the ball, by a Crystal Springs team that went 6-1 last season.
“We didn’t do what we’re capable of doing, but we’re going to learn from this one, obviously,” Bertken said. “We’re going to build on each and every game.”
Crystal Springs, which began its own football program just three seasons ago, out-gained the Knights 227-76, led by 162 yards on 18 carries from running back Jeff Grimes.
“It was what we expected,” said Crystal Springs head coach Kevin Thorson. “They did well for their first time ever. They had a few mistakes here and there, but they’ll clean that up.”
The mistakes began early, when Stuart Hall junior quarterback LaBoyd Ricard threw an interception on the Knights’ first play from scrimmage, and continued throughout, as bad snaps and miscommunication often stalled Stuart Hall drives.
“We didn’t execute as much as we were supposed to,” said Stuart Hall senior running back/linebacker Rahsaan Johnson. “We had a lot of holes and a lot of first-game kinks we should have gotten over early.”
Ricard provided the Knights’ most exciting moment with an interception in the second quarter that he returned to the Crystal Springs 2-yard line. The Knights’ could not capitalize on the turnover, however, and scored their only points on a safety after bad Crystal Springs snap went into the back of the end zone.
Still, some of those kinks are to be expected from a team that is largely composed of first-time football players.
“It was the first time we’ve stepped on the field, our first time in that situation,” Bertken said. “The positive thing is that their spirits are still good and they’re very positive. They know what we need to do next week in practice. I think we’re going to be fine.”
CS: 8:40 — Jeff Grimes 1-yard run (Grimes run on conversion)
CS: 3:29 — Grimes 7-yard run (Chris Bell run on conversion)
SH: 1:57 — Safety on bad snap
CS: 0:11 — Andy Martinez 21-yard pass from Bell (Conversion failed)
CS: 7:13 — Bell 10-yard run (Bell run on conversion)
CS: 3:54 — Bell 12-yard run (Conversion failed)
CS: 9:17 — Grimes 42-yard run (Grimes run on conversion)
CS: 3:50 — Richard Livingston 5-yard run (Livingston run on conversion)
Slideshow by AJ Canaria