By Jeremy Balan
After a dismal first half, the Stuart Hall High School football team came out of the halftime break with a winning proposition on Saturday against Trinity Christian of Monterey.
Trust in Tray.
On the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Stuart Hall senior Tray’von Hicks scored on a 60-yard touchdown run to erase a 8-2 halftime deficit and the Knights never looked back.
Hicks went on to score five more touchdowns in the second half of Stuart Hall’s runaway 52-28 win on Saturday at Kezar Stadium.
Primarily running out of the single wing, Hicks rushed for 358 yards on 36 carries and accounted for over 83 percent of Stuart Hall’s offensive yardage.
“I haven’t had a game like this since Pop Warner, but I have to give it up to the offensive line,” Hicks said. “They did the job. We won this game together.”
A mobile quarterback is nothing new at Stuart Hall, where shifty runner Laboyd Ricard manned the backfield for the past two seasons, but Hicks’ style is not flashy like Ricard’s was.
Hicks instead uses a combination of strength and speed, but also exhibited patience on Saturday night, allowing the holes created by the offensive line to develop with the play. On defense at linebacker, Hicks also had three sacks.
“He’s just so strong,” said Stuart Hall head coach Richard Robinson. “He’ll deliver pain, but he can also get out of the way and get going. I trust him with the ball in his hands. If that works and you can’t stop it, why change it?”
The Knights (2-1, 1-0) scored 50 points in the second half, but struggled mightily to put points on the board in the first. Hicks still ran for 84 yards in the first half, but the Knights failed to score despite driving deep into Trinity territory on each of their four first-half possessions.
The first blunder was a fumble by Hicks late in the first quarter. Then the Knights turned the ball over on downs on the Trinity 5-yard line, lost another possession on a Hicks interception and saw another drive stall in the red zone as time expired in the second quarter.
The Knights even received help from the referees on that final drive of the second half.
On what was supposed to be fourth down from the Trinity 12-yard line (the officials mistakenly said it was third down), Hicks was stopped short of the first-down marker, which should have given the Warriors the ball. A holding penalty was flagged on the play and assessed, but because Hicks was stopped short on what was supposed to be a fourth down, the penalty would have surely been declined if not for the officiating mistake.
The only points Stuart Hall scored in the first half came on a safety, when Trinity quarterback Andrew Ducusin fumbled a snap and fell on the ball in the end zone.
“In the first half, we just weren’t awake all the way,” Robinson said. “Guys came out a little over-amped and when things didn’t go right, they shut down, but at halftime we were still in this game. It was our game to lose and we told them that if they wanted it, they had to go out and take it. We came out and got that quick score and we were on a roll.”
While Hicks shouldered almost all of the offensive load for the Knights on the ground, the Warriors (2-2, 0-1) did most of their damage through the air.
Ducusin connected with receiver Dre Perez for four touchdowns, but once the Knights surged in the second half, the Warriors couldn’t keep pace.
“All of the sudden, we lost the mojo,” said Trinity head coach Harold Lusk. “They popped that quick one and that kinda took more life out of us. Then we decided to just get through the night instead of being victorious and finishing the night.”
The win represents more than just a victory on a large stage for the Knights, now in their third year of varsity 8-man football. It now puts them into first place in the brand-new Mission Trail Athletic League’s 8-man division.
“This is the first game we’ve played in this league and we definitely talked about how important that was at halftime,” Robinson said. “It’s very rewarding, because if you start off with a loss in league, there’s a good chance you aren’t going to win it. Now we’re in a good position.”
TC: 1:30 – Dre Perez 12-yard pass from Andrew Ducusin (Matthew Wright run on conversion)
SH: 7:26 – Safety
SH: 11:40 – Trayvon Hicks 60-yard run (conversion failed)
SH: 9:25 – Ethan Hankins 11-yard run (Hankins run on conversion)
SH: 7:21 – Hicks 3-yard run (Hankins run on conversion)
TC: 6:13 – Perez 20-yard pass from Ducusin (conversion failed)
SH: 10:50 – Hicks 5-yard run (Jimmy Mortenson run on conversion)
TC: 9:09 – Perez 3-yard pass from Ducusin (Ducusin fumble recovery on conversion)
SH: 8:52 – Hicks 76-yard run (conversion failed)
SH: 5:23 – Hicks 15-yard run (McKinney pass from Hicks on conversion)
TC: 4:36 – Perez 52-yard pass from Ducusin (conversion failed)
SH: 2:35 – Hicks 36-yard run (conversion failed)