Varsity Football Drops A Close One

Posted on: August 22, 2022

Cody Applying Pressure!

The Turpin Spartans hit the road for their season opener, heading west to face the Oak Hills Highlanders at Betz Memorial Stadium. On a warm Friday evening the Spartans were looking to grow up in a hurry with only 7 returning starters from last year’s playoff squad.

After listening to a less than rousing bagpipe version of “Scotland the Brave”, the Spartans kicked off to open the game. While the Highlanders moved the ball in the first quarter, their two drives ended with a timely Zane Plattner sack and a big fumble recovery by JJ Heath. The offense struggled early with some first game of the season miscues, as a scoreless first quarter ended. The Spartans then energized their faithful backers grinding out a sustained drive, scoring the season’s first score with 4:40 remaining in the half on a 7 yard Clark Helgason pass to Luke Jilek to take a 7 point lead. The Highlanders answered immediately, on a 30 yard TD pass, making the score 7-7 as the 1st half came to a close.

The pace of the game picked significantly after half time. Turpin’s initial drive in the second half saw a long pass play from Helgason to Simon Molloy called back on a penalty. After an interception return into Turpin territory, the Highlanders’ drive stalled, but their kicker pounded through a 40 yard field goal to produce Oak Hill’s first lead of the game. The momentum turned late in the third quarter when Turpin defended a fake punt to take over on downs. The Spartans took advantage of the short field and on third and goal from the 5, Helgason hit Tommy Mehring deep in the end zone for a touchdown and a 13-10 lead. After a long Oak Hills kick return, the Highlanders drove to the Turpin 2 yard, scoring on the first play of the 4th quarter, taking a 17-13 lead.

At a critical point in the game, after a short Turpin possession and punt, Oak Hills looked to extend their lead, but under a heavy rush, the Highlander quarterback threw an interception that Karson Kidd returned 55 yards for a Spartan score. The Kidd score gave the Spartans a 20-17 lead with 7 minutes remaining in the contest. At that point Oak Hills grabbed the momentum back with a lengthy, sustained drive scoring on a 5 yard QB run with 4:45 left. The Highlanders then stopped the Spartans, forcing a late punt and closed out the scoring with a long quarterback run for 31-20 victory.

The Spartans answered several of the preseason questions, by playing a highly competitive game, but could not overcome too many fundamental mistakes on both sides of the ball. While Oak Hills will be remembered as a missed opportunity, the team needs to rally quickly as rival Kings ( #11 in the preseason city poll) is next Friday’s opponent for the home opener. Hoping to see a big crowd supporting the Spartans.