News From Prep
Posted October 16, 2012
Coming off a 3-Game Winning Streak, Prep Football Is 2-0 in the Prep League
The Flintridge Prep varsity Football team began League play on October 6th, confronting the Chadwick Dolphins in their annual homecoming game. After four quarters of passionate play, the Rebels put up a 54-19 victory before a joyful crowd, whose noisy celebrations suggested a long-standing hunger for victory was being satisfied at last.
At the heart of this year’s season is newfound depth on the field. “It’s the most seniors we’ve had on the team since I started,” says West Nowotny ‘13. Thanks to crucial recruiting efforts by Nowotny and others, four seniors and one junior either returned to the program after time away or came out for the first time. Without question, their efforts paid off. After repeatedly forcing games into overtime, facing opponents in unrelenting heat, and securing commanding wins, the Rebels emerged from their preseason 2-3. Though battered, they had confidence in themselves and their ability to win.
Prep’s hard-earned mettle was on full display against the Dolphins. Wasting no time, the Rebels got on the board five minutes into the game with a touchdown by Kurt Kozacik ’13. Less than a minute later, Nowotny sacked the Dolphins quarterback, forcing them to punt. Rounding out the first quarter, Stefan Smith ’14 scored a touchdown and the Rebels successfully converted 2 points to take a 14-0 lead. And they never looked back. Smith scored his 2nd touchdown in the second quarter and quarterback Clayton Weirick ’13 ran into the end zone for a 2-point conversion. Unwilling to concede, the Dolphins scored a touchdown to end the half down 22-6. Opening the third quarter with a 25 yard run, Chadwick hit an unyielding Rebels defense that nearly stole the ball and forced a punt. Helped by Kareem Ismail’s 32 yard run, Smith scored his 3rd touchdown and Weirick put the ball in Kozacik’s hands for another successful 2-point conversion. The Dolphins scored twice more but Prep put the game out of reach in the final quarter with a 4th touchdown from Smith, and touchdowns by Dylan Colliflower ’14 and JV player Andrew Tsangeos ’16 who moved up to Varsity for the homecoming game.
With the victory, the Rebels regain control of the Gold Cup which has gone to the winner of every annual contest between Chadwick and Flintridge Prep since the 1940s. “Chadwick is always an intense rivalry,” says Nowotny, recalling his feelings after the game. “It felt great to bring home the trophy and win homecoming at the same time.”
Standing on the field after the game, assistant coach Glen Beattie took a moment to remember those who couldn’t be there but would have loved to see the Rebels’ dramatic win. He continued by saying that the win got Prep over the hump. After close overtime losses, they proved they could win in League against a good opponent. And as he stared across the hard fought 100 yard field, Beattie made a prediction: “We’re gonna be in the hunt.”
His words were prophetic. On October 13th, Prep faced cross-town rival Poly on the Panthers’ turf. The Rebels took an early 8-0 lead with the first of Kozacik’s three rushing touchdowns and Colliflower’s 2-point conversion run. But the Panthers came prepared for a shootout, quickly answering with 7 points. Weirick ended the first quarter with a 35 yard touchdown pass to Chadd Cosse ’13, extending Prep’s lead to 16-7. Both teams hunkered down through the second quarter, with Poly eventually scoring in the final 5 minutes of the half. With 30 seconds to go, the Rebels led 16-13 when they fumbled a handoff. Poly’s aggressive defense pounced to recover, leading to a touchdown and a 20-16 Panthers halftime lead. In the locker room, Head Coach Antonio Harrison '01 told his players that Poly was beating them with more aggressive play. He told them to get back on the field, match Poly’s energy, and, “Seal your fate.”
And so they did, beginning with a forced fumble by Colliflower early in the 3rd quarter, which Agustin Acosta-Ghioldi ’14 returned to Poly’s 19-yard line. Kozacik got the ball into the end zone and Smith caught the 2-point pass to put Prep ahead 24-20. As before, the Panthers rallied, scoring another 7 points and retaking the lead 27-24. In response, Weirick fired a 35 yard touchdown missile to Smith, returning the lead to Prep for good. Back to back 4th quarter touchdown runs by Kozacik and Smith overcame a final Panthers touchdown, securing Prep’s 46-33 victory.
With their first homecoming and Poly victories since 2007, the Rebels improve to 2-0 in League and 4-3 overall. For the first time in years, Prep will vie for League title when they confront the undefeated Rio Hondo Kares this Friday, October 19th at Occidental College for a 7pm game. Last year, the Rebels held the Kares to just 7 points for most of the 1st half. Harrison says they must sustain their zeal throughout the game on Friday, hitting hard and forcing turnovers, to topple the five-time Prep League champions.
May they enjoy good hunting.