The key word for Higley High’s football program all week leading up to its match up against Bishop Alemany from Mission Hills, Calif. was “believe.”
That was the message Higley coach Eddy Zubey preached to his team throughout the night, despite facing a large deficit from the early stages of the game.
Alemany went on to beat Higley 55-16 on Saturday night in Gilbert, but the Knights never stopped fighting.
“They believed in themselves all the way through to the end of the game so I’m proud of them for that,” Zubey said. “These are good kids and I think we will bounce back and be alright.”
Alemany came into the match up against the Knights already having played a game last week against Jordan High from Utah. The Warriors put on an offensive show in that game, scoring 62 points as they cruised to a 24-point win.
Their impressive offensive performance carried over to Saturday night’s game against Higley, as the Warriors took less than 2 minutes to drive down the field for their first score of the game — a 5-yard run by sophomore running back Floyd Chalk.
“We need to get our guys up to date on the speed of the game,” Zubey said. “For a lot of them it was their first varsity game. We have to teach them how we play and what we need to do to be successful.”
Higley’s first offensive possession finally revealed who Zubey had chosen as his starting quarterback, as junior Kai Millner trotted onto the field.
Millner looked poised in the pocket early on, connecting on his first four passes for 36 yards and a pair of first downs. But two false start penalties ultimately stalled Higley’s drive and resulted in Alemany’s second touchdown of the quarter.
The Warriors offense, led by junior quarterback Miller Moss, fired on all cylinders throughout the first half.
Moss picked apart Higley’s secondary, completing 22 of his 32 attempts for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile Chalk, Damario Strong and JaShawn Todd, Alemany’s three-headed monster out of the backfield combined for 349 total yards of offense and six touchdowns — four of which from Chalk.
“This is a great Cali team, they’re one of the best teams we’ve played,” Higley senior athlete Isaiah Eastman said. “We are going to get better from this loss.”
Higley’s offense has spurts of success throughout the night but was unable to capitalize due to penalties or other offensive miscues.
It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter that the Knights managed to find the end zone thanks to an 11-yard run by Eastman.
Eastman was one of the bright spots for Higley against Alemany, as he accounted for 134 of the Knights’ 298 total yards of offense. His athletic ability on the ground helped set up Higley’s second score on the night, a 12-yard pass from Millner to junior wideout Truitt Robinson.
Despite early struggles, Millner managed to finish 19-of-27 for 177 yards and a touchdown. He also had one interception.
“This is a brotherhood, we just kept picking each other up,” Eastman said. “This wasn’t Higley football. We will be better prepared for Horizon.”
Higley’s (0-1) performance against Bishop Alemany (2-0) is one the Knights would soon like to forget.
But with the Warriors status as one of the top teams in California, they will use this match up as a positive heading toward a match up at Horizon (1-0) next week and throughout the rest of the season.
“We are going to be a better team because of this,” Zubey said. “We have a quick turnaround. We just have to get better.”
BA — Chalk 5 run (Valencia kick), 10:09
BA — Green Jr 9 pass from Moss (Valencia kick), 4:32
BA — Prysock 11 pass from Moss, :59
BA – Strong 3 run (Valencia kick), 7:33
BA – Strong 3 run (Valencia kick), 6:33
BA – Chalk 7 run (Valencia kick), 6:21
BA – Chalk 3 run (Valencia kick), 11:29
HIG – Eastman 3 run (Purnell 2-pt), 7:13
HIG – Robinson 12 pass from Millner (Sutter 2-pt), 3:51
BA – Todd 61 run (Valencia kick), 2:07