Homecoming is one of the great fall traditions at high schools and universities. Alumni are invited back to campus and encouraged to interact with their old school, just not in that creepy “Dazed and Confused”, Matthew McConaughey way of interacting. On October 9, Fife High School had their homecoming football game, hosting the Franklin Pierce Cardinals. Fife is also celebrating their 100th year of existence, and the celebration this night included fireworks. The two teams added their own fireworks in a game that saw 80 points scored in a back and forth battle.
The Fife Trojans came into the game still stinging a little from a loss the previous week which ended their bid at an undefeated season, while Franklin Pierce was riding high on a two game win streak. Fife had a chance to strike first after an interception of a Willie Patterson pass was returned to the Cardinal 10-yard line, but the Cardinal defense held and the Trojans missed a field goal. The Cardinals struck quickly on the ensuing drive with Patterson connecting with Emmanuel Thornton on a 63-yard pass play to hit paydirt. Cameron Bowdish added the extra point, and the Cardinals were out to a 7-0 lead, which held until the end of the quarter.
The Cardinals turned the ball over again early in the second quarter, and again the Trojans were not able to take advantage. On their ensuing possession, Franklin Pierce hit a big play again, this time with Patterson completing a pass to Alex Bing for a 69 yard score. The extra point was missed and the Cardinals now had a thirteen point lead.
Fife did not need much time to rally. Barely a minute later Tanner Knapp took a handoff and rumbled 40 yards to get the Trojans on the scoreboard. Later in the second, Knapp capped off another Fife drive with a 2 yard run for a touchdown, and after the extra point Fife was on top 14-13. After recovering a Franklin Pierce fumble, Kyle Mozzone of Fife scored on a three yard run, and in the space of thirty-three seconds the Trojans suddenly had a 21-13 lead.
The second quarter fireworks were not over though, as the Cardinals drove quickly down the field and Sam Samaga scored from a yard out. Samaga also plays linebacker and had a monster game on the defensive side of the ball. The PA announcer seemed to call his name on every other tackle. The two point conversion failed but the Cardinals had drawn within 2 points. Not to be outdone, Fife senior quarterback Kyle Mozzone led the Trojans down the field, and scored his second rushing touchdown of the game with 8 seconds left to play in the half, giving Fife a 28-19 lead.
The Trojans took the second half kick and went straight down the field, with Mozzone scoring his 3rd rushing touchdown. Franklin Pierce's Isaiah Cubean returned the kickoff 78 yards, and quarterback Willie Patterson ran the final 10 yards for a score, providing a quick answer to the Fife score.The Trojans seemed to want to settle the game down on their next possession, and went on a methodical, time consuming drive that took almost 6 minutes before junior running back Wes Nixon carried 5 yards for another score. As the teams headed into the fourth quarter, it still seemed to be anyone's game, with Fife leading 41-26 but both teams showing they could score on any play.
Indeed, the Cardinals scored on one play, an 80 yard bomb from Patterson to Thornton for their second long range hook up of the game. Fife's Cornelius Polo blocked the extra point. Polo played a very nice all-around game. Along with the blocked kick he had a key third down catch to keep a Fife drive alive, had a sack, and knocked down a pass. The score was now 41-32, but unfortunately for the Cardinals, this was as close as they would get. Fife's Bo Rogers finished another drive with a 26 yard run for a touchdown, the extra point was added, and the Trojans had done enough to secure a 48-32 win on homecoming night.
Also worth mentioning was Fife's sophomore defensive back Eli Graham. He had two key fourth quarter interceptions, including one in the endzone to stop a Franklin Pierce drive. These were the 4th and 5th turnovers of the game for the Cardinals, and as the old adage goes, you can't win a game when you lose the battle of the turnovers.
Next week, Fife travels to Orting, while Franklin Pierce hosts Steilacoom.