Lancers put up a strong fight at Homecoming

Garrison Young prepares to hike the ball for the next play. This was Young’s last highschool homecoming game.

Averi Aburto, Writer

This year’s highly anticipated homecoming game brought the lancers face-to-face with the Vista Panthers in what would be an intense fight right up to the end. Strong defensive showings from both teams proved to be the mantra of Friday night’s game, with several stops and forced turnovers on both ends.

Carlsbad defense came out strong early on in the game, holding the panthers back until the last three minutes of the first quarter, where they scored a 25-yard field goal. The lancers continued to make stops on defense, but struggled to connect on offense. Nevertheless, with support from the stands, the lancers continued to fight.

“Overall, we played a great game,” junior Shea Morales said. “The linemen were blocking great and the running backs were running hard but we just couldn’t come through with it in the end.”

The defensive battle continued into the second quarter with both teams fighting for control of the game. The lancers held the panthers out of the red-zone but couldn’t prevent Vista from scoring another field goal from 30 yards out. With the score 0-6 going into halftime, the lancers were anxious to get points on the board at the start of the third quarter.

“We need to play tougher and play to the whistle,” senior Will Burke said. “Stay focused and ignore everything else.”

The lancers came out of the half with a 15-yard rushing touchdown from senior Dylan Rutledge. Sealing the deal with a successful extra point kick by junior Collin Riccitelli, the lancers took a one point lead.The panthers responded quickly with a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown, making the score 12-6 Vista.

Throughout the night the loud crowd’s enthusiasm never wavered and their presence could be felt from anywhere in the stadium, especially the field.

“We feed off of them,” coach MacNeal said. “The energy from the loud crowd was great tonight, and we appreciate them coming out.”

Refusing to give up, the lancers scored once more in the final minutes of the third quarter with a QB sneak from senior Jackson Whitteker. However, Carlsbad failed to convert the two-point conversion, leaving the score at 13-12 with the lancers leading, once again, by just one point.

In the final minutes of the fourth quarter, Vista duped the lancer defense with a fake punt and gained enough yardage to put themselves in field goal position. With just seconds remaining, the panthers took the final lead at 15-13 with their third field goal of the night. Despite the disappointing loss, the lancers try to focus on the positive aspects of the game.

“We need to prepare in practice, watch a lot of film and just stay focused,” junior Troy Cassidy said.

As for next week’s game against Rancho Bernardo, the lancers hope to bounce back and come out with a win. Win or lose, the lancers will always have the support of the loud crowd.

“Loud crowd made a huge impact,” senior Will Burke said. “I felt like they were with us the whole game and really gave us a boost at times. Thank you loud crowd for coming out, we love you guys.”