Updated: Oct 19, 2021
The Pleasanton football team dominated the field on Friday, Oct. 8, as the Blu-Jays handed Northern Heights a 67-16 loss during the homecoming game.
Following the coin-toss Northern Heights elected to kickoff, and that decision quickly saw Pleasanton score its first of 10 touchdowns. A completed pass to sophomore receiver Tony Gillespie, a run by junior Karsten McKee and pass to senior Judah Skipper, and the Blu-Jays were on the Wildcats’ 7-yard line.
McKee took it into the end zone on the next play, and Pleasanton was on top 6-0 after the point attempt failed. That set the stage for an evening of rapid drives down the field for touchdowns by the Blu-Jays.
The next few touchdowns came in rapid succession. A reception by Gillespie set up another rushing touchdown by McKee with a little more than five minutes in the quarter. Following a three and out by the Wildcats, sophomore Jeffry Cayton returned a punt to the Blu-Jay 34. After a 10-yard run by McKee, freshman quarterback Nate Johnson threw to freshman tight end Hayden Johnson for a 41-yard touchdown.
The extra point kick was good, and the Blu-Jays were up 19-0. About two minutes had run off the clock between those goals.
A drive culminating with a touchdown run by freshman back Eli McGinnis was quickly followed by another touchdown run by McKee to put the Blu-Jays ahead 25-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was much like the first, with the Blu-Jays scoring early and often. On a reverse play, Skipper carried the ball to the Wildcat 3-yard line, setting up a stand-up touchdown by McKee. The extra-point kick was good, and Pleasanton was up 32-0 with less than a minute run off the clock.
On the next Wildcat drive, McKee intercepted a pass, putting the Blu-Jays on their own 28-yard line. In a series of rushing plays, McKee marched the ball downfield, often carrying three or more Wildcat defenders along as he carved out extra yards at the end of each play.
On first and 10 at the 20 yard line, sophomore quarterback Johnson kept the ball, driving to the 11-yard line before being brought down. He kept the ball on the following play, crossing into the end zone for six points. A Johnson to Gillespie pass for the two-point attempt was good, and the Blu-Jays led 40-0.
Northern Heights scored a touchdown along with a run for two points with a minute left in the half. The Wildcats intercepted a Johnson pass near the 50-yard line, but two incomplete passes later the clock ran out with Pleasanton holding a 40-8 lead.
After the half, Northern Heights worked their way to midfield, however senior Caleb Caldwell intercepted on a pass play and returned the ball for a touchdown, 47-8. The Wildcats punted away on their next possession, and the Blu-Jays drove to the Wildcat 34 before a pass to Skipper was good for another touchdown. The kick for the extra was good and Pleasanton was up 54-8.
With time remaining in the third quarter, the Blu-Jays put together another quick but successful drive, with McKee scoring on the second play of the drive with a 26-yard run. The kick was good for a 61-8 score.
Northern Heights put together a successful drive in the fourth quarter, scoring on a run from 6 yards out and capping the drive off with a two-point conversion. The Blu-Jays responded with another score, with McKee carrying the ball into the end zone to end the game.
Nate Johnson completed nine of 12 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns, plus one rushing touchdown. McKee racked up 208 rushing yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
Skipper had three pass receptions for 58 yards and one touchdown. Gillespie had five catches for 90 yards, and McGinnis and Caldwell both had interceptions they ran back for touchdowns.
Blu-Jay head coach Caleb Hendricks said he was very pleased with his team’s performance. Although the young Blu-Jay team has suffered several losses this season, the coach said that on Friday the team clicked well together on offense and defense.
"We finally saw things go right," he said, adding that he believes his team is now in better shape for district play. "I was proud."