Highlanders hit win streak just in time for playoffs

November 3, 2011

By Christina Lords

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Daymontray Brown, Hazen senior running back, scores from four yards out during the third quarter Oct. 28 against Renton. The Highlanders won their homecoming game, 21-7. By Rob Nichols

After winning four straight games going into the post-season, Hazen High School coach Drew Oliver knows that kind of push is exactly what his team needs right now.

“Momentum is good, especially at the right time of the year,” he said. “I feel like we still haven’t put together a perfect game, but this team is really starting to come into its own.”

The Highlanders have gone 7-4 and 7-3 in the past two years, with both seasons ending after they were defeated in the first round of the playoffs.

Hazen will meet the Franklin Quakers, the No. 2 seed out of the Metro Conference, this week at Seattle Memorial Stadium.

The Quakers (5-4) ended the Highlanders’ season one year ago, and Oliver said after injuries forced his team to focus on their run game during the second half of the season, the Highlanders are ready for the challenge.

“We had go back to basics,” he said. “We have to run those plays rather than trying to get too fancy. There’s not too much in the way of surprises in the way we run the ball, but we’ve been able to execute in practices and on the field.”

Oliver said fumbles and penalties must be eradicated as the team looks to the playoffs.

“If we can eliminate those mental errors, we’ll be much better off,” he said.

Hazen has had a successful second half of the season with wins over Evergreen on Sept. 30, Highline on Oct. 6, Foster on Oct. 13 and Renton on Oct. 28.

Senior running backs Cody Taylor and Daymontray Brown have stepped up in a big way for the Highlanders.

Brown, a senior running back, scored what is believed to be a school-record seven touchdowns in a 54-35 comeback victory over Highline on Oct. 6. He scored six of the game’s final seven TDs and finished with 158 yards on 27 carries.

He was chosen as The Seattle Times’ high school star of the week for Oct. 2-8.

Taylor ranks second among Seamount League rushers with 708 yards, averaging 101 yards per game. He has also scored six touchdowns during the season.

Brown ranks third among league rushers with 587 yards, and scored a league-high of 18 touchdowns.

Brown and Taylor are supported by a solid offensive line that has facilitated their play-making capabilities throughout the season, Oliver said.

“We’ve got a pretty experienced line as well,” he said. “They’ve all been in the program for two years now. It just helps with this team’s identity. They’re who we are and what we’re about. We’re playing the kind of football we want to play.”

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