Hazen notches win streak just in time for playoffs

November 1, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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It’s been an up-and-down year for the Hazen High School football team, but the Highlanders seem to be hitting their stride just in time for the playoffs.

The team has won three of its last four games, ending the regular season with a 5-4 record, after a slow, 2-3 start to the season.

By Rob Nichols
Hazen High School quarterback Tony Nipert gets solid protection from his offensive line as he drops back to pass against Evergreen on Oct. 4 at Renton Memorial Stadium. The Highlanders beat Evergreen, 48-6.

“The whole season has been kind of a roller coaster,” Hazen coach Drew Oliver said. “There’s really only been one game that we haven’t been close. I think that the second half of the season has been more of what we wanted.”

The Highlanders began the second half of the season Oct. 4 with a 48-6 win against Evergreen. The team flourished behind a strong performance from Jordan Abdullah, who rushed for two touchdowns and more than 100 yards.

Hazen then fell to Bainbridge, 21-20, on Oct. 11. The Highlanders led Bainbridge 14-7 at halftime, but couldn’t hang on against the nonconference foe.

But Hazen bounced back quickly, winning their next two games in extravagant fashion and putting together the team’s first winning streak of the season.

The Highlanders shot out of the gate early Oct. 19, scoring 28 points in the first quarter alone, against Foster. Joe Glaefke and Abdullah each rushed for more than 100 yards, and Abdullah found the end zone four times. Hazen eventually tacked on 28 more points, defeating Foster, 56-7.

In Hazen’s regular season finale, the Highlanders played what Oliver said was the team’s, “most complete performance,” beating Renton, 38-7.

The team scored in every quarter of the Oct. 26 game, and Glaefke and Abdullah each had two rushing touchdowns.

“Aside from that Bainbridge game, I think we’ve been starting to put four quarters fully together,” Oliver said. “I think the Renton game was our most complete example of that.”

The second-half defensive effort has been strong as well. In three of the last four games, the Hazen defense held their opponents to 7 points or fewer.

Defensive end Cody Moorhead had sacks in three of the last four games, while Zach Cable recorded tackles for losses in each of the last four games.

But Oliver declined to name any second-half standouts, saying it took a complete team effort to get the team where it wanted to go.

“It’s been a complete team effort,” he said. “It’s been the offensive line, the defense, everybody. So I think that’s a good thing that everybody’s stepping up and playing.”

Up next, the team heads into the playoffs, where it will travel north to face Ferndale at 7 p.m. Nov. 3.

“Going to the playoffs, it’s a brand new season and everybody’s starting from the same spot,” Oliver said. “So hopefully we don’t worry about what’s happened before and we just focus on moving forward.”

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