Hazen finds its stride after rocky start to season
October 31, 2013
By Christina Corrales-Toy
After a rocky 1-3 start for the Hazen football team, Highlanders coach Drew Oliver said his squad was close to getting over the hump.
He was right, as Hazen proceeded to go 3-1 in the season’s second half, riding a three-game win streak into the team’s Nov. 1 matchup against rival Renton.
“We’re just worried about ourselves, not anybody else,” he said. “The kids committed to that, and I think they’re starting to play with some confidence and that ‘we’ve been here before’ attitude.”
The Highlanders kicked off the second half of the season with a 32-24 loss to Kennedy Catholic Oct. 4.
Hazen kept it close through the first half, trailing Kennedy, 19-16 at halftime. The Lancers scored 13 unanswered points in the third. Hazen fell short in its response, holding Kennedy Catholic scoreless, but only putting eight points on the board in the fourth quarter.
Kaleb Magee led the team with 148 yards rushing and a touchdown. Quarterback Nolan Hoover threw for more than 220 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
The Highlanders would bounce back nicely, though, with a convincing 41-26 win at Evergreen Oct. 11.
Hoover threw for four touchdowns, two to receiver Isaiah Davis, while senior running back Joe Glaefke found holes on the ground, rushing for 161 yards and a touchdown.
On the defensive side, Parker Trewet and Jordan Abdullah each had a quarterback sack. Vershaun Williams also had three tackles, including two for a loss.
Hazen traveled to Bainbridge Oct. 18 for a rare midseason nonconference game. For many players, it was their first time on a ferry, Oliver said.
“We looked at it as a business trip and they approached that well,” he said.
The Highlanders did indeed take care of business, defeating Bainbridge, 49-35, in what was a record-breaking performance by junior athlete Marquise Lee.
Lee found the end zone four times in three different ways. He had two rushing touchdowns, one receiving touchdown, and just to make it interesting, he returned an interception for a score.
The junior broke a school record with three interceptions, including the one he returned for a 28-yard touchdown. He also rushed for 132 yards on just nine carries. The performance earned him the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s Athlete of the Week Award.
“It just speaks to the level of athlete he is and the kind of all-purpose talent that he is for us,” Oliver said. “He’s a do-everything guy.”
A week later, Lee followed it up with an even better performance against Foster, leading Hazen to a 55-6 win.
In that game, Lee had six touchdowns, including four rushing scores, a receiving one and just for good measure, he returned a punt for a 50-yard touchdown.
“He’s been fun to watch. He’s only got 10 touchdowns in the last two weeks,” Oliver joked.
Hazen is now preparing to face Renton in the Nov. 1 regular-season finale. The kids don’t need any extra motivation to get up for this rivalry game, Oliver said.
“Our issue is going to be able to manage our emotions and managing our approach and not worrying about the other team,” he said.
The Highlanders will look to match last year’s 5-4 record, but the playoffs aren’t likely in Hazen’s future, Oliver said.
“There’s still a lot to play for, though,” he said. “To their credit, we knew after week four that the playoff thing was a tough deal, but it speaks to their character that they’ve been able to get themselves back up and keep battling, and play for some respect here.”