Highlanders are off to a rocky 1-3 start

September 30, 2015

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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NEW — 2:24 p.m. Sept. 30, 2015

As the season approaches the halfway point, not much is going right for the Hazen High School football team.

The Highlanders are just 1-3 on the year, and two of those losses were double-digit blowouts.

By Greg Farrar Kaleb Magee (34), Hazen High School senior running back, runs the ball against Sam Harrington (left) and Alex Olague, of Liberty, during the third quarter of their Sept. 11 football game at Renton Stadium.

By Greg Farrar
Kaleb Magee (34), Hazen High School senior running back, runs the ball against Sam Harrington (left) and Alex Olague, of Liberty, during the third quarter of their Sept. 11 football game at Renton Stadium.

Hazen kicked off the season with a 35-7 nonleague loss at Lake Washington on Sept. 4. It was a game the Kangaroos dominated from the start.

Lake Washington’s Jake Steele picked up two rushing touchdowns in the first quarter, while quarterback Jake Steele threw two passing touchdowns in the second quarter to put the Kangs up 28-0 at halftime.

Lake Washington added one more score in the third quarter to put the game even further out of reach. Hazen earned its only points when Austin Buza rushed for a 32-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Renton Memorial Stadium’s atmosphere was electric Sept. 11 as the Highlanders took the field flanked by ceremonial bagpipers for the team’s home opener against rival Liberty High School.

Both teams took some time to get warmed up in the gridiron battle of the two Renton Highlands schools. But in the end, it was the visiting Liberty student section that earned the right to chant “We run Renton,” as the Patriots secured the 28-6 win.

The Patriots struck first when junior Austin Regis scored on a 5-yard run. Liberty missed the extra point but took a 6-0 lead as the first quarter came to an end.

Liberty’s Preston Mitsui then punched it in from 4 yards out to put the Patriots up 12-0 in the second quarter. Dulin Hayden carried it in for a successful two-point conversion, and Liberty went into halftime with   a 14-0 lead.

Liberty extended its lead to three touchdowns in the third quarter as running back Joseph Cunningham carried it in from 3 yards.

Hazen finally put points on the board late in the third when senior safety Cody Stillings recovered a Liberty fumble and ran it in for the score. The Highlanders missed the extra-point try.

Hayden added a 6-yard touchdown run in the fourth to put the Patriots up 28-6.

Hazen’s lone win came in Week 3, when the Highlanders absolutely dismantled Seamount League opponent Evergreen, 52-0.

There were a lot of stars in the blowout, but none shined brighter than senior running back Kaleb Magee, who rushed for 185 yards and a TD, and added a 23-yard TD reception.

For that performance, Magee was named a Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Athlete of the Week.

All varsity-level students in good academic standing at their schools are eligible to receive the WIAA Athlete of the Week award. Winners receive a letter of recognition from the WIAA executive director, a commemorative WIAA Athlete of the Week beanie and a certificate.

Hazen couldn’t maintain a 13-6 halftime lead against Foster, and the Bulldogs went on to win in overtime, 32-29, on Sept. 25.

After yielding 20 unanswered points in the third quarter, Hazen had to overcome a 26-13 deficit as the final quarter began. A resilient Highlanders squad answered the challenge, forcing overtime. But Foster pulled out the win.

Hazen, which owns a 1-1 league record, has five more games this regular season.

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