Alburnett ends Huskies’ season

By Molly Roberts
Posted 10/21/20

Highland’s football season ended with a 40-19 loss to Alburnett in the first round of the playoffs on Oct. 16.

The Huskies recorded their third-highest offense output of the season with 294 …

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Alburnett ends Huskies’ season

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Highland’s football season ended with a 40-19 loss to Alburnett in the first round of the playoffs on Oct. 16.

The Huskies recorded their third-highest offense output of the season with 294 total yards, behind only their season opening loss against Wilton (386 yards) and their only win of the season against North Cedar (425 yards).

Senior running back Owen Donovan led the team in rushing, racking up 207 yards on 32 carries.

The Huskies struggled with penalty flags against Alburnett, including a puzzling call near the end of the second quarter. After scoring its first touchdown, Highland forced the Pirates to punt on fourth-and-10 after a six-snap possession. However, a holding flag on the Huskies during the punt eventually, after several minutes of deliberation by the game officials, resulted in Alburnett regaining possession on the Highland 38-yard line with less than 1:30 on the clock. The Pirates quickly capitalized off a 29-yard touchdown reception.

When asked to explain the holding penalty and change of possession off the punt, co-head coach Scott Morel said he didn’t understand the penalty and “nobody could explain it.”

“It all comes down to how you handle adversity,” Morel said. “Even though it was confusing, we continued to play well afterwards.”

The Pirates capitalized off many of Highland’s penalties, such as in the third quarter when Alburnett scored immediately after a flag.

“The penalties turned into about 20 points for them,” Morel said. “All season, we’ve talked about the little things that can make a big difference, and tonight we saw those kinds of little things.”

Three Huskies seniors played in their final high school contest in Alburnett: Donovan, Caedon Harbison and Jacob Allen.

Donovan led Highland’s rush offense in five of its seven games and finished the season with a team-leading 1,021 rushing yards off 134 carries. Harbison recorded the third-highest rushing yards on the team, finishing the season with 107 yards off 24 carries. Allen recorded 4.5 tackles on the season and tied in team-leading fumbles with one recovery.

Harbison didn’t record any offensive stats until the Huskies’ fourth game, against North Cedar on Sept. 25, but in the next game, against Lisbon on Oct. 2 he led the offense with a team-high 40 rushing yards.

This season was Allen’s first on the field — he came out for the team last season but tore his ACL and didn’t see action.

“They’re a really good group of kids,” Morel said about the seniors. “We’re happy that Caedon came out, he came out a little bit later and we were so happy to have him. Owen has played great all year. Jacob Allen, he’s a little spark plug — he came in and played really, really well all year.”

Morel said the three players made “leaps and bounds” of improvements during their tenure in a Husky uniform.

“It means the world to me to see them grow,” he said.

 

HIGHLAND STAT LEADERS

Rushing: Owen Donovan, 32 carries, 207 yards, 1 TD; Connor Grinstead, 7-55, 1 TD; Caedon Harbison, 8-12, 1 TD.

Passing: Grinstead, 4-of-12, 15 yards, 0 TD, 3 INTs.

Receiving: Brenton Bonbrake, 2 catches, 6 yards; Donovan, 1-13.

Defense: Grinstead, 8.5 tackles, 1 fumble recovery; Yahir Jimenez, 1.5 tackles, 1 fumble recovery; Donovan, 6.5 tackles.

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