SWHTFootball

Battle for the Paddle – El Molino senior quarterback Weston Lewis (No. 18) avoided the Healdsburg pass rush and fired downfield in the Lion’s 43-2 victory over the host Greyhounds on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Liane Dimond.

Football game marks long awaited return for local high schools

A high school football game was never more welcome or appreciated than the long awaited match-up between the visiting El Molino Lions and host Healdsburg Greyhounds on Saturday at Healdsburg High School. The contest, which the Lions won in a rout, 43-2, seemed somehow insignificant to the simple fact that the game of football was back in its purest form.   

“Credit to both administrations and athletic departments for working hard to make sure that we could provide a safe season for the kids,” El Mo head coach Jerod Brown said after a successful debut. “Score aside, it was great to see our kids having fun.”

The first of four scheduled games for each team, the meeting now known as the “Battle for the Paddle” marked a return to the gridiron after some 450 days of delays following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and was held in front of an enthusiastic, masked and socially-distanced group of family and friends.

The Lions made the most of their 2021 debut, thanks in large part to a seasoned performance by a few key veterans and a 22-point second-quarter explosion. El Mo senior quarterback Weston Lewis led the assault, completing 10 of 14 passes for 144 yards and one touchdown, while adding 66 yards and two scores on the ground. Also finding the end zone were senior receiver Jackson Dunkle, sophomore receiver Soloman Hall and sophomore running back Jaden Brady. 

Other good efforts included senior running back DJ Ramalia (82 yards rushing), junior wide-out Ian Hocheder (55 yards receiving), Dunkle (45 yards receiving), senior Eric Dimond (23 yards receiving) and Hall (21 yards receiving).

On defense, El Mo seniors Dylan Dekker and Soul Berna were in on 14 and eight  tackles respectively while Dimond (7 tackles) and junior Tyler Sword (6 tackles) also played well for the Lions.      

“We were able to get every kid on the field for multiple plays and that’s important with such a short season,” Brown noted. “I thought Weston Lewis did a good job of playing under control and Jackson Dunkle had big plays on both sides of the ball and continues to be a great senior leader in our program.”

Although the Greyhounds managed only a fourth quarter defensive safety to avoid a shutout, they did have some notable performances from their charges.

Unofficially, senior running back Cody Dugan accounted for over 140 total yards of offense, including 80 yards on the ground and 60 receiving. Receiver Matthew Teldeschi also had a good game, amassing 80 yards through the air. The young Healdsburg offensive line consisting of sophomore center Logan Cardona, sophomore guard Alan Avalos, sophomore tackle Eddie Silva and junior Enrique Valenzuela did an admirable job in their first game as a unit. All in all, the Hound’s brain-trust was pleased with their team’s overall effort.

“El Molino was a very good, athletic team,” HHS assistant coach Dave Stine said. “We made a lot of mistakes but will work on fixing those things this week.”

This Friday, March 26, the Hounds visit San Rafael while the Lions entertain Ukiah. Both varsity games kick off at 7 p.m. 

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