The 2015 high school football season started for the Stadium Tigers and the Fife Trojans on Friday, Sept. 4 with a non-league matchup at Fife High School. It was a gorgeous late summer evening and the fans filled the stadium right to capacity to witness what turned out to be a barnburner of a game.
Fife won the coin toss and elected to receive. They took the kickoff and wasted no time moving right down the field behind their running game, but it was a 45-yard pass from senior QB Kyle Mozzone to junior running back Wes Nixon that got them on the score board less than two minutes into the game. Falani Maleoi carried in the two-point conversion and Fife was rolling 8-0.
Stadium would answer quickly, though. With junior running back Jamon Chambers doing all the work, including a 64-yard run on their opening play from scrimmage, the Tigers responded after Chambers hit paydirt from three yards out. Cornelius Polo of Fife blocked the extra point attempt and the Trojans saw their lead shrink to 8-6.
It was less than a minute later and Fife was in the end-zone again, this time courtesy of a 49-yard run by Nixon. Mozzone added the extra point. Stadium took control of the ball and had a drive going but Trojan defensive back Jackson Cooley intercepted a Hunter Wendling pass and the Trojans were right back at it. Mozzone hooked up with Cooley on a 14-yard pass and then kicked the extra point. At the end of the quarter Fife had cruised to a 22-6 lead.
The second quarter started with each team turning the ball over via fumble, first Stadium, and then Fife. Stadium's drive sputtered and led to a punt, and Fife took over on their own 14. Cooley immediately ripped off a 79-yard run, and senior fullback Zach Keeney took the ball in for the score two plays later. Mozzone again added the extra point. Fife now led 29-6.
Penalties were a key issue in the game. The Tigers repeatedly hurt themselves and stalled drives due to drawing the wrong kind of attention from the referees. However, on the following drive, they managed to overcome the penalty flags and the result was a 40-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Hunter Wendling to senior tight end Jared Dominguez. Jose Mascareno added the extra point and the Tigers kept the game from getting out of hand. Fife’s lead was cut to 29-13.
After an exchange of punts, the Trojans took over with less than two minutes to go in the half, and again behind their running game worked the ball down the field, gashing the Tigers for big chunks of yardage. Jackson Cooley scored again from three yards out and as the half ended, the Trojans were up 36-13.
The game settled down quite a bit in the second half. Stadium's defense seemed to have regrouped and found ways to shut down the Trojan's running game. The only offensive action of the third quarter came from the Tigers, with their juggernaut running back Jamon Chambers scoring on a 38-yard run with 5:06 left in the quarter. The two-point attempt failed and after three quarters Stadium had drawn a little closer, 36-19, which set up a very exciting final quarter.
The teams traded possessions to start the fourth quarter. Stadium took over at their own 21-yard line and put a nice drive together, with Chambers again capping off the drive with a 21-yard touchdown run. Mascareno added the extra point, and suddenly, things were even more interesting. The Tigers had played stifling defense for the entire second half, and with 5:35 to go, found themselves trailing by just 10 points, 36-26.
Stadium tried an onside kick, but Fife recovered. The Tiger defense was stout and forced a punt, and their offense took over on their own 15-yard line. Stadium marched down the field, but Fife made them pay for every yard. The Tigers were able to punch in a touchdown though, on a one-yard run by senior running back Eric Auelea. The kick for extra point was no good, and the clock was down to 1:09.
The outcome of the game hung on another onside kick attempt by the Tigers. Fife recovered again, and when the Trojan's Jackson Cooley ran through the Stadium defense for 25 yards, Fife was able to take the victory formation and hang on for an exciting 36-32 win.
Stadium's next game is a 7 p.m. kick-off on Friday, Sept. 11 against rival Wilson at Stadium Bowl. Late last week, investigators found the sinkhole damage to the Stadium Bowl surface to be fixable and said the surface will be playable within a week. Next up for Fife is a road game Sept. 11 up to Seattle to face Evergreen.