CIF Football: JW North Huskies vs. Oaks Christian Lions

Joseph Guzman

On Friday November 12, 2021, the John W. North Huskies hosted the Oaks Christian Lions in the second round of the Division 5 Southern Section CIF Playoffs. As fans and students waited anxiously for kickoff, both the teams were trying to get their gameplan ready for the very important matchup under the lights. 

The Huskies came into the game having a very impressive season so far, with an overall record of 11-0, and a playoff record of 1-0. The Huskies took on Capistrano Valley High School in the previous week and scored a huge win with a score of 48-21. As for the Lions, they have an overall record of 5-6 but came into this playoff game very prepared. The Lions are coming off a great win against the Pacifica Tritons with a score of 41-33. The two great teams look to grab a vital win and live to see another game in the CIF Playoffs.  

As the team came out of the locker room and flooded onto the field, the student section and all the fans rose to their feet and got loud for their home team. Everyone in the stands could tell that the team was pumped up because the Huskies were jumping up and down, getting ready to run through the giant poster and onto the field. 

The game started off as a very close one as both offenses couldn’t really produce on their side of the ball. The Huskies couldn’t manage a score at all in the first quarter but the Lions ultimately finished the quarter on top 3-0 after kicking in a field goal as time winded down in the first. Entering the second quarter, the Huskies looked to answer back with a score of their own. The defense was on lockdown for both of these teams as they were forcing many 3 and outs and getting countless number of stops in order to let their offense handle the ball. The Huskies ultimately came back to score with 5 minutes left in the first half as Senior Venasio Mikaele dove into the end zone to put his team on the board with a touchdown. The Huskies got the ball back in the Lions zone with about a minute left on the clock but couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity as the 2nd quarter came to an end. During halftime, North’s Blue Star Regiment put on a spectacular and wonderful performance for everyone in attendance to see as they sat anxiously in wait for the game to resume. 

The Huskies received the ball to start off the 2nd half of the game but couldn’t get anything out of it. When the Lions got the ball back, they kept moving it downfield and getting into Huskies territory. North’s defense kept drawing flags which pushed the Lions closer to the end zone. With 11 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Lions quarterback, senior Cole Tannenbaum, ran the ball in on 4th and 2nd  to score a touchdown and put his team up 17-7. After the touchdown, the Huskies got the ball back and moved down the field. This drive ended in a touchdown pass from senior Jaidyn Gamble to senior Ahson Elliot to put the Huskies within 3 yards. As the 3rd quarter passed by, both defenses held the game within 3 points to make this game even more exciting heading into the final 12 minutes of the game. 

As the final quarter got underway, the Lions were on their own 38 yard line. This drive down the field would take about 3 minutes and resulted in another touchdown by the Lions’ quarterback Cole Tannenbaum. The Huskies would get the ball back and would go down field once again. As senior Venasio Mikaele ran the ball in for an absolute, electrifying touchdown, everyone in the stadium stood to their feet and cheered as loud as they could for Mikaele. With that touchdown, Mikaele brought the Huskies back within 3 points. The touchdown would lead to the end of the game as it concluded. The Huskies had a great opportunity late in the game on the offense but couldn’t capitalize on it.
Although it was a tough loss, there were many positives on both sides of the ball for the John W. North Huskies. Senior quarterback, Jaidyn Gamble, had a very impressive game as he threw for a total of 268 passing yards with 28 attempts and 20 of those being completed; he played with a passing completion of 0.714Senior receiver, Ashar Granger, had a total of 67 receiving yards over 9 receptions. Junior Damian Allala had an impressive total of 85 receiving yards in just 3 receptions. The junior receiver averaged 28.3 yards per reception. Senior Jeremiah Calhoun also had 67 receiving yards over 4 receptions. Senior Venasio Mikaele had a total of 142 rushing yards, and came out the gate absolutely electrifying. 

The Huskies defense was just as powerful as their offense. Junior Sione Tupou led the Huskies in tackles with 5 solo tackles and a total of 6 tackles but none for a yard loss. 

Junior Christian Wilson, who is an absolute powerhouse on the D-Line had a total of 4 tackles, which resulted in a total of 2 yards lost for the Lions. Wilson has had a great year for the Huskies, and they look for a big year out of him next year.  Senior Lisitoa Toki had one sack that totalled for a loss of 3 yards, and that yard lossage was a huge one. 

Our Huskies had a great season, ending with an impressive 11-1 overall record, going 10-0 in league play, and coming out the Sunbelt League champions of the 2021-22 season. The entire school is very proud of our players and coaches for the incredible journey that they went on this season and we thank them for bringing the students and staff excitement on Friday nights.