Eagles edged by Mustangs

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Ben Parker races to the end zone in Friday’s game at Homestead. The junior scored a pair of touchdowns.

The Los Altos High football team’s execution may still be lacking at times, but it’s hard to find fault with the Eagles’ effort and enthusiasm – even as the losses pile up.

The last example of that came Friday at Homestead, where Los Altos showed plenty of fight before falling 22-19.

“Our kids played with so much passion and effort tonight,” head coach Trevor Pruitt said. “As coaches, we’re just proud.”

Although the season is slipping away – Los Altos slumped to 0-3 in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division and 1-5 overall – the Eagles aren’t ready to concede.

“We’re going to fight through the rest of the season as much as we can,” said fullback Mohamed Fofanah, who rushed for a team-high 57 yards. “We’re going to keep doing work.”

If Los Altos is going to snap its four-game losing streak Friday against Saratoga, it will likely need to minimize the kind of mistakes that allowed Homestead to have a happy homecoming. The Eagles botched a punt on their first drive, leading to a short field goal for the Mustangs, and committed two turnovers in the fourth quarter that sealed their fate.

“There were those little mistakes here and there – and Homestead made some, too – and we had trouble just getting over the top,” Pruitt said. “Sometimes you’re just a play or two away.”

Down 16-12 to start the fourth, Los Altos drove to the Mustangs’ 9-yard line before losing a fumble. A play later, Homestead’s Andrew Oduor scampered 91 yards for a touchdown.

But the Eagles regrouped, as quarterback Rocky Hidalgo threw a strike over the middle to halfback Ben Parker, who raced into the end zone for a 69-yard score. That went down as Los Altos’ second-longest pass play of the game; Hidalgo connected with tight end Keenan Hanley on a 73-yard touchdown in the first quarter that gave the Eagles their lone lead at 6-3.

The touchdown catch by Parker, who also scored in the third quarter on a 9-yard run, narrowed Homestead’s lead to 22-19 with 8:27 to play. The Mustangs (2-1 league, 2-4 overall) had two chances to extend their advantage but missed field goals on consecutive drives. Los Altos failed to capitalize, however, turning the ball over on downs with three minutes left and tossing an interception in the final minute.

“If we didn’t try so hard, it wouldn’t hurt so much,” Fofanah said of the loss. “We trained for countless hours and gave our blood, sweat and tears just to get this win – and we still didn’t get it.”

Los Altos’ homecoming game is scheduled 7 p.m. Friday against Saratoga at Foothill College.

Local football roundup

St. Francis 28, St. Ignatius 7: The Lancers jumped to a 21-0 lead in the opening quarter, with their first touchdown coming on Lucas Andrighetto’s interception return. Visiting St. Francis improved to 2-1 in the West Catholic Athletic League and 4-2 overall.

Cupertino 28, Mountain View 21: The Pioneers spoiled the Spartans’ homecoming with an overtime win Friday. Sam Gil rushed for two TDs in the loss, which dropped Mountain View to 1-2 in SCVAL El Camino Division and 2-4 overall.

Pinewood 84, East Palo Alto Phoenix 14: The visiting Panthers put up 38 points in the first quarter on the way to their biggest blowout of the season. Alex Dagman and Sean Murphy both surpassed 100 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns each Friday. Pinewood leads the Mission Trail Athletic League at 3-0 and is 4-1 overall.

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