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The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

Auburn Defeats MIHS Football At Home

Brooks Kahsai

In their second game of the season and their home opener, the Mercer Island Football team fell to the Auburn Trojans, 41-20, on Friday, Sept. 9. 

This marks the Islanders’ second loss of the season after suffering a defeat to Seattle Prep last week.

“[We could’ve improved on] all the small things,” senior Vince Catano said. “We practiced against this scheme on the other team pretty much all week and we were messing up small things like short passes, easy blocks, [and] catches. Pretty much everything, so that’s why we lost.”

The sun colored the sky orange and pink as the Islanders met the Trojans on the field to kickoff their home opener in front of seas of maroon and white.

Auburn won the coin toss and sent their offense on the field, scoring a touchdown in the first few minutes of the game — a 15 yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Semaj Brown. Their two-point conversion, however, was flagged and ruled out of bounds, returning the ball to the Islanders with the score 6-0.

Junior Adrian Fu returned the ball to the 30 yard line and began the Islanders’ first drive. Mercer Island maintained a few drives, before an interception by Auburn’s Lateibreon Chandler broke the Islander’s momentum.

The Islanders gained possession of the ball to start the second quarter, but an interception by senior Jailon Goodfellow saw Auburn regain possession of the ball. Minutes later, Mercer Island earned an interception of their own when junior Dylan Way caught the ball and ran it down to the 41 yard line.

The teams swapped possession once again when Auburn intercepted senior quarterback Spencer Kornblum’s pass just one minute later, however a sack by junior Griffin King and senior Brycen Powell ensured that the Trojans punted the ball seconds later.

Nearing half-time, the Trojans secured two more touchdowns — both passes to Chandler, one in the dying seconds of the second quarter.

The Islanders took the field after halftime down 20-0, still failing to counter Auburn’s offense. The Trojans scored two touchdowns — one an interception by senior Easton Rutledge who carried the ball back to Auburn’s endzone for the score, and the other a pass to Goodfellow to put the Trojans up 34-0. 

The Islanders gained some momentum nearing the end of the third quarter, scoring for the first time in the night when the Trojans fumbled the ball yards away from their endzone; King recovered the ball in Auburn’s endzone, making the score 34-7. Auburn responded minutes later with a rushing touchdown from senior Dominik Smith.

Perhaps the most impressive play of the night was courtesy of senior Vince Catano, who caught a screen pass and ran the ball down the field 70 yards for the score. 

“I got out there, I got my favorite play and was like ‘it’s time to go’,” Catano said. “All the blocks got blocked and I took off, made the right move and I was like ‘alright, that’s a touchdown’.”

Catano secured one more touchdown for the Islanders in the final minutes of the game — a 30 yard catch and run. His last minute heroics were not enough, however, as Mercer Island lost 41-20.

“At the end of the game we started to come back, we started to play a little bit harder. I guess we kept fighting at the end, but there’s not much good to take away from that [game],” Catano said.

A rivalry was seen on full display as the hostile environment could be sensed from the field below. Yellow flags flew from all directions for both teams throughout the game, with penalties such as roughing the passer, illegal participation, holding, and unsportsmanlike conduct being called out throughout the night.

Standouts of the night from Mercer Island include Catano, who scored two of the Islanders’ three touchdowns and led the rushing attack throughout the night. Additionally, sophomore Elan Gotel was the main target of Kornblum’s passes and significantly helped the Islanders’ move the chains. Finally, junior captain Luke Myklebust and Powell made themselves known throughout the night on defense, making the stop on key plays and earning sacks of their own.

The Islanders will look to secure their first victory of the season next week away against Redmond on Friday, Sept. 16.

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About the Contributors
Tiffany Zhang
Tiffany Zhang, Features & Sports Team
Tiffany Zhang is a senior at MIHS and in her second year of journalism. She is currently a member of the Features Team and the Sports Team and has served as a staff writer in the past. In her free time, Tiffany enjoys reading, thrifting, and watching Formula 1 races.
Brooks Kahsai
Brooks Kahsai, Multimedia Team/Lead Photographer
Brooks Kahsai is an MIHS Senior and four-year member of The Islander. In previous years, he has served as a staff writer, Back Page Editor and the Photography Editor. This year he is excited to return as The Islander’s Photography Editor. Outside of school, Brooks is a dedicated member of the Black Student Union, and he enjoys photography, coding, singing and spending time with friends.

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