The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

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

Mercer Island Football Suffers Loss Against Newport on Senior Night

Jordan Balousek

During their Senior Night, the Mercer Island Football team fell 31-10 to the Newport Knights on Friday, Oct. 21.

This brings their overall win-loss record to 0-8 for the regular season.

“I think that we played a great first half, we were hanging in there [but] they came out of the locker room in the second half fired up [and] we came out flat,” senior captain Callum Neher said.

Mercer Island and Newport traded possessions for a majority of the first quarter before a Newport touchdown pass to wide receiver Nicolas Bianchi put the Knights up 0-7.

The Islanders gained some momentum nearing the end of the first quarter when a Newport false start led to a first down for Mercer Island, however, a run from senior Vince Catano was ultimately stopped yards short of the goal line leading to Newport taking over on downs.

Mercer Island gained possession of the ball near the beginning of the second quarter when junior captain Luke Myklebust recovered a fumble from Newport’s quarterback, leading to a Mercer Island touchdown run by senior Addison King and tying the score 7-7.

Junior Dylan Way recovered a blocked Newport punt halfway through the second quarter earning Mercer Island possession of the ball, however, the end of the drive resulted in a fourth and long, forcing the Islanders to bring out the field goal unit. Senior Samir Lumba kicked a successful 35 yard field goal, sending the Islanders into the lead 10-7.

Minutes from halftime, Myklebust successfully recovered an onside kick from Mercer Island, though the team ultimately fell short of a score when sophomore quarterback Ryan Rockfeld’s pass was intercepted in the endzone by Bianchi in the last minute of the first half.

Newport came out of the locker room scoring a touchdown which set the score 10-14. Minutes later, Bianchi earned another touchdown, a pass from 35 yards out which put the Knights up 10-21.

“They came out of halftime and they scored a long touchdown and that’s killer,” Neher said. “They score a long touchdown like that [and] it’s hard for us to rally. We just didn’t step up, we didn’t answer the battle on offense once the defense gave up something big.”

Newport threw a successful touchdown pass that was caught in the endzone but the play was called for holding and the Knights were forced to replay third down. This caused them to settle on a field goal, which was kicked successfully and extended their lead 10-24.

The fourth quarter was riddled with penalties and flags for both sides, as well as Newport successfully sacking Rockfeld on two occasions.

The second sack to Rockfeld resulted in a turnover on downs and Newport gaining possession of the ball. The Knights converted that possession into a touchdown, a 54 yard pass to senior Nolan Howle which put Newport up 10-31 and became the last score of the game.

“We need to get better in the second half. Our offense, our run game is alright, [but] we gotta move the ball a little bit better to open up the passing game,” Neher said. “On defense we got good moments but we’re kinda inconsistent. I would say be more consistent, that’s where we could be better.”

The Islanders were missing their starting quarterback Spencer Kornblum, who was injured in the game against Auburn last week. Rockfeld received a majority of the snaps, as well as King receiving many snaps directly under center.

It was a bittersweet night for many Mercer Island players, who celebrated their Senior Night and played some of their last snaps as Islanders. The seniors were celebrated during the pregame, with each senior player jogging out with flowers to meet their parents and snapping pictures.

“When I was a junior, seeing all the seniors out with their parents and stuff, it didn’t really feel real but I get it now,” Neher said. “It’s real and it’s sad, like, this is my senior night and we just got our teeth kicked in so, obviously [it] doesn’t feel good. It definitely feels real now that my season’s ending.”

“We got some good opponents lined up for our last two games [and] we have one more game at home,” Neher added. “I think we got a young quarterback right now in Ryan Rockfeld and he’s only gonna get better with experience.”

The Islanders will hope to earn their first win of the season next week away against Juanita on Friday, Oct. 28.


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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.
Jordan Balousek
Jordan Balousek, Managing Editor
Jordan Balousek (she/her) is the Managing Editor for the MIHS Islander, and she is in her third year of journalism. Outside of school, she enjoys playing soccer, watching baseball and hockey, working at Arena Sports, reading and hanging out with her friends. She is also a very big fan of multitasking and chocolate ice cream.

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