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Highland Christian Knights end season with win
ARLINGTON — It was all smiles at Haller Middle School field.
Highland Christian had finished another football season, which is, in itself, an accomplishment.
“I’m continually impressed by this group of kids,” said Highland coach Pete Miller. “And the support has been great. We’ve got things like food waiting for us after a game, and that is indicative of how important football is to this school.”
With many private schools not being able to support as many athletic teams as before because of sheer student population, Highland has continued to play eight-man football — and has even seen an increase in numbers.
But the Nov. 1 game was about seniors Eric Matthews and Devon Wold, who both shined in the Knights’ 62-36 win over Evergreen Lutheran’s junior varsity.
“Those two really led the younger guys,” said Miller. “They’re just great kids that really took to a game that they hadn’t played before.”
The two led the defense, with Matthews at linebacker and Wold at defensive end.
“I coached Devon for three full years,” Miller said. “I wanted him to have a great year and we had a great time, but it was frustrating at times because we had to teach so many younger kids.”
Trailing 22-16 after the first quarter, the Knights scored 30 unanswered points in the second quarter, with Nels Knutson racking up six of his seven total touchdowns in the first half. Knutson finished with 266 yards on 11 carries.
“The defense did a great job of stopping them and allowing us to get the ball back and keep at it on offense,” said Miller.
Highland took a 46-22 lead at halftime. Also scoring touchdowns for the Knights were Wold on a 1-yard run and Matthews on a 35-yard pass from Knutson.
The program is in the middle of rebuilding itself, after a 1-6 performance in varsity 1B games and a roster containing more than 50 percent freshmen. The Knights played a few more games against JV squads to get the younger players more experience.
Still, the highlight of the season had to be against Muckleshoot, when Highland Christian came back from being down by 18 in the fourth quarter to end up losing by 6. The Knights scored three touchdowns with only seven players on the field due to injuries. The game’s outcome was already decided, however, as Muckleshoot forfeited earlier in the day, but Highland still wanted to play.
“That is how much football means to these kids,” said Miller. “It can be hard with so many younger guys, but they love the game.”
The Knights were made up of Matthews, Wold, Knutson, Clayton Binder, Chad Donnelson, Luke Gould, Tim Matthews, Levi Merriti, Josh Montanaro, Colton Wold and Jesse Donnelson.