Seniors score bragging rights in annual Klassy Kickoff game

Devon McClain

Juniors in the bleachers booed as Amanda Morse turned the first possession into a touchdown for the seniors during the fourth annual Klassy Kickoff.

Though only their first touchdown counted, the seniors ended up with the ball in the endzone multiple times, only to have their ‘touchdowns’ revoked due to a false start and an out-of-bounds call.

Senior Kamalei Kaleikini was a significant contributor to the team, completing multiple short passes despite being seriously pressured by the junior pass rush. Kaleikini believed that the key to their success was constant focus during after-school practices. After their 19-6 loss to the class of 2018, many of the senior girls were eager for a rematch, and this Klassy Kickoff was a perfect time for them to show their progress according to Kaleikini.

“I think we wanted revenge from last year, so we put in the extra work during practice by being more organized and having drawn-out plays,” Kaleikini said.

To prepare, the seniors spent a few hours a day in the week prior to the game learning who would be most qualified for each position. Their outlined offensive and defensive tactics played a crucial role in shutting out the junior girls according to senior coach Ryan Jessen, and they were not able to score a touchdown for the duration of the game.

Though they were not able to score, junior Lauren Hvistendahl believed that there were a few key moments that provided an opening for the juniors to tie the game.

“We had one particularly good play called “beast” that seemed to throw the seniors off, because we gained more yards than any of our previous plays,” Hvistendahl said.

At one point in the second half, junior Hana Lefferts was able to catch a 10-yard pass for what seemed to be a touchdown, however, she was just outside of the endzone. This was a critical blow for the junior girls, and their hopes of making a comeback during the second half of the game.

Coach Jessen said that there seemed to be a few slip ups for the seniors both offensively and defensively, likely because the coaching staff was lacking the support they had been used to during practices. Once the game started, administration ordered that only three coaches be on the sideline during the game due to an overcrowding issue on the field. With a group of five unique playmakers for the juniors and seven for the seniors, this left gaps in crucial areas where certain coaches were not able to utilize specialty plays that they had worked on with the players. This left only a few coaches: Maximo Tribuzio, Joey Calzaretta, and Henry Minturn to take lead of the junior team and Alex Aguero, Sam Warren and Ryan Jessen for the senior team.

“I had to coach defense without the help of some of the key coaches who had developed plays and worked with the team every practice,” Jessen said.

This was an obstacle for the senior team, but they quickly adapted by using a phone to communicate plays with coaches in the bleachers, with just enough time to relay information and plays to the girls. One of the sidelined coaches, Lucas Lagerling, believed this tactic is what kept their defense functional and allowed them to finish with a victory.

“I knew the only way we were going to communicate the plays in time was from the sideline, so we had to adapt,” Lagerling said.

According to Hvistendahl, this year’s Klassy Kickoff was a success and once again brought Redwood together as a community to watch a friendly competition of the junior and seniors. Although stakes were high during game time, she claimed that, afterwards, both classes knew that the banter on the field was all in good nature.