By Jonathan Andrade
For The Signal
In the end, players on both sidelines were just appreciative of the opportunity to be out on the gridiron.
A strange, shortened season was better than no season at all.
“It was weird,” said Hart senior Ryan Tomaszewski, “but it was great to be out here, even with all the stuff going on.”
Hart closed out its five-game schedule with a 28-6 victory over West Ranch Thursday night at Canyon High.
“I’m very appreciative,” said senior West Ranch quarterback Walker Eget. “It’s a journey a lot of people can’t say they did. Some people opted out. Every chance you get, you have to take advantage of it.”
Players from both sides stayed long after the final whistle blew, posing for photos they’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Hours before, both offenses got off to slow starts in the first quarter. Hart and West Ranch combined for three punts and two failed fourth-down conversions in a battle for field position. Hart benefitted from a short West Ranch punt, taking over on the Wildcat 36-yard line with 1:23 remaining in the opening frame. On the last play of the quarter, freshman quarterback Tim Larkins found Tomaszewski over the middle for the 23-yard touchdown strike.
Following another failed fourth-down conversion attempt by West Ranch, Hart drove 72 yards to extend its lead to 14-0 on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Larkins to Tomaszewski. Tomaszewski finished the opening half with seven catches for 73 yards and two scores.
“It felt great to come out and contribute,” Tomaszewski said. “It’s definitely a big deal to come out with the win.
After being held scoreless in the first half with sophomore quarterback Ryan Staub under center, West Ranch turned to its not-so-secret weapon in the third quarter: Eget, the 6-foot-3 San Jose State commit.
Eget marched the Wildcats 63 yards in the opening drive of the second half. The senior connected on all four of his pass attempts, including a 7-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Maverick Diaz.
West Ranch head coach Chris Varner said he was glad to see his senior out on the field one last time.
“He wanted to finish out his last half of high school,” the coach said of Eget. “He felt strong and we tried not to put him in situations to endanger him. He sparked the offense for us.”
Hart tacked on insurance points with a pair of rushing scores from senior running back Ryan Rossi. He rumbled into the end zone for scores from 2 and 4 yards out.
“I always like to see the seniors come through, especially the last game of the year,” said Hart head coach Rick Herrington. “(Tomaszewski) made some great catches and Rossi ran the ball well.”
After opening the season with a tie and two losses, Hart closed the season with back-to-back victories.
“They wanted to win those last two and they worked hard,” Herrington said. “It’s a good way to let the seniors go.”
Varner said the shortened, delayed season was challenging, but his players showed promise and growth throughout.
“This was a fun group of kids,” Varner said. “I thought the kids did the best they could. We have a lot to look forward to in the future.”