By: Cooper Hughes
Going into Friday night’s game, the energy at West Henderson High School was at an all time high. Stadium seats were filled and cars were lining the street. fans were anxious to see what this year’s Mountain 7 Conference championship had in store. The Falcons rose to the occasion and flew right by Tuscola for a statement 55-7 win, making them conference champions and finishing off West Henderson’s first undefeated season since 1984.
The Falcons defense set the tone early in the first quarter, forcing a turnover. This set the offense up in great field position, allowing quarterback Lukas Kachilo to connect with Truitt Manuel for his first of five touchdowns that night. “I was able to make some good moves to beat the defense,” Manuel said. “I’ve been working on these routes at practice all week and Kachilo put the ball right where I needed it every time.” The Falcons defense continued to dominate, even forcing another turnover late in the first quarter off of a Caleb Collany interception, his 6th of the season. The Falcons finished the first quarter leading 21-0. “We were extremely well prepared thanks to a good week of practice and the coach’s game plan,” Senior, Andrew Schultz said. “The entire defense was playing with intensity which allowed us to dominate for 4 quarters.”
Lukas Kachilo started off the second quarter with a 11 yard rushing touchdown, his 8th rushing touchdown of the season. “I think our rushing attack this year has made it even more difficult for defenses to game plan against us,” Kachilo said. “I believe we have an elite passing game and run game so it adds another component for defenses to worry about.” Kachilo later connected another pass to Diego Castro to put the falcons up 35-0. After a late Tuscola touchdown, West went into the second half leading 35-7. “Coach Whitt was saying to come back out after halftime like we’re down 14-0 and not let up, ” Junior, Aidan Ostman said. “He told us to play for the guy next to you, remember what’s on the line, and play the best football of your life because we’re gonna remember this for the rest of our lives.”
After a dominating first half on both sides of the ball, the Falcons did not let up. Lukas Kachilo connected with Truitt Manuel on 2 more touchdowns in the 3rd quarter alone. A 70 yard touchdown by running back Tayman Howell early in the 4th quarter silenced Tuscola fans and got every Falcons fan in the stadium on their feet. As the clock hit 0, baby powder from the student section flew into the air and the noise from West Hendersons side was enough to make the earth shake. “I remember coming to games in the nineties and parking half a mile away on the side of 191,” Coach Jason Livingston said. “I have heard from so many people of all ages this weekend say that it was so good to see that again. They saw people that they hadn’t seen in years. All year, this team has done so much more for themselves and this community than just win. They are a team of character. It is cool knowing that their actions are what have really inspired our community to come together and rally behind them. This group makes people proud to call themselves Falcons because they do things the right way.” The Falcons had won it, not only for the school, but for the community.