The boys of early autumn are out on the practice field every waning day of the school week, and carry that energy into their varsity football games. It doesn’t convert to many points, but nobody finds an easy opponent in the Healdsburg High Greyhounds.
And fans of local high school football will certainly tell you that even if they carry a 0-5 record as they near the season’s half-way point, any football is better than none—like the ill-starred season of 2018, which was called off after just two games that saw the team lose by scores of 41-0 and 61-0.
Not so this year, although the scores seemed all too familiar. The year’s first games found the Hounds losing 49-0 against Novato on Sept. 3, and falling to Coverdale, 40-7 on Sept. 9.
Lower Lake 36, Healdsburg 30
Usually, lopsided scores have an element of luck for both teams—bad luck for the losers, good luck for the winners. So the mood changed for Healdsburg with an exciting game against Lower Lake on Sept. 16, which found the Greyhounds scoring several times based on the way the ball bounced.
Senior Cameron Pippi, who played on both sides of the ball as do many of his teammates, recovered a fumble, which was followed by a 29-yard offensive drive. Pippi’s own 9-yard touchdown run capped the drive, and a 2-point conversion run by sophomore Jeremiah Tinsley.
On the first play after the kickoff from that touchdown, Lower Lake fumbled and sophomore Nate Rowland recovered the ball. Two plays later, quarterback Wyatt Dugan, a junior, threw a 43-yard pass to Tinsley, leading the Hounds to a second touchdown, followed by another 2-point conversion run by Pippi.
As the third quarter began, the scoreboard read 20-16, Visitors, but the home team wasn’t finished. Starting off the second half, Alexander Harms (42) took the kickoff for 40 yards. A grinding ground game opened the door for Pippi to run it in from five yards out, and another 2-point conversion.
For the first time this season, the Greyhounds were ahead. But their streak of three straight TDs wasn’t over. Lower Lake fumbled once again following the kickoff, and junior Alan Avalos jumped on it. Once again it was Pippi who made the score on a 16-yard run, though the 2-point conversion failed.
Sitting on a 10-point lead, Healdsburg was feeling pretty confident as the final quarter began, but the sleepy Trojans from Lower Lake woke up, and scored the winning two touchdowns and 2-point conversions to win it.
Junior Wyatt Dugan played the game in the quarterback position, focusing on handoffs and keepers, gaining 62 yards on the ground. He connected only once in four aerial attempts, but it was the 42-yard touchdown pass to Tinsley. But he also had two of his passes picked off, and in a close game mistakes matter.
Senior Pippi rushed for the Greyhounds’ three other TDs, picking up an impressive 153 yards on 32 carries overall. Pippi gave up the ball on a fumble, too, as did Moieses Lopez, a junior.
Surprise standout was freshman Harms, whose exciting 40-yard kickoff return to open the second half brought the crowd to their feet.
Kennedy 44, Healdsburg 8
Things returned to normal last Friday, Sept. 23, when visiting Eagles of Kennedy High amassed 44 points to the Greyhounds’ 8. Healdsburg beat Kennedy last year—one of their three wins in 2021—but this time the Richmond team gained almost double the total yards that Healdsburg did, 284 to 147, and ran twice as many plays, 51 to 25. They scored more, too, 22 points in the first quarter alone and 6 in the second, which would prove more than enough.
Healdsburg’s only scoring came in the third quarter, as Cameron Pippi had a 54-yard run followed by a 12-yard scramble by Jeremiah Tinsley for a touchdown. The conversion failed, but that rarest of scoring plays followed as the defense pushed Kennedy back into their end zone for a safety in the third quarter.
Pippi had another good game, leading the rushers with 90 yards on 19 carries, making five tackles and three sacks. Rowland also made an impact on defense with three tackles and two sacks.
Junior Max Suazo carried only four times but gained 18 yards, and Tinsley got 26 yards on six carries. Harms once again had some nice kickoff returns, getting 57 yards in four chances.
Thanks to assistant coach Brad Duffy for the statistics and game overviews.
The next Healdsburg High football games to be played at Rec Park are against Irvington (of Fremont) on Oct. 7, followed by the first North Bay Redwood league game against Ukiah on Oct. 14. Varsity kickoff time is 7pm, JV at 4:30.