FRESHMAN FLASH Dillan Jocius takes the ball in the fourth quarter, when he gained 40 yards on 9 carries. (Photo by Joe Rowland)

Week by week, the Healdsburg Greyhounds show improvement under new head coach Randy Parmeter. In their first game on Sept. 1, they gave up a touchdown every time St. Helena had the ball, losing 62-27. A week later in Sonoma Valley they got some key stops but couldn’t motivate their offense, and fell 35-9.

Last Friday they came close, really close, to their first win in almost two years—since Sept. 24, 2021, ironically against Kennedy. “They’re definitely improving week by week,” said first-year coach Parmeter. “We’re on track. We’re where we need to be.”

The season’s first home game, on Sept. 8 at Rec Park, found the 0-2 Hounds hosting the JF Kennedy Eagles, of Richmond, who were on a winning streak after back-to-back victories. But the Greyhounds rewarded the Healdsburg crowd by taking the lead in the first quarter, 7-0, on an 8-yard run by sophomore Alexander Harms and a conversion kick by senior Mario Castro.

They held onto the lead at halftime, too, as a touchdown by the Eagles’ Jayson Scarbrough could not be backed up by the attempted 2-point conversion. It made the energetic halftime cheer program under Chela Carr all the more, well, cheerful.

But that 7-6 lead didn’t last far into the third quarter. Scarborough scored again but this time the extra point conversion was good, putting Richmond ahead 13-7.

DOWN Sophomore Alexander Harms gets up slowly from a hard hit in the third quarter of the Sept. 15 game against Kennedy High of Richmond. (Photo by Christian Kallen)

As the third quarter ended, however, Healdsburg’s Harms was hammered by a pair of hard tackles and had to be helped off the field. “He just got banged up a little bit, kind of took a couple good hits and now he’s fine,” said Parmeter following the game.

In his place, a freshman—Dillan Jocius—took over the running back role. Instantly recognizable on the field by his long blond hair spilling from beneath his helmet, Jocius took the ball nine times in the fourth quarter, for 40 yards.

“He did extremely well,” Parmeter said. “He helped move the ball most of the way down the field.”

With four minutes left in the game, things got exciting. Quarterback Nova Perrill II, a junior who runs on keepers much of the time—he amassed 74 yards on 13 carries—took it up the middle from the nine, bringing the Hounds to within a point, 14-13.

Parmeter called a conversion play he thought had a good chance to score two points and take the lead, but what he saw from the sidelines caused him to run onto the field, calling for a timeout. The officials didn’t see him, though, and the conversion failed.

Wasting no time, the Eagles drove down the field for another Scarborough touchdown, and another two-point conversion made it 22-13.

The Greyhounds had one more chance at the ball, and they made the most of it. Perrill tossed underneath to sophomore Hayen Mariani, who bolted for an exciting 64-yard touchdown run. Healdsburg relied on Castro’s toe for the extra point, but with only a minute left on the clock the game ended at 22-20.

A day later, Parmeter remained optimistic. “They’re gonna continue to get better,” he said. “And as a matter of fact, we have a handful of guys coming in after next week and they’re gonna add to our team and make it even stronger.”

The players he mentioned are varsity transfers to Healdsburg, two from Cardinal Newman and two from Windsor, who needed to sit out the first four games to be eligible to play.

Next week the Greyhounds are on the road again, this time to San Rafael to meet the Terra Linda Trojans (2-2). The following week they’ll be back home to face Walnut Creek’s Berean Christian, with four new players on the roster.

“This program’s going in the right direction,” Parmeter said. “You’re gonna see a better brand of football every week as the year goes on.”

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Christian Kallen has called Healdsburg home for over 30 years. A former travel writer and web producer, he has worked with Microsoft, Yahoo, MSNBC and other media companies, usually in an editorial capacity. He started reporting locally in 2008, moving from Patch to the Sonoma Index-Tribune to the Kenwood Press before joining the Healdsburg Tribune in 2022.


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