By Brooke Killgore
Graphic By Jane Wilson
“Obviously this year was a weird year and we didn’t get to play out a full season like we [wanted], but just being able to play a little bit was super important for all the seniors.” These were the heartfelt words of senior Brian Thorpe, describing the last game of the 2020-2021 Las Lomas Football season, which ended in a 1-4 record. The final game against Benicia, where Knights came together in celebrating the end of an era for the class of 2021, ended as a loss in overtime, Benicia scoring the fatal touchdown to hold a 13-7 victory.
After lockdown seemingly stole away the golden year for the 14 seniors on varsity, players were ecstatic to receive the news that their lost season was restored fully on February 26th, 2021. Taking advantage of weekly COVID testing and following implemented safety procedures, players could once again compete in the sport they had longed for over a year. On March 13th, the Knights played at home against 2019 EBAL champions, San Ramon Valley High School. With junior transfer Dimond Loosli starting as quarterback for Las Lomas, he threw a total of 228 yards and two touchdowns for the Knights. However, despite an impressive effort, Las Lomas fell short, the Wolves taking a 35-28 win in the final moments of the game. Loosli reflected on the team’s efforts and aspirations towards the next game, “It was a team [effort]. We just have to stay focused and trust the process. I trust my teammates and love them. We got more to come.”
Though driven by intense passion, Las Lomas would take a 35-28 loss to Acalanes High School before they came back to beat Miramonte High School on April 2nd, the final score 55-14. The Knights would take an early first-quarter lead of 21-6 and would end the first half with a 35-14 lead. Adding 20 points to their score in the final 24 minutes, celebration was in the air as the team claimed their first victory of the season. Sophomore Michael Wood described his emotions coming off the huge win and how the pregame strategies helped in the end, “It was really exciting for everyone because it was our first win, it was nice to have a win on our shoulders… We were all happy to win, we didn’t really play bad, everyone was really firing. We went over a lot of film and got our playbooks together, which helped out in the end.”
Drawing towards the end of the season, Las Lomas faced off against undefeated Campolindo High School on April 9th. Wood made his varsity debut at quarterback in the middle of the second half and ended with 8/14 completions, 84 yards and two passing touchdowns. Wood talked about his time as a starter, “I was pretty nervous at the beginning but Coach told me to keep my composure. All [my teammates] helped me along and told me I was going to be ok. Everybody stepped up and helped me out…it was a team effort.” Juniors Jermaine Land and Frank Payne, alongside a punt return touchdown by sophomore Emanuel Karnley, added two touchdowns to the score and made up 214 yards in total. Campolindo overtook Las Lomas in a devastating 38-28 victory, placing the Cougars at the top of the league conference.
As Senior Knight rolled around, families and friends filled up the stands as the Knights faced off against the Benicia High School Panthers on April 16th. After a scoreless first half, tensions were high as both teams put an equal number of points on the scoreboard, the fourth quarter ending at 7-7. As overtime went into play, Las Lomas turned the ball over to Benicia after missing a field goal attempt that could’ve helped to secure the win. The Panthers ended up scoring the game-winning touchdown, leaving the Knights at a 13-7 loss and a painful end to a senior season. Head Coach Doug Longero discussed the lost season, “COVID-19 impacted us negatively, it impacted everyone negatively…all the work that we do in the spring, without that, we struggled to come together… you don’t control outcomes, you control your effort and your attitude. The seniors that are leaving had a great run, we had an amazing four years.”