A Bump In The Road: North Hollywood Drops a Tough One on the Road at Arleta

The two times get ready to duke it out at the line of scrimmage.

Evan Edmiston

The two times get ready to duke it out at the line of scrimmage.

ARLETA, CA– After an enthralling season opener against the James Monroe Vikings, the Huskies were dealt a gut punch as they dropped a tough game against the Arleta Mustangs. The Mustangs took the opening kickoff return for a touchdown and never looked back. Despite the loss, the Huskies proved they wouldn’t be a pushover for anyone this season as they took the best team in the league all the way till the end.

Prior to the game against Arleta, the Huskies were coming off seemingly their best performance in over five years. It was tough for anyone involved not to get too excited about the potential of this team. However, it may have appeared that some of the hype from the Monroe game lingered and may have resulted in bits of complacency scattered throughout the team. “I’d say our practices felt a bit too comfortable after our win against Monroe,” said star wingback Anthony Brookins, “it just felt like we didn’t put in enough effort.” The practice was pretty much “business as usual” the week leading up to Arleta, though there may have been a little lack of energy here and there.

Regardless if practice felt lackluster or not, not many teams could come back from what North Hollywood had to endure: the opening kickoff return for a touchdown by the opponent. The touchdown was the result of minor miscommunication, something Brookins believes was the result of the lackluster practices. Despite the touchdown, the Huskies would march right back down the field and strike back to even the score. “The kickoff took our wind out briefly,” said Head Coach Scott Faer, “We put together a nice seventy-yard drive to bounce back quickly and fight. I’m very proud of them for that.” After the Huskies drive though, Arleta would connect on a seventy-five-yard pass play to go up 12-6. The Mustangs would then force a North Hollywood punt before once again ripping off another long touchdown, this time a handoff straight to the house. The three long scores by Arleta would put the Mustangs up 19-6 heading into the second quarter. 

The Huskies would begin the second quarter with once again a patient touchdown drive capped off with an Anthony Brookins power run. The game started to turn into a back-and-forth battle between the two offenses, as Arleta would score again on their following drive. Their drive would make the game 26-13 with little left to go in the second quarter. The Huskies would try to drive the ball down the field before the end of the half, but the Arleta defensive line was swarming, blowing up the ball carrier any chance they could. The Huskies would continue to drive but not before the referees would blow the whistles to signal the end of the first half, leaving the Huskies in a two-touchdown deficit at halftime.

The Huskies would come out of halftime with sheer physicality. The coaches aggressively dialed up running plays going straight at the Arleta front seven. Fullback Robert Flores (#22) ripped off two powerful “beast mode-like” runs to set up the Huskies deep in Arleta territory. The Huskies would power themselves all the way to the six-yard line. At this point, the drive had taken eight minutes of clock. After the Arleta defensive line would buckle down and deny the Huskies three times, it would be 4th & Goal. And on 4th & Goal, the Huskies had the unluckiest of bounces as the snap would be mishandled, fumbled, and recovered by the Mustangs. The amount of time consumed on the drive would ultimately be the Huskies’ undoing, as they wouldn’t have another drive with the game that close within reach.

On the ensuing drive, the Mustangs took up huge chunks of the clock as the game whittled down all the way to the fourth quarter. As the fourth quarter commenced, the Mustangs would score, as their Quarterback would read the option perfectly and power into the endzone. With the score being 32-13 late in the fourth quarter, the two teams would exchange possessions until the time would ultimately expire. As the clock hit triple zeros, the Huskies would walk off the field for the first time under Coach Faer with the bitter taste of defeat in their mouths.

Even though the Huskies didn’t come home with the win, that doesn’t mean nothing good came from this game. “We’ll keep our heads up because there’s nothing to be ashamed of,” said Coach Faer, “we just went toe-to-toe with the best team in the league! We were in it until the end and I’m very proud of them for it.” Technically speaking, Coach is right as Arleta is the only Division I school in the East Valley. And given that fact, the Huskies should take pride that they hung around with a D1 school like Arleta because it’s very important that no one loses confidence after a loss like this. 

It will be interesting to see how the Huskies respond though. The ball is in their playing court and a loss like this can either sharpen their focus or break their confidence. Given the looks on their faces and their trust in Coach Faer though, it’s telling that the Huskies just want to get back on the field and erase this loss from their memory. “The players know they need to work hard to fix their mistakes,” said Coach Faer, “the hurt from a loss… that focus turns into rage. We’ll bounce back this week.” And Coach means it. Considering he used to coach there, the Huskies are gonna turn up the intensity next week as Coach reminded us that it’s “Poly week! Everyone gets up for this!”

UP NEXT: The age-old rivalry between the Polytechnic Parrots and North Hollywood Huskies continues on Friday at 7 pm @ Polytechnic High School.