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Acalanes seniors cap historic prep careers with thrilling win

Brady Huchingson totaled 348 yards of offense in Acalanes’ 23-22 win over Cal. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo
Brady Huchingson totaled 348 yards of offense in Acalanes’ 23-22 win over Cal. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo

Acalanes’ senior class celebrated the legacy it left at the school.

Coming in, the class of 2021 was eager to change the course of Acalanes history forever. It had been three decades since the football program won a league championship. 

They wanted to change that. To create something special.

Well, they did just that.

They won a league title in 2019. Never lost a home game. And they went 5-1 during the tumultuous COVID-19 spring football season, as the No. 14 Acalanes Dons capped off the campaign with a hard-fought and impressive 23-22 victory over the No. 23 California Grizzlies (2-4).

“It’s been a great four years, these last two years especially,” said Acalanes senior quarterback Brady Huchingson. “One of our goals for the season was to switch the legacy around and make Acalanes football special and bring a lot of wins here. And I think we’ve done a good job of doing that with help from last year’s seniors and this year. From now forward, I don’t think we’re going to lose very often.”

Cal’s defense made some crucial stands against Acalanes, forcing a few turnover on downs in the first half and bending but not breaking against a prolific Acalanes offense, using its success to take a 14-9 halftime lead.

But Acalanes was just one step away from making something happen, and that it did.

After a timeout, Huchingson found junior Evan Malmquist on a fake field goal for an 18-yard touchdown to give the Dons a 16-14 lead with 1:46 remaining in the third quarter.

It was a play Acalanes dialed up at halftime, as it saw Cal bringing all 11 players on every single field goal and point-after attempt.

“We had seen on the PAT and on the block,” Huchingson said. “They had blocked a PAT, and on the field goals they were rushing everyone, so we knew we could just have the outside guy there just sneak out and he was going to be wide open. That’s exactly what happened.”

Grizzlies junior running back Trevor Rund – leading the backfield following the injury to Jake Hubbard – took his eighth carry for a 12-yard touchdown to give them the lead again at 22-16 with 10:59 left.

Yet, there was Acalanes doing its thing one more time, with its offense driving the length of the field and seeing Huchingson and junior Dante Montgomery connect on a beautiful 19-yard touchdown to put the Dons ahead 23-22 with 8:19 left.

Cal got one more opportunity to score, and it came within a mere inches of making it all happen to pull out the incredible road win. A few big pases – many of which consisted of junior quarterback Teddy Booras to junior receiver Jake Calcagno, along with junior Keith Hirtle catching a ball on a tipped play – brought the Grizzlies to the Acalanes 13-yard line in the final moments, but a missed field goal at the end preserved the Acalanes victory.

“It was a back and forth game the whole time,” Huchingson said. “Just a lot of hard work and a lot of heart and effort from our team. We battled back and secured the W.”

And special teams play from Acalanes was a crucial determinant in the final outcome.

Senior Hunter Ridley made a 47-yard extra point in the second half following a penalty. There was the fake field goal for a score. Plus, Ridley delivered numerous deep punts, highlighted by a 58-yarder and also one right before Cal’s final possession that pinned the Grizzlies at their own 6-yard line.

“Hunter – everybody saw it,” Montgomery said. “That kid can kick. He’s got a boot. He deserves to be playing on Saturdays. Special teams – great job. Special teams, defense. All-around, it was their game.”

Huchingson’s final game in an Acalanes Dons uniform was another special one, tossing for 290 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 46 yards and extended countless plays throughout the evening.

The Acalanes star finished his senior season with the most passing yards (1,383) in the North Coast Section, which comes after he threw for 2,646 yards, 29 touchdowns and five interceptions as a junior.

“Brady put on a game for us, getting that ball to us real quick,” Montgomery said. “We love it.”

Malmquist was a consistent target for Huchingson, bringing in six catches for 64 yards and two touchdowns.

This season, Malmquist tallied 293 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

“That boy Brady – he and I always had those offseasons where it’s together,” Malmquist said. “At practice, we would constantly be together, working together. That’s what it was. It was those special connections that we worked on constantly, just repetitions.”

His other score Saturday was a 14-yard grab in the back of the end zone in the first half.

“I knew I had to step on the inside,” Malmquist said. “I got him on the inside and he got lost. I burned him and I got up there just did what I do, do my job.”

Montgomery led Acalanes with 102 yards on five receptions, marking the second time he eclipsed the 100-yard barrier while giving him 390 total during the six-game season.

“Brady knows my speed,” Huchingson said. “We’re on the same page. He knows when to get to me. He sees that one-on-one coverage. He knows I’ll be open.”

Junior Will Berrien recorded 50 yards on five catches, while Sam Heyman had 36 yards on two catches.

Senior running back Nic Rossi rushed for 63 yards and hauled in two passes for 24 receiving yards.

Cal junior quarterback Teddy Booras passed for 159 yards and was one of the section’s top passers like Huchingson, as the NCS’s No. 3 passer entering the game finished with 1,203 yards this season.

Calcagno was Booras’ No. 1 target by bringing in 13 catches for 119 yards to mark the fourth time in six games he surpassed 90 yards. His 606 receiving yards during the spring propelled him to the top of the NCS for receiving.

Senior Nick Reid caught his first three passes of the year for 30 yards and had a 14-yard touchdown snag.

Link to Photo Gallery

Box Score: 

California

Passing: Teddy Booras: 19-36, 159 yards, TD.

Rushing: Trevor Rund: 11 carries, 54 yards, TD. Jake Calcagno: 2 carries, 7 yards. Giovanni Phillips: 5 carries, 0 yards. Teddy Booras: 7 carries, -10 yards.

Receiving: Jake Calcagno: 13 catches, 119 yards. Nick Reid: 2 catches, 30 yards. Dominick Tuyor: 2 catches, 22 yards. Keith Hirtle: 1 catch, 19 yards.

Acalanes

Passing: Brady Huchingson: 21-42, 290 yards, 3 TD. Will Berrien: 1-1, 12 yards.

Rushing: Nic Rossi: 20 carries, 63 yards. Brady Huchingson: 9 carries, 46 yards. Evan Malmquist: 2 carries, 3 yards.

Receiving: Dante Montgomery: 5 catches, 102 yards, TD. Evan Malmquist: 6 catches, 64 yards, 2 TD. Will Berrien: 5 catches, 50 yards. Sam Heyman: 2 catches, 36 yards. Nic Rossi: 2 catches, 24 yards. Joe Evans: 1 catch, 14 yards. Brady Huchingson: 2 catches, 12 yards.

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