On the field, the Pointers had trouble moving the ball consistently against South Bay’s Olympian High and came up on the short end of a 26-7 score, their first home loss since Bennie Edens Field was resurfaced before last season.
Yet other issues figured into the long-awaited rematch of last year’s 38-10 Olympian blowout on the Eagles’ field.
As both teams removed their helmets and stood at attention for the playing of the National Anthem by the Pointer pep band, band members did not hoist their instruments as the awkward moments of silence multiplied.
With players and spectators looking at each other in confusion, the booming voice of Pointer head coach Mike Hastings broke the silence as he sang, “Oh, say can you see?”
As if on cue, Pointer players and the stadium crowd joined in to sing an a cappella version of the anthem, giving themselves a hearty round of applause afterward.
Later, in the game billed as a “Salute to Military/Police/Fire/Lifeguards,” there was nothing done to honor any of these heroes and first-responders.
Two nearby San Diego Fire/Rescue Department engines, their crews and a battalion chief were present before halftime, but after standing by and being ignored during the break, they quietly climbed aboard their vehicles and left.
On the field, the Pointers moved the ball in the first quarter, but the prevailing westerly winds prevented them from opening scoring.
After a stalled drive, Jason Shoemaker’s 40-yard field goal attempt was hit high into the air, catching the wind. As the ball stalled and came down at the middle of the crossbar, it gently bounced back onto the field.
“It was a rough start for us,” said Hastings. “We came out in the first drive moving the ball okay, but then weren’t able to get the consistency going we wanted.”
From this point, the Eagles seemed energized, driving the field while exploiting the Pointer secondary with a 35-yard pass play before scoring on an 11-yard run to take a 6-0 lead. Pointer Cole Kidd blocked the extra-point kick attempt.
Jake Virissimo ended an Eagle drive when he recovered the fumble of a completed pass by an Olympian receiver, but the offense was unable to score as the half ended.
A third-quarter-opening drive by Olympian ended with an 11-yard pass, upping the lead to 12-0.
It was sophomore running back Jaylen Griffin who put the Pointers on the board with a 38-yard run to the left side that, with Shoemaker’s kick, reduced the gap to 12-7 with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
But the Eagles answered following the kickoff, driving the length of the field. A 25-yard pass play took them to the one-yard line, where Rey Osuna waltzed into the end zone for a 19-7 lead with 2:22 left in the third period.
A meaningless Eagles touchdown was added in the closing minutes when senior Pointer starting quarterback Quinn Bohannon left the game with a minor injury. His replacement, junior Gavin Grady threw a seven-yard completion before an alert Olympian defender picked off his third throw and raced 55 yards for the final score.
On the day, Bohannon was 5-of-11 for 98 yards.
Leading the ground game for Point Loma were Griffin and Jacob Ehm with 47 yards apiece, followed by A.J. Smith with 30.
Defensively, leading tacklers were Smith (eight), Frankie Lopez (six), Adrian Bueno, Pedro DaSilva and Jake Virissimo (five each) and Jonathan Cook (four).
DaSilva recorded two sacks and Cook caused an Eagle fumble.
“Our kids are learning and they’re growing, Hastings said. “It was a tough opener for us, but we’ll look at the film, get better and improve. There’s a lot of things that we have to do right.”
The Pointers travel to Ramona to face a tough Bulldog squad Sept. 6 in a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Bulldogs pummeled El Cajon Valley 49-14 in their opener last week.
The Pointers were without leading runner Dirk Lacy because of an injury.
The Eagles are now coached by veteran Paul Van Nostrand. He replaced legendary local coach Gil Warren, who came out of retirement in 2006 to initiate the first football teams at the new South Bay school before retiring again.
The Pointer junior varsity posted a 28-2 win, but the freshmen squad lost 25-18.
After extensive work went into preparing a 48-page Pointer football yearbook, several players came out wearing different numbers than listed on the roster.