Panthers come up short in first game of the season


Photo courtesy of Angela Fonte-Smith and Matthew Smith

Panther’s quarterback and safety, Wyatt McGovern, rushing for a gain in Friday’s loss against the Half Moon Bay Cougars.

Isaac Bostonmaer, Staff Reporter

Burlingame’s varsity and junior varsity (JV) football teams were finally permitted to begin competitions on March 12, playing their first game against Half Moon Bay High School. In California, updated state mandates and guidelines put into motion by Gov. Gavin Newsom allowed high school sports to compete with other schools.


Ultimately, the varsity team lost their first game to the Half Moon Bay Cougars in an away game, with a score of 19-10. 


In the first quarter, both teams were held to no scores as the defense for each team successfully stopped each team’s offense. At the end of the first quarter, each team had a turnover — the Panther’s from a missed field goal attempt.


The Cougars started the second quarter strong with a passing touchdown. Although the Panthers got a field goal on the next drive, their opponent scored yet another passing touchdown before the end of the second quarter. At halftime, Burlingame was down 10 points with a score of 13-3. 


Quarter three was also a defensive-led quarter with no points scored on either side, only turnovers by both teams. 


In the final quarter, Burlingame cut the lead to three points after a 72-yard passing play set up a short passing touchdown between quarterback Ryan Kall and running back Kyle Sieben. Despite this, the Panthers were not able to come back as Half Moon Bay quickly scored a late and long rushing touchdown that sealed the game; 19-10.


Although the Burlingame varsity team’s defense forced turnovers throughout the game and was able to limit Half Moon Bay’s offense to less than twenty points, they were not able to leave the field with a win. It was Burlingame’s inability to score points in the red zone that allowed Half Moon Bay to come away with a victory.


“We were within the five yard line multiple times during the game and left without points. We played well enough to beat them, but in the end, it came down to a handful of plays that made the difference,” Abe Haba, varsity defensive end and tight end, said.


The JV football team also held their first game last week on Thursday March 11, playing a home game against Half Moon Bay High School. The JV team lost with a score of 19-6, facing the same main issue the varsity team did: trouble taking advantage of offensive possessions. 


On a different note, these first games and future games will differ substantially from prior seasons. This season was delayed from fall to spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and spectators are limited to two family members per player.


“[Playing on Friday] felt different with a smaller crowd and wearing masks, but I’m grateful we have the opportunity to have a season,” Haba said. 


In this unique football season where players and coaches alike must adapt, Burlingame’s varsity and junior varsity football teams both start with 0-1 records. However, this was only the first of the teams’ six games, leaving much time for the Panthers to adapt and improve.