Students and fans at Petaluma High School received an extra jolt of excitement to open the 2022 football season on Friday when an electrical problem under the home team stands at Steve Ellison Field forced the evacuation of the stands while that their Trojans beat the Trojans visiting Terra Linda 41-21.
The teams were three minutes into the second half when a pop was heard and a stand of lights behind the home team bleachers went out. Minutes later, the announcer asked fans, including Petaluma’s student rooting section, to evacuate the bleachers in an orderly fashion due to a reported fire under the metal supports.
Students and other fans obeyed in order. After about 20 minutes late, play resumed, the Rooters were allowed to return, and the Trojans completed a drive that led to a Henry Ellis touchdown and a 33-14 lead over Petaluma.
But the excitement wasn’t over. After Petaluma firefighters arrived and their investigation began, fans were again asked to leave the stands.
“When the lights went out, it apparently created a spark in a switch under the bleachers. Since the problem was electrical and the bleachers are metal, out of an abundance of caution, we emptied the bleachers until the school engineer could check things out,” explained the fire battalion chief of Petaluma, Mike Medeiros.
Meanwhile, the match continued with fans split between concrete bleachers to the left of the vacant stands and a berm to the right with cheerleaders rushing from side to side to help continue the match. ‘enthusiasm.
Petaluma High School principal Giovanni Napoli was pleased with how the students handled the double evacuation. “The way they responded reflects how they started the school year,” he said. “They responded in a very positive and responsible way.”
On the pitch, Petaluma’s multi-gun offense was too much for the Marin County Athletic League side to handle. Masterfully led by senior quarterback Henry Ellis, Petaluma relentlessly hit Terra Linda’s uneven defense with inside runs from fullbacks Ed Berncich and Lucas Vanderlind and outside sprints from Chase Miller, Silas Pologeorgis and Ellis.
Game statistics were not immediately available
Given the work room by a frontline that included Zack Rinsky, Jacob Anezil, Jack Phillips, Zanger Williams, Noah Briens and tight ends London Sundell and Berncich, the Trojans pretty much moved the ball around at will all night .
Meanwhile, Petaluma struggled to stop Terra Linda quarterback Garret Prado, who hurt the Petalumans with his passing arm and quick feet. However, the local Trojans totally stopped Terra Linda’s running game behind the exceptional play of winger Sundell and linebacker Vanderlind.
The brightest climax to a night of highlights was provided by Miller who won a kickoff from Terra Linda on his own 10-yard line and ran unhindered home for a score of 90 yards. The run was not only spectacular, but crucial, midway through the second period just after Terra Linda momentarily tied the game at 14-14.
Once Petaluma regained the lead, his Trojans took over.
Big runs from Miller and Pologeorgis put Ellis in position to score the first of his three touchdowns, on an 8-yard run on Petaluma’s first possession of the new season. A 35-yard scamper from Pologeorgis for a second Trojan touchdown felt like a first down for Petaluma.
But Pardo ran, passed and wanted Terra Linda back in the game, getting a touchdown on a 7-yard pass to Kai Walker and another on his own 7-yard goaltender.
Miller quickly canceled that score with his comeback and, before half time was up, Pologeorgis broke again from 20 yards to make it 27-14 at intermission.
As Petaluma fans continued the celebration on both sides of the empty stands, their team dominated the second half, scoring two more Ellis touchdowns from short range.
“It was a great start,” Petaluma football coach Rick Krist said. “Offensively we were more physical and I think our speed took over. We have things to work on. We had a few crashes and dropped big games.
Petaluma stays at home next week, renewing their feud with Santa Rosa in a game to be played on Thursday, September 1. Originally scheduled for Friday, the contest was brought forward a day due to a lack of officials to cover a Friday overload. contest in North Bay.