This article originally appeared in the winter 2015 Harker Quarterly.
A blustery early autumn evening set the stage for Harker’s 2015 Homecoming celebration, and the football team turned it into a great night with a 23-13 hard-fought win. This year’s Homecoming saw people from across the Harker community gather at the upper school campus to cheer on the Harker Eagles football squad as it faced off against Santa Cruz at Davis Field. In addition to the game, Homecoming offered a chance for Harker community members – students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff – to socialize and reminisce.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the whole community to get together,” said Jennifer Gargano, assistant head of school for academic affairs. “From preschool to the upper school, everyone can come together as one community, to support our students in the game, but also in the various ways that they’re participating, whether it’s musically or through cheer or selling pizza.”
Attendees began arriving in droves as early as two hours before the 7 p.m. kickoff, enjoying a variety of food from Mrs. Carley’s Café and a delicious array prepared by the Harker kitchens – the staff had been at work since 7 a.m. preparing for the big event – alongside pizza and candy sold by Harker students. Lower, middle and upper school campuses had tables filled with confections and chips for parents and students to snack on, while Harker’s alumni of ce had a special area with white linen and great food, which enjoyed a steady stream of visitors. “It’s really exciting and everyone’s having fun,” said Elizabeth Yang, grade 9, who was selling candy to raise funds for her class.
Prior to the game, the early arrivals enjoyed special performances by Harker’s junior cheerleaders and the time-honored Eaglets fly-by. Just before the game, several of Harker’s vocal groups, directed by lower school performing arts teacher Carena Montany, sang “The Harker School Song” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The upper school jazz ensembles combined to provide accompaniment and the varsity cheerleaders maintained a steady blast of cheerful encouragement from the sidelines.
The first half of the game was hotly contested, with Santa Cruz reaching the end zone early, followed by a strong answer from Harker, which scored a safety and a touchdown to take a 9-6 lead at halftime.
During halftime, Harker’s cheer squad and varsity dancers gave energetic, crowd-pleasing performances. Shortly after, this year’s Homecoming court took the eld, with seniors Edward Sheu and Stephanie Huang named the 2015 Homecoming King and Queen.
In the second half, both teams pushed hard. Santa Cruz took back the lead to make it 13-9. Push literally came to shove in the fourth quarter as each team tried to hang on in fourth-down situations to get a drive going. Finally, with 10:40 remaining in the game, Harker marched down field and scored a touchdown to make it 16-13. For the next eight minutes the crowd was on the edge of their seats knowing if Santa Cruz found the right gap, the score would reverse, again.
Indeed, the ball changed hands several times, but neither team was able to capitalize until very late in the fourth quarter when Harker put paid to the match with a great run to make it 23-13 with less than two minutes left. Harker D was fired up and bottled up Santa Cruz, nailing the lid on the win. It was a great night out with a big, lively crowd! Huge congratulations to the football team, including coaching, training and other support staff for a great, well-fought game. Go, Eagles!