Highlanders pull off Homecoming win in a downpour


Olivia Cagle

The student section watches the homecoming game intently.

The bright lights of Friday night football illuminated the turf as the No. 8-ranked Highlanders (5-1) faced the undefeated Union Grove Broncos (5-0). Homestead was originally scheduled to play West Bend West for their Homecoming matchup, but the game was cancelled due to COVID-19 contact tracing.

With the mentality that the “show must go on,” the coaches searched for another team to play. With little time to prepare and rain throughout much of the night, the team overcame those setbacks and ran away with the game by the end of the third quarter.

There were several notable offensive highlights in the Highlander victory. Within the first six minutes of the game, Joe Ollman, the No. 2-ranked running back in the state, scored the first touchdown and then ran for a successful two-point conversion.

On the defensive side of the ball, Cole Elsbree, senior linebacker, intercepted a pass to end the second quarter. The Highlander’s defense forced the Broncos to fight for every yard. The defense stepped up and only allowed 6 points throughout the entire night.

“Time is valuable, the only thing you can’t get back. We took advantage of those two hours and never looked back,” Drew Wilson, junior middle linebacker, said.

Sal Balistrieri, junior quarterback, was both effective in passing and running the ball down the field. With his quick thinking, Balistrieri kept the Broncos on their toes the entire night. At the beginning of the third quarter, Balistrieri dropped back and threw a pass to Aidan Reis, senior tight end, who ran for his first touchdown of the night.

“What separates us from teams like Whitefish Bay, Arrowhead and Union Grove is our collective talent as a team and ability to treat every team the same and always give our best effort,” Balistrieri said.

Reis stayed focused throughout the entire game, scoring his second touchdown near the end of the third quarter, leaving the Broncos trailing 22-6. Sean West, sophomore kicker, had a successful night, scoring 5 points for the Highlanders. “It was really fun being able to play after an injury and help get a big win against Union Grove,” West said.

The Highlanders persevered through the elements and closed out the Homecoming game 25-6. “We executed as a team and came out on top,” Reis noted.

For the seniors, it was bittersweet as this was their last Homecoming game.

“It felt great to win at home for our last Homecoming game against an exceptional team. It was a very hard-earned win for sure, and I couldn’t be happier for us. To get our game scheduled at 12:30 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon and play the way we did is a testament to our coaches in making sure that we are always prepared,” Ollman said.

The Highlanders will face the Hartford Orioles (4-0) at Harford next Friday.