Emotions were high on the field and in the stands as coastal rivals Half Moon Bay High School and Terra Nova High School went head-to-head in the annual Skull Game on Friday night on the Terra Nova field. Half Moon Bay claimed the 52-21 victory and the Skull trophy in a prelude to a playoff collision this weekend.

“We ran the ball well and our defense stopped their runs,” said Half Moon Bay head coach Keith Holden on Friday night, after the game.

Coach Keith Holden talks to the team

Half Moon Bay High School football Coach Keith Holden talks to the team after their win against Terra Nova High School on Nov. 5, 2021. Adam Pardee / Review


The Cougars came out of the gates roaring, going for a 2-point conversion after their first touchdown of the game. They succeeded, but it would be the only points of the first quarter. The Cougars were ahead, 8-0, at the end of the quarter.

Both teams fought aggressively in the second quarter, but Half Moon Bay broke through for another touchdown with four minutes left in the half. After the conversion put the Cougars up 15-0, the Tigers needed a jump start.

The Tigers scored on the next down, a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, putting Terra Nova back into striking distance. The excitement was short-lived for the home team as the Cougars scored again, leading 22-7 at halftime.

Despite the lopsided score, the fight was not over for the Tigers, and the quarterbacks for the two teams traded blows in the third quarter. Dominic Gordon, for Terra Nova, threw two touchdowns to keep his team in it, but William Moffit and Quinn McCauley for Half Moon Bay each responded with a rushing touchdown.

Emilio Villalobos scores a touchdown

Half Moon Bay High School football Tightend Emilio Villalobos scores a touchdown and celebrates with Linebacker Sam Lowings, and Center William Lozano during their game against Terra Nova High School on Nov. 5, 2021. Adam Pardee / Review

The Tigers were down, 36-21, as the teams entered the fourth quarter.

“Terra Nova has some talented kids,” said Holden. “We had to play smart, assignment football.”

Half Moon Bay retained its offensive footing in the final quarter.

With a 55-yard touchdown pass from Moffitt, a safety, and a fumble recovery touchdown from the defense, the game ended with Half Moon Bay securing the victory. 

Emma Spaeth is a staff writer for the Half Moon Bay Review covering community, arts and sports. Emma grew up in Half Moon Bay before earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oregon.

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