Despite Husky highlights, Cascade rolls to win

Jackson Baer

For The New Era

Sweet Home’s football team got some big plays from its passing game and special teams Friday, but the Huskies couldn’t stand up to Cascade’s ground attack, falling 35-21.

Sweet Home’s run defense, a big concern after a loss to Stayton, got steamrolled as Cascade rushed for 419 yards on 67 attempts. The Cougars made only five pass attempts, four of them coming in the first half.

“Cascade had a major height and weight advantage and it showed on the field,” said Head Coach Dustin Nichol.

It wasn’t all bad for the Huskies, as they held onto the ball and had a great night on special teams. Sweet Home did not commit a turnover while Cascade coughed up the ball three times €“ two fumbles and one interception.

Cascade started with a nice opening drive that was stopped short by a fumble recovered by junior Jesse Comstock. Later in the first quarter the Cougars scored the first points of the game on a quarterback sneak from the 1-yard line.

Junior Hunter Bidwell got the Huskies on the board by returning the following kick-off for a 90-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7. “We practiced a lot on special teams this week,” said Bidwell. “Stayton beat us last week because of their special teams play and we knew we needed to improve ours.”

The second quarter would prove to be the Huskies’ downfall. Cascade wasted no time marching the ball down the field and regaining the lead, one minute into the second quarter. On their next possession the Cougars scored again to go up 21-7.

The next drive for Sweet Home would be their most productive of the night. Quarterback Keenan Martin connected with fellow senior Alex Santana for a 44-yard reception to take the Huskies down the field. Martin then completed a 17-yard pass to Bidwell, who proved to be one of the bright spots for the Huskies in this game. Martin finished off the drive with a two-yard touchdown run to bring the Huskies within seven points.

Cascade wasn’t finished scoring. adding another rushing touchdown before halftime to take a 28-14 lead into the locker room.

At the end of the second quarter the Cougars had 244 rushing yards on 35 attempts and added 102 passing yards,

completing all four of their attempts.

The Sweet Home offense was a different story. Heading into half time they managed just 5 yards rushing on eight attempts and 84 yards passing, going four for 10 throwing the ball.

The Huskies got the ball first in the second half but were unable to get any momentum going on the drive. Cascade followed up its impressive first half with another drive that was capped off with a rushing touchdown, giving the Cougars a 35-14 lead.

Bidwell then turned in another impressive kick-off return, taking the following kick for 56-yards and injecting some life into the offense. Martin showed athleticism and speed on a nice 16-yard run and then hooked up with Alex Coakley on a 10-yard touchdown pass that would be the last score of the game.

Sweet Home’s special teams were in synch on both sides of the ball. Alex Santana had another good night handling the kick-offs and extra points while Alex Coakley proved effective in the punting game.

“We worked a lot on special teams this week, now we need to keep moving forward and not move backwards,” said Nichol.

The team provided good blocking for Bidwell to make those two big plays and shut down Cascade on all their chances.

Cascade continued to control the ball, rushing 32 times for 175 more yards in the second half. The Huskies kept the score respectable by making big plays on defense. Alex Santana was all over the field and had a highlight-reel interception with 3:11 remaining in the third quarter.

Down 35-21, Sweet Home was stopped three-and-out to stifle any kind of comeback.

“We’ve got to prepare better and work harder in practice,” said Santana. “We have to make more tackles and work on all the missed ones.”

The fourth quarter was relatively quiet as neither team reached the end zone. Sophomore Mitch Keenon recovered a fumble to stop the Cougars on what was shaping up to be another scoring drive.

When asked why his team is having such a hard time stopping the run, Nichol replied, “I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. A lot of it has to do with needing to be more physical and being better tacklers. We did better in practice last week with tackling and special teams. We’re spending a lot more time this week with tackling and being more aggressive. Special teams showed on the field but tackling didn’t.”

Against Stayton, the Huskies showed promise on offense but digressed versus Cascade in week two. They did however improve tremendously on special teams from week one and will look to continue that trend this week versus Central (2-0), which blew out Sisters 56-14 in Week One and then beat Estacada 48-27 Friday.

The keys to Sweet Home notching its first victory appear to be improving its ground game, run defense and tackling skills, and combining those with the special teams and passing capabilities the Huskies showed Friday.

One thing they have in their advantage is playing in front of the home crowd where they were 7-0 last season.

The Huskies aren’t alone in their woes. Every team in the Sky-Em is off to a rocky start and all six lost Friday. The Huskies still have two weeks to straighten things out and find their identity before they start league play.

One of the positives on defense was Jerohn Coleman, who played extremely physical and dominated his opponent, Nichol said. Coleman is switching to defensive end this week. Zach Jackson (concussion) won’t be back till next week and Wade Paulus will be a game- time decision after sustaining a big hit at Cascade.

“All of us were pretty upset with our showing at Cascade,” Nichol said. “We thought we should have competed better on offense and defense. Now they’re gonna be put to the test against a good Central team with a lot of returning starters. Our goal is to get them built up this week and get them to be more technically sound on defense.

“There will be some more bodies moved around this week. We’ll also be moving people around in the defensive secondary.

We’ve got a lot of people to look at on film and this week is competition week. A lot of positions are up for grabs and we’ll see who wants to take those positions.”

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total

SH 7 7 7 0 21

C 7 21 7 0 35

Scoring Summary:

1st Quarter:

C: 0:55 Ryan Dozler 1-yd run (Jordan Farr kick)

SH: 0:39 Hunter Bidwell 90-yd KO ret. (Alex Santana kick)

2nd Quarter

C: 11:00 Brandon Gonzalez 1- yd run (Farr kick)

C: 7:47 Dozler 1-yd run (Farr kick)

SH: 5:34 Keenon Martin 2-yd run (A Santana kick)

C: 1:29 Dakota Kittleson 10-yd run (Farr kick)

3rd Quarter

C: 7:58 Jake Nacrelli 9-yd run (Farr kick)

SH: 7:05 Martin 10-yard pass to Alex Coakley (Santana kick)

Team Statistics

Rushing: SH 13-48; Cascade 67-419

Passing: SH 7-23-1, 124; Cascade 4-5-0, 102

First Downs: SH 6; Cascade 29

Penalties: SH 3-25; Cascade 5-25

Turnovers: SH 0; Cascade 3

SH Offensive Stats:

Rushing: 48 yards

Passing: 124 yards

Total Yards: 172 yards

Individual Statistics

Rushing: Keenan Martin 4-38; Patrick Long €“ 8-7; Kris Newport 1-3.

Passing: Keenan Martin 23-7–0 124 yards, 1 touchdown

Receiving: Alex Coakley 3-48 yards, 1 touchdown; Alex Santana 1-44; Hunter Bidwell 1-17; Zach Miller 1-8; Patrick Long 1-7 .

Fumble Recovery: Jesse Comstock 1; Mitch Keenon 1.

Fumble Caused: Jesse Comstock 1.

Interceptions: Alex Santana 1.

Kickoff Returns: Hunter Bidwell 3-159, 1 touchdown.

Patrick Long (24) €“ 2 returns for 22 yards

Kyle Sorenson (32) €“ 1 return for 14 yards

Punt Returns: Kickoffs: Alex Santana (28) €“ 4 kickoffs for 209 yards

Punts: Alex Coakley (20) €“ 6 punts for 214 yards