Football: After overtime loss to Madras, Huskies focus on cleaning up act at Molalla

Benny Westcott

After a topsy-turvy 26-20 overtime loss to Madras last week in their season opener, Sweet Home is looking to right the ship this week as they take the road for another non-league game, this time against Molalla.

Like the Huskies, the Indians will also be looking for their first win of the year, as they dropped their opening night game at Stayton, losing 36-8.

“I think Molalla’s a pretty good football team,” Sweet Home Head Coach Ryan Adams said. “I don’t think the score really did them justice with how their game went Friday. They had quite a few opportunities in the red zone to score that they just didn’t capitalize on.”

“They’re going to play hard,” he added. “They’re going to play tough. It’s their first home game of the year, so they’ll be excited. We’re looking forward to getting after it.”

From an X’s and O’s standpoint, he explained that “offensively, they’re kind of a spread team like us. They seem to be a little bit more consistent with what they do, with the plays that they run. We feel like we have a pretty good idea of what they’re going to throw at us – a lot of bubbles and QB run-type stuff is what they did against Stayton.”

“Defensively, they like to do things a little bit different from what we are typically used to,” he said. “They run a four and sometimes five man front, which you don’t see very often against a spread team.”

He said the Huskies are focusing on discipline in practice this week, after penalties cost Sweet Home in its opener against Madras.

“We’re excited to get back out there and are looking forward to another opportunity to kind of correct our wrongs from last Friday,” he said.

“We’re going to focus a lot on our self-discipline and hopefully clean up the penalties, and refocus on what’s important when it comes to playing. And hopefully the results will then change this Friday.”

Sweet Home indeed had problems with penalties against the White Buffalo, with seven flags costing the Huskies 81 yards, many of them ill-conceived, as acknowledged by both Adams and his players afterwards.

“”I think that we lost the game ourselves with the amount of personal fouls and penalties that were self-inflicted,” Adams said, adding “They were just a little bit better at honing in on what they were doing, their craft. They stopped with their penalties, and we didn’t.”

He reiterated, “I really think the penalties lost us the game. We had a couple drives where we had them stopped in their tracks in third and long type of situations, and we got a good play except for the penalty on us. We gave them another shot and allowed them to take more time off of the clock.”

A positive note: The Huskies were in it till the end.

The game was back-and-forth throughout, Sweet Home getting on the scoreboard first, 6-0, after Brady Nichols hauled in a 19-yard touchdown pass from Heath Nichol. The Huskies’ kick attempt failed.

Madras took the lead in the second quarter on a 27-yard run by Johan Poland, who then put the White Buffalo ahead with a PAT kick.

Sweet Home responded as Jeremy Zook scored on a nine-yard run and Nichol evened the score with a two-point conversion run.

Madras evened the score again just before halftime as quarterback Dru Boyle hit Tyler Clarkson with a 14-yard pass and Poland added the PAT.

Penalties took their toll on the Huskies in the second half as flags interrupted their progress on both sides of the ball.

Still, after Madras scored six after a six-yard run by James Lange, the Huskies were able to even things up with 2:08 left in the game when, on third and 11, Nichol scrambled toward the sideline and managed to run 11 yards past the line of scrimmage for a touchdown.

That tied the game at 20-20, and things were looking good for Sweet Home as Smith lined up to kick a go-ahead point. But a false start called on the Huskies pushed Smith back further. When play resumed, Smith got the kick off, but it missed wide, squandering Sweet Home’s chance to take the lead.

An interception by Von James at the goal line ended the regular period.

The Huskies sputtered as they took possession in overtime, losing yards on two plays, and Madras took over – or rather, senior quarterback Boyle took charge, running the ball twice, the second for a 17-yard touchdown score that led to a stampede of excited White Buffalo players and fans piling on top of each other in the corner of the field to celebrate the walk-off win.

Sweet Home took some positives from the opening game despite the loss, Adams said.

“I think we showed, and a lot of the guys are now believing, that if we can take care of what we can control, we can be a really good football team,” Adams said. “If we don’t, then we’re going to be in a lot of grind-out contests and trying to win there at the end, if we’re competing at all.”