Football loses close game

Benny Westcott

Sweet Home football had Cottage Grove on the ropes on their home field on Friday night, but a late drive by the Lions thwarted the Huskies’ chance to secure their first victory of the season. Cottage Grove ended up winning the ballgame 14-12.

Sweet Home got on the board first in the second quarter when junior running back Kayo Ebbs ran for a 21 yard touchdown. The point after kick by senior Deacon Bachand was no good.

In the third quarter, Cottage Grove took a 7-6 lead on a 22 yard touchdown pass from junior Gavin Grogan to sophomore CJ Dugas and an extra point kick.

In the fourth quarter, Sweet Home senior Nathan Aker ran five yards for a touchdown but was stuffed on the two-point conversion attempt, and Sweet Home went up 12-7.

On the next possession, the Lions scored on a five yard run by junior Clayton DeWitt, and the point after kick was good, giving Cottage Grove a 14-12 lead with about two minutes left. Sweet Home was unable to score on its next possession and the game was over.

Sweet Home’s defense made big plays all night, forcing four turnovers. Senior defensive back Kaden Miller had two interceptions one in the first quarter and one in the third. Bachand, also a defensive back, forced a fumble and recovered two fumbles in the third quarter. Senior defensive back Gabe Caldera also forced a fumble in the third quarter.

Aker had five tackles and a sack as a defensive lineman, while senior Ryker Hartsook matched his tackle total with five of his own.

At quarterback for the Huskies, sophomore Austin Welch was 3/8 through the air for 45 yards. He threw one interception. He led the team in rushing yards with 61 on four attempts. Ebbs had 57 yards rushing on 11 attempts, scoring a touchdown. Sophomore Bode Nichols rushed for seven yards on one attempt, while also notching 45 receiving yards on three catches.

Cottage Grove outgained Sweet Home in yardage 241-170. They also beat Sweet Home in rushing yardage 161-125 and in passing yardage 80-45.

“I thought our kids played tough,” Head Coach Ryan Adams said. “It turned out to be a pretty evenly matched game. It was one that we definitely thought that we could have, should have won, but credit to Cottage Grove, they took care of business when they needed to.”

He added that “I thought our kids played really hard. We just didn’t execute efficiently and enough times to secure a win.”

He said his team “Hit some of our goals offensively, sustaining longer drives, rushing for more than 100 yards. We got two rushing touchdowns. Late in the game when we were up most of the game and then we got down and we needed a score, our offense was able to click enough to drive down and give our defense a shot to win it for us. So I was happy with the progress and improvement of our offense – obviously not satisfied, but it’s good to see us going in the right direction.”

On the other side of the ball, Adams said “Our defense played lights out most of the game. They have done a phenomenal job most of our games to compete and keep us in it. They forced four turnovers and pretty much dominated the whole game. Obviously the whole game doesn’t come down to that one last drive, but we needed a big stop at the end and Cottage Grove was able to execute enough and kind of take it out of our hands.”

The Huskies next face Marist Catholic at home at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29. Sweet Home enters the game with an 0-4 record, while Marist Catholic is 3-1 and ranked No. 3 in the state in 4A.