Football: Sweet Home rebounds from OT Madras loss to top Molalla

Benny Westcott

The Sweet Home High School football team bounced back from an overtime 26-20 season-opening loss to Madras with a convincing 49-14 nonleague victory at Molalla Friday night, Sept. 9.

The Huskies improved to 1-1 overall, while Molalla fell to 0-2.

Sweet Home put up points every quarter of the game and held the home team scoreless until the fourth.

“We came out motivated and focused from start to finish, and put together a really good football game,” head coach Ryan Adams said. “We thought that Molalla was going to be pretty similar to Madras with their skill level. We thought that they were going to have some dudes, and they do — they’ve got some athletes. But we were able to capitalize and be a little bit sharper on our end. [Molalla] struggled with little things like catching the ball and punts. But I think a lot of that is a testament to what we had going on.”

It was quite a departure for the penalty-plagued team that faced Madras the previous week.

“Our Week 1 game, I put it on our seniors,” he said. “We kind of let it get away from us and let our emotions get the best of us. I told our seniors it was going to be on them to fix it and lead us to where we wanted to go. And they responded tremendously. Almost every single one of our big plays [against Molalla] was done by one of our seniors.”

“What really hindered us was after-the-whistle-type stuff,” he continued. “It was running our mouth and extra kinds of actions that we just didn’t need that really killed us. And we eliminated all of those against Molalla. We didn’t have a single one after the whistle, or a single unsportsmanlike penalty, or things like that.

“I put that on our seniors too, because they had the majority of those unsportsmanlike penalties in Week 1. [Against Molalla] they really did a good job responding, keeping their heads and making sure that they did what it took to win a football game.”

Sweet Home jumped out early to a 14-0 lead after one quarter of play when Brady Nichols caught a ball from Heath Nichol for a 39-yard touchdown, then Kayo Ebbs ran for a four-yard score.

By halftime the visiting Huskies were up 22-0, thanks to a safety tackle by Jacob Landtroop and an eight-yard quarterback keeper touchdown run by Nichol.

The third quarter saw more of the same domination, with Kaden Zajic snagging an interception on a screen play and running 49 yards for a touchdown. Kelso Ellis also punched in another for the Huskies on a four-yard run.

The Molalla offense began showing signs of life in the final frame, when the Indians scored 14 unanswered points. Brandon Olsen caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Tucker Ward, who also threw a 23-yarder to Brody Kneer.

However, the Sweet Home offensive attack still wasn’t finished, as Heath Nichol scored on a three-yard run. The Huskies then again exhibited lockdown defense when Trenton Smith took an interception on a 33-yard TD ride. And when the final whistle sounded, Sweet Home had prevailed.

“We’ve preached all season so far that if we play our game, we can run with anybody,” Adams said. “We can dominate the games that we’re supposed to and can compete with anybody in the state. I think this was just a stepping stone on our way to doing that.”

Sweet Home begins Special District 3 league play at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at Cascade. The Cougars also enter the contest with a 1-1 record, after losing 34-26 to Baker and then winning 30-6 against Marshfield.