Huskies find rhythm in win over Molalla

Using a balanced offense and a defense that was in command most of the game, Sweet Home handily defeated Molalla, 51-35.

Similar to the week before, the Huskies were slow getting out of the blocks, fumbling the opening kickoff and then fumbling again on their first possession. Molalla recovered the first fumble on Sweet Home’s five yard line and took the lead on Bryce Leedham’s one-yard run.

Tim McDowell made up for his first fumble by returning the next kick 76 yards to the Molalla 20, but the second fumble on a running play prevented the Huskies from taking advantage.

“I don’t know if it’s anything in particular,” said head coach Rob Younger about the early game woes of the Huskies. “We just have to get better at it. But it’s nice to see the kids retain their composure after the slow starts.”

The defense contributed to that composure by stopping the Indians on five of their next six possessions in the first half.

While the defense was doing its job, the offense began to produce as well, scoring on five of its next six possessions in the half. The offensive barrage began following a

Molalla fumble recovered by D.J. Burns at the Molalla 23.

To tie up the game, Keenan Martin tossed an 11-yard strike to Sean Potter, one of Potter’s two touchdowns for the game and five for the season.

The second quarter started out with a Brock Cota interception for the Huskies. Tyler Holly’s passing and the running of Cota led the Huskies on their longest drive of 85 yards, culminating in a Holly to Zach Miller ten yard pass.

The Indians sandwiched in a 70-yard pass from Drew Johnson to Jared Schaefer, but from that point on, it was all Huskies in the second quarter.

Martin connected with Potter on a 43-yard pass play to jump start the next drive. Then Brent Moyer took over, scoring on a two-yard run following his earlier 25-yard romp. In the next series, it was Cota’s turn to lead the running attack, accumulating 54 yards total before finishing with a 31 yard scamper to the end zone.

Alex Santana continued to shine as a place kicker, converting all six of his extra point attempts and ending the second half with his first field goal of the year, a 24-yarder, that sent Sweet Home to the locker room with a 31-14 lead.

Holly extolled the virtues of the entire team package on offense, starting with the line play and the depth of the receiving corps.

“It’s kind of nice to have a number of good wide receivers,” exclaimed Holly, who knows it’s been much easier for both him and Martin to find the receivers with the solid line protection. “Whenever they give us time, we can let things develop and that’s when we can make plays.”

The Huskies continued their onslaught in the third quarter with some solid running by Potter. Holly punched the ball into the end zone on a one-yard keeper.

Molalla put together its one solid drive of the night with Johnson passing to Nick Jenck for a 17-yard touchdown. The Indians held the Huskies on their next possession, but proceeded to dash their hopes when they fumbled Alex Coakley’s 37-yard punt, which was recovered and returned for a 33-yard touchdown by McDowell, who also led the Huskies in tackles on defense.

With Moyer, Cota, and Kyle Sorenson sharing the running load, the Huskies marched down the field to complete their scoring early in the fourth quarter when Holly locked up with Potter again on a 23-yard pass. Molalla scored two late meaningless touchdowns to pad their statistics and make the score look closer than the game actually was.

Sweet Home achieved the balance that they were looking for on offense running for 251 yards and passing for 212 more.

Cota led all runners with 116 yards in 12 carries, followed closely by Moyer with 85 yards in 10 tries. Holly was seven of nine in passing for 136 yards and Martin contributed 76 more. Potter led all receivers with five catches and 159 yards, to keep his per catch average at nearly 36 yards for the year.

“We’re able to take advantage of what the defense gives us,” explained Younger, referring to their offensive balance. “We can do what we want to do rather than have the defense dictate the game.”

The Husky defense left the Indians one dimensional by shutting down its running game to just 33 yards in 28 attempts.

Johnson threw the ball 39, completing 22 for 319 yards and four touchdowns. However, he was intercepted twice, the second interception by Taylor Tagle.

“Other than the big pass plays, our first group on defense really contained their passing game,” stated Younger, emphasizing their bend but don’t break philosophy. “We just have to learn to get a pass rush.”

Sweet Home takes on a 2-0 Stayton squad in their third consecutive home game. The Eagles won both of their home contests, defeating Philomath 32-21 and then Seaside 33-6. Stayton returns a strong nucleus from last year with many skilled athletes.

“It’s a perfect game for us,” said Younger. “It’s a step up in caliber of play.”

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final

Sweet Home 7 24 14 6 51

Molalla 7 7 7 14 35

1st Quarter

Mol: Bryce Leedham 1 yd. run (Brendan Anderson kick)

SH: Sean Potter 11 yd. pass from Keenan Martin (Alex Santana kick)

2nd Quarter

SH: Zach Miller 10 yd. pass from Tyler Holly (Santana kick)

Mol: Jared Schaefer 70 yd. pass from Drew Johnson (Anderson kick)

SH: Brent Moyer 2 yd. run (Santana kick)

SH: Brock Cota 31 yd. run (Santana kick)

SH: Santana 24 yd. field goal

3rd Quarter

SH: Holly 1 yd. run (Santana kick)

Mol: Nick Jenck 20 yd. pass from D.Johnson (Anderson kick)

SH: Tim McDowell 33 yd. fumble return (Santana kick)

4th Quarter

SH: Potter 23 yd. pass from Holly (Santana kick)

Mol: Hunter Johnson 34 yd. pass from D.Johnson (Anderson kick)

Mol: Jenck 16 yd. pass from D.Johnson (Anderson kick)

Team Stats

Rushing: Sweet Home 44-251; Mol 28-33

Passing: Sweet Home 11-19, 212; Mol 22-39-2, 319

Sacked: SH 1-7 ; Mol 1-4

Total Offense: Sweet Home 456; Mol 348

First Downs: Sweet Home 18; Mol 14

Tackles for Losses: Sweet Home 8; Mol 11

3rd/4th Down Conversions: Sweet Home 5-13; Mol 9-21

Penalties: SH 4-50; Mol 13-98

Turnovers: SH 3; Mol 3

Individual Stats

Rushing: SH: Cota 12-116; Moyer 10-85; Potter 3-33; Sorenson 8-14; T.Holly 2-6; Martin 4-2;

C.Holly 1-(-2); Santana 4-(-3); Mol: Bartels 13-36

Passing: SH: Holly 7-9, 136; Martin 4-10, 76; Mol: D.Johnson 22-39-2, 319

Receiving: SH: Potter 5-159; Santana 2-17; Cota 1-14; Miller 1-10; McDowell 1-8; Tagle 1-4

Mol: H.Johnson 8-89; Schaefer 5-117; Jenck 6-74

Kickoffs: SH: Santana 45.6, 31.3 net; Avg start line: 29.4

Mol: Anderson 52.2, 26.5 net; Avg start line: 31.7

Kick Returns: SH: McDowell 4-125-1; Santana 1-29; Mol: 6-115

Punts: SH: Coakley 3, 34.3, 34.3 net; Mol 38.4, 36 net

Punt Returns: SH: Tagle 2-12; Mol: None

Interceptions: SH: 2 (Cota, Tagle); Mol 0

Fumble Recoveries: SH: 1 (Burns); Mol 3

Sacks: SH 1 (Whitfield); Mol: 1

Tackles: SH: McDowell 9, Marchbanks 8, Jackson 6

* * * * *

The Huskies Frosh/Soph football team defeated Molalla 36-6 Thursday at Molalla behind three touchdowns by tailback Wade Paulus.

The Sweet Home defense gave up a TD within the first two minutes of the game, thanks to three missed tackles, but after that the tide turned for the Huskies, Coach Dustin Nichol said.

“The offensive line did an excellent job blocking. The running backs had big holes to run through and (quarterback) Colton Holly had a lot of time to throw,” he said. “We had multiple people score and it was an overall team win.”

Holly threw for one more touchdown and two point-after-touchdowns and ran for another.

Colton Schilling and Quin Wise both caught PAT passes.

Paulus’ longest run of the night was a 60-yarder for a touchcdown.

On defense, Jake Smith came up with two interceptions for Sweet Home.