Huskies overcome slow start to upend Panthers 49-18

Central has been out of the Capital Conference only this season, so it’s still too early to think of the Panthers as being outsiders.

So, Friday night’s 49-18 victory at Central was especially sweet for the Huskies, who got off to a very slow start.

Central’s Vadana put the first points of the game on the board in the opening quarter with an 18 yard run and then came back in the second quarter to add another six to push the lead to 12-0.

But Sweet Home’s offense was jump-started in the second as Ricky Howe scored an 87 yard kickoff return. Donny Cliver booted the PAT and the Huskies were in the hunt.

Before the half-time gun, Sweet Home’s Seth Graves would added another TD on a four yard scamper (Cliver kick) and senior Levi McCubbins, seeing his first action of the season, added six on a three yard run (Cliver kick).

Sweet Home went into the half-time break up 21-12.

“We just started off sluggish,” Coach Rob Younger said. “Ricky Howe’s 87 yard return turned everything around. We scored on our next five possessions after that and held them to 42 unanswered points.”

Sweet Home was playing without several starters including Brandon Miner, Brandon Martin, Matt Slauson, Tomas Rosa and Malcom Brown.

“We just had some bangs and bruises going into this game,” Coach Younger said. “Our depth showed though as the guys moved into the open slots and did what they had to do.”

Seth Graves added a 17 yard TD (Cliver kick) in the third and McCubbins a five yarder (Cliver kick) as the Huskies went up 35-12 head into the final quarter.

Cliver and Travis Smith iced the cake for the Huskies with a 60 yard interception (Cliver kick) and an 80 yard run (Simpkins kick).

Overall, Sweet Home carried the football 27 times for 324 yards and completed one of five aerials for 36 yards and a 360 yard night.

Central rushed 43 times for 252 yards and was 13 of 28 for 129 aerial yards for a 377 yard night.

“We averaged 12 yards a carry once we got rolling,” Coach Younger said.

Individually, Graves was 8 for 83 yards, Chris Phillips 5 for 52 yards, Ricky Howe 1 for 35, Seward 1-24; Smith 1-80 and McCubbins 10-46.

“We had three players with pickoffs, Seward, Matuszak and Cliver,” Coach Younger said.

Coach Younger again highlighted the work of the Husky special teams.

“We had an 87-yard return from the Special Teams, our punt game was very effective, our punt return game was excellent as was our kickoff return coverage. We had eight kickoffs that averaged to the 23 yard line.”

Teams honors: Sam Rodgers, Offensive Player of the Week; Matt Zollman, Defensive Player of the Week; Ricky Howe and Donny Cliver, Special Teams Players of the Week.

This week: The Huskies open the Capital Conference schedule at Molalla.

The Indians are 3-1 after a 28-7 win over Seaside.

“They run a simple game plan–they want to control the football,” Coach Younger said. “A key will be how our defense works at taking away their power game. We’ll be working this week on assignment-oriented football.”

QB corner…

The Central game started as a repeat of the week before, Husky quarterbacks Brian Seward and Donny Cliver said Monday.

“The kickoff return by Howe sparked things,” Seward said. “Central tried to establish their running game with Crockett.”

Cliver said he was proud of the way the players moved into the slots vacated by injured Huskies.

“That shows our depth charter,” Cliver said.

Both play leaders said the Huskies have to start playing a full quarters of football as the league play gets underway this Friday at Molalla.