Huskies overpower Newport 50-12

The Husky offensive line set the standard for the game against Newport on the opening play.

Establish a big hole and the running backs will do the rest, which Seth Graves did with a 50 yard run to the 15 yard line.

Then something good happened for Newport. They held Sweet Home on the next three plays and forced Donny Cliver to kick a 33 yard field goal. That would be the Cubs’ last good news until half way through the third quarter when the mercy rule was applied after Ryan Elliott’s two yard run made it 50-0. From that point on, Newport’s first unit, which only had 111 total yards up to that point, faced a host of new Husky faces anxious for some playing time. They scored two late touchdowns to make the final score 50-12.

Coach Rob Younger approached this game with a different philosophy.

“It gave us a chance to look at some different things and play our younger kids,” Younger said. “We put in some new offensive schemes and a major defensive scheme.”

As it turned out, the only scheme that was necessary was to put out the offensive and defensive lines and let them control the game. Up until the mercy rule, the Huskies scored on seven of their eight possessions. None of Sweet Home’s scoring possessions lasted longer than five plays. They only came up short once when they had the ball first and goal at the seven yard line. A big loss plus a big penalty forced them to try a 43 yard field goal, which was just wide to the left.

Newport, during that same period of time, had four turnovers, a fumbled kickoff return, and three punts in their possessions. Even their punts turned out to be steps backward. The punt returns of Tim Matuszak and Mike Severns outdistanced the yardage of Newport punter Dustin O’Donnell.

Matuszak, the special teams player of the game, had two returns for 50 yards, taking the second one to the Newport two yard line. Coach Younger had talked to him about just heading upfield rather than go to the outside. That’s what he did until he saw the hole open up.

“I saw all the pursuit coming from the left. I got my feet underneath me and changed directions,” said Matuszak. “It’s a bummer to run 34 yards just to get to the two.”

All the special teams were once again a big force. Newport averaged only 13 yards on the kickoffs from Cliver. For the second time this year, Matt Zollman scored a touchdown on an opponent’s fumble, this time on a fumbled kick return of 15 yards.

But still the story remained the dominant line play in the trenches.

“We just blocked solidly,” said center Jesse Aitken. “We fired out lower than in past games. For the most part, we just did what we had to do. Then our backs made the cuts they needed to for the big yards.”

Graves had three touchdowns on his seven carries for 151 yards. Twice he scored on the very first play of a possession. Brandon Miner only carried three times for 80 yards, one for a 71 yard touchdown that came after a feed from Ricky Howe, who had just caught an 8 yard pass from Cliver. Overall, before the mercy rule, the Huskies averaged over 13 yards per run.

Defensively, it was the same story: total control.

“There’s not much stuff going up the middle,” said Brandon Martin, not only about this game but about the other games as well. Against Newport, it was just more obvious. “Our defensive line and linebackers were able to step up and read.”

In the second quarter, Sweet Home tried a new defensive scheme to cover Newport’s four receiver spread offense. For awhile, execution broke down and the Cubs were able to run the ball and still occasionally pass. When it came down to crunch time, the Huskies went back to their base defense and forced turnovers.

“When our backs are against the wall, we handle the pressure,” said Martin.

Coach Younger was pleased with the way the Huskies came out in the second half after losing some defensive intensity in the second quarter. They took control of the game by scoring twice after holding Newport to two series of just three plays and then topped it off with Zollman’s recovery of the fumbled kickoff return.

The passing game was efficient as well. After Cliver missed on his first three attempts, he connected on his next five for a total of 70 yards, including another touchdown pass to Howe for 15 yards. It was the fifth touchdown of the year for the Cliver-Howe combination.

The second-ranked Huskies have an unusually early homecoming game this Friday against Central, who is 2-1 for the year and was also ranked in the top ten prior to their loss last week to Sisters, 34-20.

(For all the Husky statistics, check the internet at