Huskies to get rematch with Marist on Nov. 2 after decisive 34-7 win Friday

Brian Rathbone

Sweet Home football team handed Newport a 34-7 beat-down to finish off an undefeated league season and clinch the Special District 3 (Oregon West Conference) title Friday night.

And it wasn’t much of a fight.

With at least aa share of the district title on the line for both teams if Newport won and an outright championship for the Huskies if they came out on top, Sweet Home’s defense kept Newport out of end zone until the fourth quarter when the Cubs finally got on the board with 1:12 left in the game.

“It was a good win for the guys,” Coach Dustin Nichol said. “They did a good job.”

Newport came into the game with one loss, to Cascade the week before, and it was Homecoming and Senior Night for the Cubs.

Nichol said he thought it could be close “on one hand,” but he also saw the potential for what ended up happening.

“I thought it would come down to who well we traveled and how well our defense would play,” he said, adding that the offense would need to be in synch.

“Also, it would depend on the weather. Sometimes when you get over to the coast, the wind is blowing 30 mph and the rain is coming down sideways. Your passing can be kind of limited.”

Friday night was perfect football weather, he said – a 5 mph wind, moderate temperatures.

“It was a beautiful night for football.”

Sweet Home’s offense struggled to move the ball in the first quarter, with each drive ending in a punt.

“We had a little trouble getting in synch, with what they were doing in the secondary,” Nichol said.

But eventually the passing attack was able to find its groove in the second quarter when Colton Smith connected with Lance Hanson on a third and 6 for a 30-yard score. The scoring drive was set up by a interception deep in Newport territory.

Sweet Home was just getting started. The Huskies forced a three-and-out, backing up the Cubs inside their own five yard line. Working again with a short field, Smith again found Hanson streaking down the sideline for a 32-yard score. A two-point conversion made it a 14-0 game.

The Huskies once again threatened inside Newport territory with under a minute before the half, but Smith’s pass was picked off by Newport’s Lucas Fisher. With 55 seconds left, Newport mounted a drive with a pair of trick plays, but the Husky defense held strong to keep the Cubs from getting a quick score before the half.

“The conditions were good and the kids were up for the challenges,” Nichol said. “They were hitting on all cylinders.”

Newport has had a knack this season for making second-half comebacks. Against Philomath, Stayton and Sisters, the Cubs were able to rally after halftime to turn losses into victories. Newport would have no such chance against Sweet Home.

After stopping the Cubs on fourth down on the opening half of the second half, senior running back Hayden McDonald scored on the first play of the drive from 44 yards to take a three-score lead.

The game would turn into a rout after senior wideout Nathan Virtue scored from 10 yards out after being set up by a big gain on a catch-and-run by McDonald a play earlier.

If there was any shot at a comeback for the Cubs, it ended with the next drive when a bobbled kickoff, followed by a penalty put the Newport offense inside its own five-yard line. The Cubs called a pass and the Sweet Home pressure got to Losier who made a desperation throw to avoid the sack, but he was called for intentional grounding which resulted in a safety.

Virtue put the icing on cake scoring on a 49-yard touchdown pass from Smith to give Sweet Home a 34-0 lead.

The Cubs’ lone score came at the end of the game, with Sweet Home’s backups on the field.

“We had a lot of our younger players in to give them some experience, on both sides of the ball,” Nichol said. “The last eight minutes we were playing with mostly second string and JV, which gets them ready for next year.”

The win not only gave Sweet Home the Special District 3 title, but also earned the Huskies a bye in the playoffs. The Huskies will host Marist Catholic on Friday, Nov. 2 for the first round playoff match.

Sweet Home (5-0, 6-2), now ranked 11th by OSAA, lost its season-opener to the Spartans at Marist, 28-12, a game that Nichol said he thought at the time could have gone either way.

“I truly believe that was one we let get away,” he said. “Three times we were in side their 10 yard line and twice inside the 5 and we came up empty. That sets a tone, when we should have been leading the entire game. Even if we had just put two of those scores up on the board, it would have been a different game.”

The Spartans, ranked eighth, are 4-1 in the Sky-Em League after a 21-14 loss at home against No. 4 Marshfield. They are 3-4 since the win over Sweet Home, but their other losses came against Banks (now No. 1), Seaside (No. 3) and Mazama (No. 5).

“They are a good team, but I think you could flip a coin going into this game. I think we’re improving all the way around on the defensive side of the ball.”

With both teams getting a bye this Friday, Nichol said he expects the game to come down to which one keeps the intensity level up the best.

“We’re going to see who practices best, who prepares the best,” he said. “Sometimes you get a week off and it starts raining and people start looking at the mats and the basketball court.

“A lot of football and athletics in high school is just attitude, where your heart is.”

Scoring Summary

1 2 3 4

SH 0 14 14 7 – 34

N 0 0 0 7 – 7

Second Quarter

SH – Lance Hanson 30 pass from Colton Smith. Conversion attempt failed.

SH – Lance Hanson 32 pass from Colton Smith. 2-pt. Conversion.

Third Quarter

SH – Hayden McDonald 47 run. Kick failed.

SH – Nathan Virtue 10 pass from Colton Smith. Conversion attempt failed.

SH – Safety.

Fourth Quarter

SH – Nathan Virtue 48 pass from Colton Smith. Conversion attempt failed.

N – Austin Perry 55 pass from Luke Losier. Kick.

Individual Statistics

Rushing: Sweet Home – Hayden McDonald 10-66; (Colton Smith, Cade Gaskey, Travis Thorpe and Gavin Nichols also carried the ball, but finished with minus yardage). Newport – Addison Galen 16-51; Austin Perry 11-41; Tanner Stottlemyre 9-40; Lucas Fisher 1-3; Luke Losier 1-1; Justin Plechaty 1- (-12).

Passing: Sweet Home – Colton Smith 18-33-2-272; Aiden Tyler 1-3-0-1. Newport – Luke Loiser 7-21-3-109; Tanner Stottlemyre 1-1-0-30; Austin Perry 1-1-0-25.

Receiving: Sweet Home – Nathan Virtue 6-93; Casey Tow 5-83; Lance Hanson 3-66; Jake Swanson 2-25; Jasper Korn 2-5; Travis Thorpe 1-1. Newport – Austin Perry 4-106; Justin Plechaty 3-48; Max Moore 1-6; Tanner Stottlemyre 1-4.