Loggers lose but show spark in opener

Wayne Spinney

For The New Era

In the wake of a bittersweet six point loss East Linn Loggers? head coach Jesse Garcia left the field on Saturday knowing that he only had part of what he needed in order to win in the NNFL this year. A ten yard Stayton Stallion strike to former Western Oregon tight end Artie Patterson was the only lapse in coverage his defense had all day. Sadly it went for the only touchdown of the afternoon as the Loggers couldn?t get untracked on the offensive side of the ball and ran out of time losing 6-0 in their season opener at Husky Field.

“We made some adjustments on defense early and after that touchdown we controlled the line of scrimmage. On the other hand we were hesitant when we had the ball,” said Garcia. “Winning in the NNFL is going to take both parts (offense and defense) being efficient.”

Rod Jaques and Al Minta led a swarming Loggers? defense all afternoon as they both were in on ten tackles and had two quarterback sacks each.

Justin Poole contributed two quarterback sacks of his own as well. The Loggers pressured the Stallions all afternoon and ended the game with a total of seven sacks, with one of them turning into a fumble recovery by Jaques close to midfield late in the second half. Unfortunately the Logger offense could not take advantage of the opportunity as time ran down.

“We made some adjustments on the fly in that first half and I think we shut down their offense pretty well,? said Jacques. “We?ll see what happens next week, we need to get back up for that one.”

In a game that saw the Loggers offense sputter and earn only two first downs all afternoon, Quarterback Frank Whitton was under constant pressure and completed only eight of his twenty-two aerial attempts on the day. Kenny Gaskey and Craig Bergevin both caught three of Whitton’s passes and Jason Burr had two receptions for 23 yards.

“It was great playing on both offense and defense, I felt like I was really into the game and thought we had a shot at it right up until the very end,” said Gaskey, who started on both sides of the ball.

Bergevin, the Logger’s punter, was effective in keeping the Stallions out of scoring range all afternoon while averaging almost thirty seven yards per punt and almost pulled off a fake punt pass with Jesse Garcia Jr. late in the second half.

“I felt like I could get open all afternoon long, but we just weren’t clicking at all in our passing game and that punt pass was an example of something that we just need to do better in the future, it almost worked though,” said Garcia Jr..

It was a sun drenched afternoon that saw a nice crowd turn out for the Logger opener. A league where dreams can come true for first time players saw a dream come true for one of the more experienced players on the field though. It has been fifteen years since Artie Patterson suited up for the Wolves in Monmouth.

“I visualized this last night before I went to sleep,” said Patterson. “It’s been a long time since I’ve caught a pass for a touchdown, somehowI knew it was going to happen though. I’m pretty excited.”

This Logger team has lots to get excited about this week as they will be playing last year?s league champion Enforcers on Saturday afternoon in Jefferson. The Enforcers won their opener 44-14 and will provide the Loggers with a stiff test. Coach Garcia hopes that his offense will respond to the challenge this week.

“The Enforcers will test both our defense and offense to the max,” said Garcia. “I still think they are beatable, we just need to be able to run the ball better by being more disciplined on offense. We won’t win this year with just defense.”

The Logger defense will need to be ready as The Enforcers ran for 177 yards and passed for 258 yards in their opener. For more information on NNFL football and the East Linn Loggers go to: http://www.nineman.com.