Loggers lose by one after 13-0 halftime lead

The East Linn Loggers are finding out that they play better with a dry ball.

After beating the Eugene Firebirds 22-19 last week on a last-second touchdown – on a dry field – they came out strong against the Cascade Steel in the first half Saturday, April 29, at Husky Stadium.

But after taking a 13-0 lead into the locker room, the rain came in the second half and the Loggers watched victory slip away as they gave away two touchdowns and missed a late two-point conversion attempt to fall 20-19 to the Steel.

“They couldn’t do anything offensively in the first half. Our defense was awesome,” said Head Coach Jesse Garcia. “In the second half, our defense stayed pretty tight, but our offense wasn’t able to finish.”

After the Steel went up 14-0, the Loggers scored again late in the second half to take a 19-14 lead. That was when the two-point conversion failed and the Steel came back as the clock ticked away to score one more touchdown for a 20-19 lead. Mike Bell blocked the kick for the extra point, but the Loggers couldn’t capitalize on their last chance.

“It was a good game, as far as games go,” Garcia said.

Ronny Garcia, one of the smallest players on the Loggers roster, was the top defensive player for the Loggers, recording seven solo tackles, two assists, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and a quarterback sack.

The Loggers had four sacks, two by Rod Jaques. Stewart Short contributed six solot tackles and a sack. Chris Ropp also had a good game, Jesse Garcia said.

“We were all over them, that’s for sure,” he said.

Offensively, quarterback Duane Stevens had a tough time, getting sacked five times and throwing three interceptions and losing two fumbles, as he was under defensive pressure for most of the second half.

“You can’t win games like that, that’s for sure,” Garcia said. “We started having trouble when the rain started.”

Stevens completed six of 25 passes, all to Bell, for 113 yards and one touchdown. He also ran for a score, as did Trace Privratsky.

Garcia said that even though the Loggers have more talent this year, they have been hurt by lack of consistent practice together, as players have to work or can’t make it to practice for other reasons.

“It’s frustrating because we can’t get everybody together at once,” he said. “It shows in the game. If you’re not working as a unit on the practice field, how are you going to work as a unit on the football field? We have the ability, we have the talent, but not we’re not seeming to jell. It’s frustrating.”

The Loggers, now 1-2, will play Saturday, May 6, at Jefferson at 7 p.m. against the Santiam Stallions.

Weather permitting – if Husky Stadium stays dry – the next home game will be May 13. Garcia said that if too much rain falls on the field, which will be used for the Sweet Home High School graduation in early June, the school district may nix that game, which would force his team to play at South Eugene.