SH piles up yards in running over La Pine 59-16

Scott Swanson

Sweet Home made short work of La Pine Friday, finding the end zone four times in the first quarter en route to defeating the hosts 59-16 on a chilly fall night.

Coach Dustin Nichol expected to win at La Pine Friday, but the game turned out to be a little more exciting than he wanted it to be.

Facing a team that was winless in five games going into Friday’s contest, including a 27-14 loss the week before at Cottage Grove, Nichol said he’d figured on using the game as a tune-up for the young Huskies, who had lost their own opener the previous week at Elmira, 39-22.

Sweet Home started the game by marching to four touchdowns in the first period, building a 27-0 lead a quarter into the game. The contest ended with coaches from both teams corralling their players into tight groups on the sidelines prior to the post-game handshake after officials threw four unsportsmanlike conduct and late-hit flags, starting midway through the third quarter.

“I was very happy with the first half and not happy with the way the game ended, with unsportsmanlike conduct calls,” Nichol said.

Sweet Home’s start was exactly what Nichol said before and after the game that he wanted: establish the run and then bring in the passing game.

Wade Paulus scored on a 36-yard run on Sweet Home’s second play, with 9:39 on the clock, after the Huskies limited La Pine to four and out on their first series.

After another four-and-out for the hosts, the Huskies a nine-play drive from their own 13, capped by Spencer Knight’s four-yard run at 5:01.

With 1:19 left in the first period, Paulus ran it in from the 25 yard line to make it 21-0.

On the hosts’ next play, quarterback Gareth Dahlgren fumbled, Sweet Home’s Josh Holman picked up the ball and ran it to the two-yard line, where Horner hit Scottie Stockman with a touchdown pass to make it 28-0 with 1:02 left.

La Pine stiffened its defense in the second quarter, slowing the Huskies’ ground game and Sweet Home went to the air, but Horner had trouble getting in synch with his receivers, completing one of six pass attempts in nine plays, and La Pine took over on downs. But Stockman picked off a Dahlgren pass on the Hawks’ third play and returned it to La Pine’s 3 yard line, from which Paulus plunged in for the Huskies’ fifth touchdown with 4:26 left in the half.

The Hawks came back with a score of their own seven plays later, putting in a hurry-up offense that included a couple of big runs by Dahlgren, the last a scoring scamper from the seven yard line with 2:17 left.

Ty Collins goes airborne to tackle La Pine quarterback Gareth Dahlgren.

Sweet Home answered immediately with a score of its own after a four-play drive, Horner hitting Mitch Keenon with an 18-yard touchdown pass with 43 seconds on the clock.

Dahlgren drove La Pine to the Sweet Home 20 as the half came to an end, Sweet Home leading 40-8.

“I wanted to start out establishing the run, then start working on our passing game,” Nichol said. “I wanted to give our quarterback some experience against another team.” You can’t really simulate another team in practice.”

Plus, the Hawks were virtually unable to stop Sweet Home’s ground attack, which rolled up 495 yards on 44 carries. Paulus led the ballcarriers with 11 rushes for 160 yards and three touchdowns; Hunter Bidwell added 87 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown; Knight had three carries for 91 yards and a touchdown and JT Weld had 104 yards on seven carries, also scoring a touchdown.

“We were averaging 11 yards a carry,” Nichol noted. “The best thing for them was for us to work on our passing.”

The Huskies opened the third quarter with another scoring drive, marching 55 yards nine plays, Bidwell running it in from the 4 yard line for a 46-8 lead.

After Sweet Home and La Pine exchanged four-and-outs, La Pine took over after the Huskies came an inch short of a first down on their 48 yard line. Dahlgren completed three passes, aided by a late hit penalty against the Huskies, to take his team down the field and hit Eli Allen on a 42-yard scoring strike with 6:07 left in the period.

After another exchange of possessions, the Huskies’ Christian Voldbaek intercepted a Dahlgren pass and Horner hit Holly from 28 yards out with just over a minute left to extend Sweet Home’s lead to 53-16.

Horner finished with eight completions in 25 attempts for 130 yards.

Tempers were beginning to flare by this time and the officials tightened their control of the game, calling two personal fouls on La Pine including one on the Hawks as Voldbaek kicked a successful PAT after the pass.

Things calmed down a bit and Sweet home mounted one more series, using mostly backup players, capped with a 70-yard scoring run by Weld.

“I liked how the guys started and finished the game,” Nichol said. “They played football like I want them to. Now we just have to work on our attitude and how we react when other people say and do stuff. We had too many penalties.”

Bidwell, who came out of the game after being slammed in the back by a La Pine player, said the Hawks were playing the psychological game early on.

“They knew they were going to lose so they were just talking and cussing and pushing – cheap-shotting us.”

“It was a lot of little stuff that got to us,” said lineman Zach Gill. “Games like this give us experience. We got to show how we respond to adversity. We’ve got to work on character.”

The Huskies host Junction City, 1-4 overall after losing 21-13 to Cottage Grove Friday, this Thursday at 7 p.m. Sweet Home and the Tigers are currently tied for third in the league, with three games remaining. Elmira and Cottage Grove are both 2-0 and Sisters and La Pine are winless thus far this season.

Scoring Summary

1st 2nd 3rd 4th F

SH – 28 18 7 6 59 LP – 0 8 8 0 16

First Quarter

SH – Wade Paulus 36-yard run. Pass from Colton Holly to Cole Horner for 2-point conversion.

SH – Spencer Knight 4-yard run. Run failed.

SH – Paulus 25-yard run. Hunter Bidwell kick.

SH – Horner 12-yard pass to Scottie Stockman. Bidwell kick.

Second Quarter

SH – Paulus 10-yard run, kick failed.

LP – Gareth Dahlgren 7-yard run. Pass from Dahlgren to Deion Mock for 2-point conversion.

SH – Horner 18-yard pass to Mitch Keenon. Jacob Smith kick.

SH – Bidwell 4-yard run. Kick failed.

Third Quarter

LP – Dahlgren 42-yard pass to Eli Allen. Dahlgren run for 2-point conversion.

SH– Horner 28-yard pass to Holly. Christian Voldbaek kick.

Fourth Quarter

SH – JT Weld 70-yard run. Kick failed.

Team Statistics

Rushing: Sweet Home 44-495

Passing : Sweet Home 8-25-130

First Downs: Sweet Home 8;

Penalties: Sweet Home 6-65

Turnovers: Sweet Home 0

SH Total Yards: 625

Individual Statistics

Rushing: Wade Paulus 11-160, 3 TDs; Spencer Knight 3-91, 1 TD; Hunter Bidwell 87-12; 1 TD; JT Weld 7-104, 1 TD; Cole Horner 5-32; Jacob Smith 1-15; Christian Voldbaek 1-6; Jake Richardson 2-3; Ty Collins 1-(-3).

Passing: Cole Horner 8-25-1-130, 3 TD

Receiving: Mitch Keenon 2-29, 1 TD; Colton Holly 1-28, 1TD; Quin Wise 1-10;1 TD; Taylor Conn 1-9; Spencer Knight 1-5; Hunter Bidwell 1-4; Scottie Stockman 1-3, 1 TD.