The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

Football team gets start on new field with 26-0 win


September 15, 2015

Photos by Sean C. Morgan BRANDON KEENON sets sail for the end zone after intercepting a North Valley pass, en route to the first touchdown scored in a varsity game on Husky Field’s new artificial turf.

Sweet Home inaugurated the completion of its brand new artificial turf field, into which many players, their families and their coach have invested considerable personal time snd money over the past summer, with a convincing 26-0 shutout of North Valley.

“First win. This is huge. I love it. I’m just giddy about it,” said Coach Dustin Nichol. “Instead of just looking at it we are here playing on it.

“This is what this thing is about the community field, and I love it. This acre and a half piece of ground is being used and that’s what needs to be done. It’s awesome, the kids love it, I love it, it’s a wonderful thing for our community.”

Brandon Keenon, who has scored many touchdowns in Husky stadium, was the first Husky to race across the goal line on the new turf. He intercepted a pass and returned it 52 yards with 8:20 to go in the first quarter.

“The tight end came out, and I have flats, so I took him. He wasn’t even looking and the kid threw it right to me,” said Keenon. “It’s amazing. Last year we went undefeated on the field, and we want to keep that tradition going. Hopefully, we can stay undefeated (at home).”

After an interception of a Justin Tow pass in the second quarter, special teams provided a spark for the Huskies. North Valley was unconventionally using a field goal formation to punt, and the kick was blocked and recovered on the two yard line.

The Huskies finished with 255 yards of offense, 159 of them on the ground.

Tow finished with 96 yards through the air, three of them to Dan Virtue, who finished with 84 yards.

“Our defense and special teams kept us in this game,” Nichol said. “Our offense struggled in the first half, running. We were doing pretty well between the twenties. When we got down into the red zone and we needed the line it was nonexistent. That was my challenge to the guys at half time.”

After Garrison Whitfield recovered a Knights fumble, Keenon plunged up the middle and scored from the two-yard line for his second touchdown of the game to give Sweet Home a 14-0 lead with 8:27 to go in the first half. He ended the game with 50 yards rushing and two offensive touchdowns, along with the interception return of a touchdown.

In the fourth quarter the offense, stuck in neutral after a scoreless third quarter, finally got some traction as Sweet Home added a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Keenon scored his third touchdown of the game on third-and-4. That four-yard run shut the door on any hope the Knights had for a comeback.

“I think the turning point was when we pounded it in, we did what we wanted to do, it’s what I thought we should have been able to do the whole game and that’s when they kind of folded,” said Nichol.

With 8:27 to go in the game Justin Tow got into the touchdown column. He threw a 45-yard touchdown to Virtue who ran a great route and hauled in the pass and cruised into the end zone to give the Huskies their final score of 26-0.

“It was a comeback route, and go to the end zone, try to get him to jump the comeback route--he bit on it and Justin [Tow] just threw a perfect ball,” said Virtue. “He is improving every game, throwing better balls and getting better in the pocket.”

Keanu Aiona had a long touchdown run called back due to an inadvertent whistle by a referee. He finished with 43 yards rushing, but could have had more.

Nichol said he likes the change of pace Aiona gives the Huskies with a healthy Brandon Keenon back in the lineup.

North Valley had trouble moving the ball all night. The one time they mounted a real scoring threat the Husky defense stiffened and turned the Knights away.

Garrison Whitfield was all over the field on defense, playing on both sides of the line of scrimmage and ended the game with 10 tackles and his second fumble recovery of the season.

Sweet Home, 1-2, will open its league season Friday at home against Sisters, a 28-8 winner last Friday over Crook County. The Outlaws, 3-0, have run away from the competition in their last couple of games, including a 49-6 win over Madras after a season-opening 34-29 victory over Burns.

Scoring Summary

SH 6 8 0 12 – 26

NV 0 0 0 0 – 0

First Quarter

8:20 Brandon Keenon 52-yard intception return (PAT failed)

Second Quarter

8:27 Keenon 2 yard run (B. Keenon 2 point conv)

Third Quarter

Fourth Quarter

11:56 Keenon 4 yard run (PAT failed)

7:47 Dan Virtue 45 yard pass from Justin Tow (PAT failed)

DAN VIRTUE hauls in a pass during the Huskies’ win.

Individual Statistics

Rushing – Brandon Keenon 15-60; Garrison Whitfield 3-8; Justin Tow 2-15; Keanu Aiona 5-43; Austin James 6-33.

Passing – Justin Tow 5-10-1-96.

Receiving –Daniel Virtue 3-84; Brandon Keenon 2-12.


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