Following a low-scoring 3-0 win over Gladstone the previous week, the Astoria Fishermen were back to their usual antics Friday night at CMH Field — forcing turnovers and big stops on defense, and long scoring drives on offense.
In short, the Fishermen showed what “routine” looks like, in a 28-7 nonleague win over Philomath.
Astoria had two runners over the 100-yard mark, and the Fishermen defense — when it had to be — was solid for most of the night, forcing three turnovers and limiting the Warriors to just 43 yards of total offense in the second half.
Most of all, the Fishermen finished strong, scoring a pair of touchdowns and rolling up eight first downs in the fourth quarter.
Senior Tyler Ranta had one of his biggest nights, rushing for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries; and quarterback Tristin Wallace ran 17 times for 108 yards and a score, in addition to throwing for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Astoria improves to 2-1 overall, and also climbed to seventh in the latest OSAA rankings.
Philomath drops to 1-2. The Warriors only had two good offensive drives — the first ended with an interception in the end zone, and the second resulted in Philomath’s lone score, a 1-yard run by Dakota Kantor in the second quarter.
Still, Kantor’s touchdown had the game tied 7-7 at halftime (shades of Astoria’s game with Gladstone, which was 0-0 at the break).
But whatever adjustments the Fishermen made at halftime, they worked.
Astoria took the opening kickoff in the second half, and drove 71 yards in 12 plays, capped by Ranta’s 5-yard touchdown run.
The first two Philomath possessions of the second half ended in failed fourth-down conversions, and the Fishermen took advantage on their third series of the half.
Sparked by a 15-yard completion from Wallace to Zac Patterson, Wallace scored on a quarterback keeper from a yard out, pushing the lead to 21-7.
On the next play from scrimmage, Astoria’s Karsten Johnson intercepted a Kenan Conner pass, and Wallace capped a 58-yard drive with a 15-yard TD toss to Justin Villa with 2:21 left in the game.
And just to get their second string offense some work, the Fishermen recovered the ensuing onside kick to run out the clock.
Wallace was 9-of-18 passing, with four completions to Villa for 50 yards. Villa also intercepted a Warrior pass in the end zone, and made a touchdown-saving tackle on Philomath’s Matt Hamilton in the second quarter.
The Fishermen take to the road for the next two weeks to begin Cowapa League play, at Valley Catholic next Friday, and at Seaside Sept. 29.