There were two ways to go for this year’s participants in the Clatsop Clash football game: The winner would be 1-0 in league play, and the loser would drop to 0-4 overall.
With so much at stake, the action was bound to get a little intense.
Which it did Friday night at CMH Field, where the Seaside Seagulls managed to snap their three-game losing skid and pick up their first victory of 2019, an 8-0 decision over Astoria.
A 3-yard touchdown run by Brayden Johnson in the first quarter and a two-point safety in the second quarter were the only points of the night for the Gulls, but that’s all Seaside needed.
The two teams battled to a scoreless tie in the second half.
In the long, storied rivalry of the Clatsop Clash, the Gulls had not beaten Astoria three years in a row since the 1980s, when Seaside topped the Fishermen four straight years (1985-88).
With their third straight win over Astoria, the modern-day Gulls finally broke that string, but not without some struggles.
Because for one half, the big “S” on Seaside’s helmet stood for “self-inflicted.”
The Gulls had no problem moving the ball over the first 24 minutes. By halftime, Seaside had 220 yards rushing and 10 first downs.
On the downside, the Gulls collected nine penalties for a whopping 105 yards in the first two quarters. The nine infractions included five personal foul penalties, three for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The first two unsportsmanlike penalties took place before Seaside had even run its second play from scrimmage, and had the Gulls facing a third-and-long from their own 10-yard line.
That’s when Andrew Teubner — younger brother of former Gull (now Boise State Bronco) Alexander Teubner — broke loose for a 47-yard gain into Astoria territory.
Young Teubner would finish the first half with 99 yards on 10 carries.
The big gain eventually led to the first points, as Johnson capped a 12-play, 82-yard drive with the game’s lone touchdown, with 7:05 left in the first quarter.
Another long drive by the Gulls midway through the first half saw Seaside march from its own 16 to the Fishermen 3-yard line, when the Gulls lost the ball on a fumble.
Not to be outdone by self-inflicted miscues, Astoria’s next snap flew over the head of quarterback Bo Williams and out of the end zone for a safety, giving the Gulls an 8-0 lead.
Seaside’s third unsportsmanlike foul took place late in the second quarter, and cost the Gulls a player. A late hit, unsportsmanlike penalty on Johnson — Seaside’s TD-scorer — was the second of the half on Johnson, who was ejected from the game.
Another personal foul on the Gulls moved Astoria to the Seaside 28-yard line, but that’s as far as the Fish could get, as Gavin Rich intercepted a Williams pass in the end zone with under a minute remaining.
The second half was a reversal of the first.
Astoria, which had just four first downs in the first two quarters (three by penalty), had five first downs in the third period, to none for the Gulls.
But Seaside’s defense rose to the occasion — over and over again — to keep the Fishermen out of the end zone.
The Gulls would hold Astoria’s offense to just 16 yards rushing on 21 carries for the entire game, which included minus-1 yard total offense in the first half.
Astoria’s defense also answered the challenge, and did not give up a first down in the second half until Seaside’s final drive of the game.
Starting from their own 9-yard line, the Gulls reeled off five straight first downs — all on the ground, as Seaside alternated carries for Jake Black and Aedyn Cook to run out the clock.
Teubner finished with 11 carries for 102 yards, while Black had 101 yards on 17 attempts. Cook added 65 yards rushing on 14 carries.
Seaside quarterback Ledger Pugh threw just one pass (incomplete), while Williams threw for 70 yards on 6-of-18 passing for Astoria. Dylan Junes caught two passes for 31 yards.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Fishermen, who host Banks next Friday, while the Gulls host Valley Catholic.