JEWELL - The Jewell Bluejays were playing their own little game of "Shock and Awe" Friday night as they rolled to their fourth straight win, a 47-22 pounding of the Crow Cougars.
The "Shock" included Jewell's quick-strike offense, which scored on the second play of the game (a 39-yard run by James Spaulding), and added scoring plays of 60, 71, 95 and 65 yards. In fact, the Jays' shortest scoring play of the night was a little 23-yard run by Randy Layman in the fourth quarter.
The "Awe" was Joel Johnston, all by himself.
Jewell's senior quarterback threw two touchdown passes, completed six passes for 176 yards, returned interceptions 95 and 34 yards for touchdowns; and ran back a punt 65 yards for another score.
More "Shock" - the Jays even kicked an extra point. That hasn't been seen at Jewell in a while, and neither has the Jays' No. 7 ranking in the latest top 10 poll.
It's all new to the seventh-ranked Bluejays, who are now 4-0 and looking to move further up the polls.
KIM ERSKINE-The Daily Astorian
Warrenton's Jeremy Sleutel (81) gains yardage with the help of teammates in Friday night's football game in Warrenton. The Warriors beat the Neah-Kah-Nie Pirates 42-0."This is rarefied air," said Jewell coach Pete Popoff, whose team plays at a higher elevation to begin with. "These guys don't know what seventh in state means. You take kids who were 3-5 last year and have never had any success in football, and all of a sudden they're being told that they're the seventh-best team in the state. They don't know what that means.
"They've risen to the challenge, and we continue to stay in a groove."
After one quarter, Friday night's contest had all the markings of a close game, tied 6-6.
But by halftime, the game had all the markings of another Jewell blowout as the Jays led 34-6.
A second-quarter scoring explosion included a two-play drive, capped by a Johnston-to-Tim Meier 60-yard touchdown pass; and a one-play drive with Johnston hooking up with Meier from 71 yards out.
With 1:23 left in the half and the Cougars on the verge of pulling within a touchdown, Johnston intercepted a Jesse Meeks pass and returned it 95 yards for a touchdown.
The Jewell defense forced a quick three-and-out series by the Cougars, and Johnston returned the ensuing punt 65 yards for a touchdown with 16 seconds left in the half.
The Jays had a tough time stopping Cougar running back Jacob Turner, who compiled 180 yards rushing on 16 attempts.
Turner got most of his yards on one carry, a 96-yard jaunt late in the third quarter that cut Jewell's lead to 40-22.
Looking to close the score even more in the final period, the Cougars were victimized by Johnston once again when he intercepted a Meeks pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown. Johnston kicked the extra point, a rarity with the Jays.
Meeks threw four interceptions and had three straight passes picked off in the second half.
Zack Woods and Jake Johnston also had interceptions for Jewell.
"Defense has been the strong suit for us all year," Popoff said. "Joel is a smart kid. And his brother Jake is a smart kid. Tony Busch is tougher than heck inside, and our ends are doing a great job. Really, we have no glaring weakness on defense and that's a real plus."
Spaulding gained 92 yards rushing on nine attempts, and Meier caught three passes for 138 yards (46 yards per catch). Jewell had 424 yards in total offense.
On the other hand, the Bluejays lost three of their six fumbles and committed 10 penalties for 80 yards. There's still work to be done, Popoff said.
"I told the guys that the intensity level has to pick up," he said. "Against the really good teams, if we start out that slow, we're going to get beat.
"We fumbled three of the first four snaps, we had penalties ... there are a lot of things that we continue to work on. The best part is that we still beat a good football team, and we were not playing our 'A' game. It's not from lack of desire - the enthusiasm is still there."
This week, "it starts for real," said Popoff, whose team hosts Falls City Friday. "We'll have to win four of our next five to make the state playoffs. Falls City isn't going to roll over for us, then we've got Perrydale and St. Paul. That's going to be our season right there. We'll have to win one of those two.
"It's kind of exciting just knowing that you're going to be in the games," he said. "And the kids are buying into what we're trying to accomplish. They understand the big picture."
Astoria 24, North Marion 6AURORA - The Astoria football team - looking for a little momentum heading into the Cowapa League season - gained some steam Friday night in the form of a 24-6 win at North Marion.
The Fishermen improved to 2-2 overall with a balanced effort. Astoria rolled up 399 yards in total offense (215 rushing), while the Fishermen defense forced four turnovers.
Astoria took advantage of interceptions by Simon Merila and Frankie Febus to build a 17-0 halftime lead. Merila had two interceptions.
Following a 23-yard field goal by Kye Johnson to open the scoring, the Fishermen cashed in Merila's first interception with a 24-yard scoring run by Mike Roberts.
Febus picked off a pass late in the second quarter, which led to a Mike Rieck 3-yard TD run.
North Marion put up six points in the third quarter, but the Huskies couldn't overcome their turnovers. Astoria's Jeff Crowley recovered a North Marion fumble, leading to a 2-yard scoring run by Adam McAloney.
McAloney led the Fishermen ground attack with 108 yards rushing on 15 attempts, while Roberts gained 52 on eight carries.
Keenan Borgardt got his first varsity start at quarterback for Astoria and completed four passes to James Jasper for 77 yards. Adam MacLean caught two for 64. Borgardt was 8-of-15 for 184 yards.
Astoria opens Cowapa League play Friday at Rainier.
Molalla 46, Seaside 14MOLALLA - Molalla racked up 493 yards rushing Friday night, and that helped the Indians post a 46-14 win over visiting Seaside in a nonleague football game at Molalla.
Gulls quarterback Pat Latham completed 16-of-23 pass for 199 yards, with Bryan Robison catching seven for 125, but it wasn't enough for Seaside, which trailed 32-14 at halftime.
Daniel Stowers scored on a 5-yard run for the Gulls in the first quarter, and Justin Simila scored from three yards out in the second period.
Seaside opens the Cowapa League season Friday at Tillamook.
Knappa 26, Portland Christian 13PORTLAND - Knappa picked up its first league victory in two years Friday night as the Loggers knocked off Portland Christian 26-13 in a Northwest League contest in Portland.
It was Knappa's first win in NWL play since a 39-0 win over Portland Lutheran to open the 2001 league season. The Loggers went into Friday's game having lost 11 league games in a row.
Knappa trailed 7-6 at halftime before Brent Brockey returned an interception for a touchdown to spark a second half comeback.
The Loggers host Clatskanie Friday.
Warrenton 42, Neah-Kah-Nie 0WARRENTON - Warrenton built a 27-0 halftime lead, then cruised to a 42-0 win over Neah-Kah-Nie in a Northwest League football game Friday night.
KIM ERSKINE-The Daily Astorian
Nick Miller (24) of Warrenton heads for the end zone in Friday night's football game against Neah-Kah-Nie.Warrior quarterback Nate McBride threw three touchdown passes - all in the first half - and freshman Michael O'Casey rushed for 40 yards and two second-half scores for Warrenton.
McBride was 8-of-13 for 166 yards passing, with Zach Gantenbein catching four passes for 81 yards.
The senior duo hooked up for scoring plays of 20 and 11 yards in the second quarter.
Warrenton plays a nonleague game at Battle Ground, Wash., Saturday. The Tigers, who have 40 seniors on their roster, will use a mixture of varsity and junior varsity players.
Rainier 8, Stayton 6STAYTON - Thanks to a game-saving kickoff return, Rainier remained undefeated on the season with an 8-6 win at Stayton Friday night.
A late touchdown by the Eagles had given Stayton a 6-0 lead, but Rainier's Nick Byrd returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, and Chris Ware added the two-point conversion run to help the Columbians run their record to 4-0.
Clatskanie 26, Corbett 14CLATSKANIE - Clatskanie's Miles Johnson ran for three touchdowns and racked up 156 all-purpose yards to lead the Tigers to a 26-14 Tigers win over Corbett Friday night.
It was Clatskanie's first win of the season.
Humboldt State. 31, Southern Oregon 10ARCATA, Calif. - Southern Oregon's Dusty McGrorty rushed 25 times for 143 yards, but it wasn't enough for the 13th-ranked Raiders, who lost their third straight overall game, 31-10, at Humboldt State Saturday.
McGrorty moved to within 477 yards of Griff Yates for the school and Northwest regional career rushing record, but the Raiders' senior All-American was held out of the end zone for the first time in eight games.
Humboldt St. quarterback Chris Dixon was 41-of-48 for 401 yards passing.