KNAPPA - The final score could easily have been reversed Friday night at Knappa as the Loggers and the Warrenton Warriors officially opened the Northwest League football season.
Had the Loggers converted a few more fourth-down tries, had a few less penalties and recovered more than two of Warrenton's five fumbles ... it might have been a little different than the 28-7 victory posted by the Warriors.
Either way, Warrior coach John Mattila knows his team was fortunate, and Knappa coach Darrell Ferguson at least knows his team will be able to play with the best the league has to offer.
KIM ERSKINE-The Daily Astorian
Seaside quarterback Pat Latham (8) scrambles to avoid a sack from Toledo's Travis Watson (No. 44 white) in Friday night's football game. Blocking for Seaside is Scott Lucia (No. 44 gray)."Our kids gave a real good effort, offensively and defensively," Ferguson said. "We played well and we had our chances to put the ball in the end zone, but we couldn't do it."
On the Warrenton side, Mattila said, "Obviously I'm a little upset with the turnovers. We started two or three drives with a turnover, then we had the long drive that would have put the game away, and we turn it over at the goal line.
"If we're going to beat the league contenders - and Knappa may sneak up there, because they're playing pretty well - we can't turn the ball over in those situations."
In the end, it was a Knappa turnover that helped preserve the Warrior win.
When the game was still up for grabs in the fourth quarter, Warrenton's Zach Gantenbein picked off a Brent Brockey pass at the Warrior 29-yard line and returned it to the Knappa 16.
Three plays later, Warrenton's Mike "Highlight" Hyten was barging into the end zone from 3 yards out to make it a three-touchdown lead.
Hyten was Warrenton's designated touchdown-maker Friday, scoring three TDs and a two-point conversion. Gantenbein caught five passes for 106 yards.
"Gantenbein's a great athlete, and we were worried about him all night," Ferguson said. "We put Sean (Ferguson) on him, because Sean's our best defensive back. But Warrenton's so big up front, it's like 'pick your poison.' We were worried that if we put eight guys in the box, they'd throw, and if we put five guys up front they would run it down our throat.
"But we mixed up our defenses a little, and I felt we played well."
For Knappa, it was Sean Ferguson gaining 111 yards on 26 carries - the latest running back to have success against the Warrenton defense.
"We certainly need to play the run better," Mattila said. "Knappa outplayed us, particularly in the first half. I don't think we deserved to be ahead at halftime. We were just fortunate to hit a couple long passes."
One of which went 58 yards for a touchdown. On a first down from their own 42, Warrior quarterback Nate McBride lofted a pass to Gantenbein down the left sideline, where Gantenbein made the catch and took it in for the score, giving Warrenton a 14-0 lead after Hyten's two-point conversion.
The Loggers failed to convert on fourth down on their next series as Jeremy Sleutel sacked Brockey for a 5-yard loss on fourth down.
Knappa finally broke through on its second possession of the second quarter when Ferguson had runs of 15 and 31 yards, Brockey ran 9 yards to the Warrenton 3, and Ferguson took it over left tackle on second-and-goal from the 1.
"We're trying to get our running game going, and I felt that Sean ran the ball well," coach Ferguson said. "When you have two big backs like (Dana) Barendse and (Robert) Rankin out there blocking for him, that helps."
At halftime, the Loggers had 127 on the ground, to Warrenton's 35.
Knappa ran 36 times for 198 yards, while Warrenton racked up 287 yards in total offense, the majority of it through the air. The Warriors continue to work on their ground game.
"Knappa completely dominated the ball game (in the first half), and I don't think I did a good job calling plays," Mattila said. "We kept running into the strength of their defense. We ran the ball a little better in the second half."
Hyten's 5-yard run gave Warrenton a 20-7 lead with 3:46 left in the third quarter, but a fumble recovery by Knappa's Jarrod Roe and an interception by freshman linebacker Steve Brandon kept the Loggers in the game.
"The turnovers were certainly crucial," Mattila said. "We lost two fumbles and threw an interception. We had three turnovers and it could have been more. That's something we have to take care of."
Ferguson said, "We would have liked to have turned things around and won the game, but we played well. We had intensity - that's probably the best we've played Warrenton in three years."
Warrenton hosts Neah-Kah-Nie Friday, while Knappa plays at Portland Christian.
Molalla 28, Astoria 14Astoria coach Howard Rub put it this way following his team's Friday night game with visiting Molalla: "It was a debacle - the whole thing."
If you're a Fishermen fan, that's probably not a good sign.
The visiting Indians took advantage of a few big plays to break open the nonleague game at John Warren Field, running to a 28-14 win over Astoria.
Molalla's Steven Dailey racked up 130 yards rushing on 20 carries, and the Indians took advantage of touchdowns on special teams and defense to pull away.
Following a 2-yard scoring run by Astoria's Dylan McMurtry in the second quarter, Molalla's Tony Seymour returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.
The Indians increased their lead to 28-7 in the fourth quarter on a 35-yard fumble return by Robert Wolfe.
McMurtry scored his second touchdown with 3:37 left in the game.
Astoria quarterbacks Sean Fabela and Keenan Borgardt combined 11-of-26 for 150 yards.
"I don't think we were flat," Rub said. "It was not a very well-coached game. I told the kids, this was one of the worst games I've coached at any level.
"Offensively we didn't execute as well as we should have; we had way too many penalties; we lost the turnover battle, and we gave up the big plays. We had a nice scoring drive right before the half, then we gave up the kickoff return, and that takes all the momentum away."
Astoria plays at North Marion Friday.
Toledo 42, Seaside 14SEASIDE - The rushing statistics told the whole story of Friday's nonleague football game at Broadway Field.
Toledo racked up 392 yards on the ground, while Seaside ran 20 times for minus-2 yards. And that reflected on the scoreboard, as the Boomers left with a 42-14 win over the Gulls.
Toledo led 19-0 after one quarter, and 26-0 at halftime.
Seaside's Pat Latham hooked up with receiver Bryan Robison for touchdowns of 66 and 76 yards in the fourth quarter.
"They had incredible speed," Seaside coach Dave Foust said of the Boomers. "We came out, and we just weren't ready. They had a great game plan, and we couldn't get anything going."
Seaside plays at Molalla Friday.
Jewell 42, Mapleton 24MAPLETON - The eighth-ranked Jewell Bluejays can expect to make another move up the polls this week, following their 42-24 win at Mapleton Friday.
The Jays had 252 yards in total offense against the Sailors - a former Class 2A team that also picked up votes in the latest poll.
Jewell scored twice in the first quarter on a Joel Johnston-to-Randy Layman 44-yard pass and a 1-yard run by Johnston for a 14-0 lead.
Layman added TD runs of 42 and six yards, and Tony Busch had the biggest play of the game - a 12-yard interception return in the fourth quarter. Layman, who had 132 yards rushing, added a 1-yard scoring run in the final period.
"Tony Busch was outstanding," said Jewell coach Pete Popoff, who received his first Gatorade bath of the season after the game. "He was all over the field. We had too many holding penalties, but I was real pleased with our effort."
Jewell hosts Crow Friday.
Linfield 47, Southern Oregon 42ASHLAND - A 53-yard touchdown run by Dusty McGrorty gave Southern Oregon a 42-41 lead in the final quarter, but Linfield came back and scored with 1:28 remaining for a 47-42 win over the fifth-ranked Raiders.
The loss spoiled a great season-opener for McGrorty, the Raiders' All-American senior running back from Warrenton.
McGrorty rushed for a game-high 228 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries.
Southern led 30-24 at halftime, but then surrendered 17 unanswered points until a 23-yard run by McGrorty pulled SOU within 41-36 with 10:34 remaining.