SWEET HOME — Philomath High might’ve lost Thursday night’s football game at Sweet Home before ever taking the field.
Illness swept through campus over the week to disrupt practice and sideline a few top players, including two linemen. Throw in injuries to other key athletes and younger, inexperienced players are forced into service. Looking at the big picture, the Warriors had fewer than 30 players in pads for the Oregon West Conference contest.
“We were down a couple guys today with injury and then got a couple more hurt today,” PHS coach Tony Matta said after Sweet Home’s 42-3 victory over the Warriors. “We started a freshman (Isaac Workman) on the O-line today, which I’m sure other people are doing at this point in the season, but he played hard.
“We dressed 27 guys and that’s hard, it’s really tough,” Matta added. “It’s tough on those young guys when you’ve got to throw them out and you hope you get out of them what the guy in front of them was giving.”
Philomath would’ve been hard-pressed to remain competitive against the Huskies even with a healthy, full roster because of six turnovers. Fumbles and interceptions led to three Sweet Home touchdowns in the second quarter when the Huskies started to build a lead and pull away.
“That really hurt us. You’ve got to take care of the football — that’s a big part of the game and we didn’t do a very good job of that in the first half,” Matta said. “I thought defensively we did some good things but we can’t be out on the field that much with those short fields.”
Philomath had a promising start by taking the game-opening kickoff and putting together a six-play drive that reached the Sweet Home 29. Junior quarterback Michael Lundy hooked up with junior receiver Matt Workman on a 25-yard pass just two plays into the game. The drive stalled on fourth down when Sweet Home senior Zach Luttmer knocked down a pass intended for Philomath senior Logan Hannigan-Downs.
The Warriors defense then held Sweet Home on a three-and-out and scored on their second possession. Lundy completed passes of 10 yards to sophomore Carson Gerding and nine yards to Workman. Later on a third-and-8, Lundy again found Workman to move the chains — this time on a 20-yard completion.
But Sweet Home’s defense dug in and stopped senior running back Colby Roe on a couple of three-yard runs to set up a third-and-4. Lundy looked for Gerding in the end zone but the ball fell incomplete. Matta opted for a 25-yard field goal attempt and Hannigan-Downs delivered for a 3-0 lead.
But after those first two drives, Philomath’s offense couldn’t do much of anything the rest of the night. Sweet Home responded with a touchdown on its second drive and with a two-point conversion, held an 8-3 lead as the first quarter wound down to the final seconds.
Sweet Home followed up with 27 points in the second quarter with three of the four TDs following takeaways. Cole Baxter, Luttmer and Tye Moore all scored on TD receptions delivered by junior quarterback Aiden Tyler. The other TD came on a 5-yard run.
To make matters even worse, Lundy had to leave the game when he endured a hard hit on a pass attempt about 4 minutes into second quarter.
“We’re probably in concussion protocol,” Matta said after the game. “I don’t know if it was diagnosed as a concussion ... His head snapped back when he was tackled and hit the turf. We’d rather be overcautious with things like that. It’s not worth a kid’s brain to throw him back out there.”
Lundy’s been battling injuries this season, including a pinched nerve in his neck.
“He does some good things for us, so we miss him when he’s not in the game,” Matta said. “We’ll go through the protocol and it is what it is and we’ll come out next week and we’ll play hard; I’ll guarantee we’ll play hard. We’re young, we might make mistakes but we’re going to make those mistakes going 100 miles per hour.”
Besides Lundy, the Warriors also lost Workman in the second quarter to an unspecified injury, although it appeared he took a shot to the rib cage area.
Sophomore Caleb Jensen took over at quarterback for the rest of the game.
After leading 35-3 at halftime, Sweet Home added another touchdown in the fourth quarter on another Tyler pass to Luttmer.
The final statistics illustrate the struggles that Philomath experienced against the Huskies:
• Only one first down after the first quarter.
• Just 98 total yards — 68 passing and 30 rushing — compared to Sweet Home’s 425 yards.
• A poor yards per pass average at 2.7 and a rushing average of just 1.8 yards per attempt.
• Six turnovers to Sweet Home’s none.
• Time of possession that saw Philomath’s defense on the field for 30 out of the game’s 48 minutes. In the second half, the Warriors had the ball for only 6:42 of clock time.
Sweet Home held Roe to 37 yards on 14 attempts. Lundy and Jensen combined completed 9 of 25 passes for 68 yards. Workman and Gerding each had three catches.
On the other side of the ball, Sweet Home’s Tyler completed less than half of his passes but connected on enough of them for 165 yards. Luttmer had 112 yards on four receptions.
Philomath dropped to 0-3 in the conference and 1-5 overall with Sisters up next for the Warriors’ Senior Night on Oct. 18.
Sweet Home 42, Philomath 3
Thursday at Sweet Home
PHILOMATH (1-5, 0-3) 3 0 0 0 — 3
SWEET HOME (2-4, 1-2) 8 27 0 7 — 42
PHS: Logan Hannigan-Downs FG 25, 3:10
SH: Gavin Nichols 5 run (Taylor Moore recovered fumble in end zone), 0:08
SH: Cade Gaskey 5 run (kick failed), 10:10
SH: Cole Baxter 12 pass from Aiden Tyler (Zach Luttmer kick), 4:10
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SH: Luttmer 33 pass from Tyler (Luttmer kick), 3:14
SH: Tye Moore 16 pass from Tyler (Luttmer kick), 0:12
SH: Luttmer 46 pass from Tyler (Luttmer kick), 8:12
First Downs 5 20
3rd down efficiency 1-7 2-12
4th down efficiency 0-1 3-7
Total Yards 98 425
Passing 68 165
Comp-Att-Int 9-25-3 11-24-0
Yards per pass 2.7 6.9
Rushing 30 260
Rushing attempts 17 39
Yards per rush 1.8 6.7
All-Purpose Yards 54 35
Punt returns 0-0 0-0
Kickoff returns 7-54 2-33
Interceptions returns 0-0 3-2
Penalties 5-52 8-70
Offensive 1-5 8-70
Defensive 4-47 0-0
Special teams 0-0 0-0
Turnovers 6 0
Fumbles-lost 3-3 1-0
Interceptions thrown 3 0
Sacked-yards lost 1-2 1-6
Punts 4-31.8 3-24.7
Possession 17:28 30:32
First half 10:46 13:14
Second half 6:42 17:18
RUSHING — Philomath, Colby Roe 14-37, Dylan Bennett 1-2, Michael Lundy 2-(-9). Sweet Home, Cade Gaskey 9-71, Aiden Tyler 6-65, Gavin Nichols 8-47, Jackson Royer 8-42, Travis Thorpe 6-34, Russell Holly 1-2, Cole Baxter 1-(-1).
PASSING — Phillomath, Michael Lundy 5-11-0-70, Caleb Jensen 4-14-3-(-2). Sweet Home, Aiden Tyler 11-24-0-165.
RECEIVING — Philomath, Matt Workman 3-54, Carson Gerding 3-10, Brennan Provance 1-6, Logan Hannigan-Downs 1-3, Dylan Bennett 1-(-5). Sweet Home, Zach Luttmer 4-112, Tye Moore 3-35, Cole Baxter 2-13, Jasper Korn 2-5.
Stayton 30, Philomath 14
Oct. 7 at Stayton
Team notes: The JV team’s record goes to 2-2 on the season. ... Philomath took an 8-6 in the first quarter on a 50-yard touchdown run by Jake Williams. ... Stayton led 22-8 at the half with a passing TD in the first quarter and a rushing TD and pick-six in the second quarter. ... In the third, Philomath sophomore Caleb Jensen scored on a 5-yard run to get the Warriors to within one score of the lead. ... Stayton responded with a rushing TD to account for the final margin. ... Philomath plays at 5:30 p.m. Monday at home against Sweet Home.