STAYTON — Philomath’s top offensive play Friday night at Stayton didn’t count on the scoreboard.
A 51-yard run to the end zone called back on a procedural penalty, the score would’ve provided an immediate answer to a touchdown that Stayton had scored on the previous drive. It also killed the type of momentum that teams can often feed off of moving forward.
“The official on our side thought everyone was lined up OK; the official on the far side thought that we weren’t on the line of scrimmage on the outside,” first-year Philomath coach Tony Matta said after Stayton’s 26-0 win. “That’s a big call; that’s a huge momentum killer right there. Not a lot of penalty flags (against PHS) but at a key moment.”
On the play, Philomath senior Dakota Kantor took the handoff from quarterback Michael Lundy, ran over a Stayton player and then broke free down the right sideline to paydirt. But the yellow flag lying back at the line of scrimmage negated the play.
In the end, the problems that Philomath encountered against Stayton went beyond one penalty flag. Stayton racked up more than 400 yards of total offense against a worn-down Warriors defense. On the other side of the ball, the Eagles held Philomath to 127 total yards and seven first downs.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys going both ways and they played their hearts out every single snap and we physically just wore down,” Matta said. “We’ve got to get our younger guys to be able to give us relief in a series on the O-line somewhere and getting kids a break.”
Heading into the season, Matta and his staff knew team depth could be an issue. As the head coach said back in August, Philomath’s starting lineup might be able to play with any team in the conference but the task of developing talent to come in off the bench would be an important factor.
“As you watched, you can see it’s the same guys on the D-line as it is on the O-line and they get tired,” Matta said. “They played hard but we can’t ask more of them. We’ve got to ask more of the young guys to give us a chance to get guys a break in a series here and there.”
Based on how the game started, it looked like Philomath could be in for a good night. Kantor introduced himself to Stayton quarterback Ben Rash by sacking him on the first play of the game. Two plays later, Lundy and Kantor stopped Sean Bodi for a 1-yard loss and Stayton went three-and-out.
But the Eagles produced seven points on their second possession midway through the opening quarter with the Rash-to-Bodi combination working for the home team. Stayton set up shop in good field position after an 8-yard Philomath punt. On the second play, Bodi caught a 27-yard pass to get the ball down to the 13.
Philomath’s defense stiffened to get the Eagles into a fourth-and-4 situation. Kane Rust made a tackle for no gain on first down and then Dylan Morgan blew up a pass attempt into the end zone on second down. Two plays later on fourth down, despite having a capable field goal kicker, Stayton chose to go for it and converted on a 7-yard TD pass from Rash to Bodi.
After Philomath saw Kantor’s TD run called back, the two teams started trading punts. Early in the second quarter, the Warriors saw an opportunity to slip away. Colby Roe recovered a fumble to give Philomath possession at its own 43 but then lost the ball on a fumble two plays later.
The Warriors picked up two first downs on their next possession midway through the quarter, moving the chains on Roe runs of 8 and 11 yards. But then the drive stalled on two short runs and two incomplete passes — the latter on fourth down with an attempt over the middle.
On the ensuing Stayton possession, the Warriors’ defense came up big. After the Eagles picked up 50 yards on two pass completions, Philomath got tough on “D” in the red zone. On first down, a pass attempt into the corner fell incomplete with Toby Stueve on coverage.
Stayton failed to execute a swing pass on second down and then the center snapped the ball over the QB’s head on third down with Rash falling on the ball for an eight-yard loss. On fourth, Rash looked for Logan Classen in the end zone but the Warriors held to keep their deficit at 7-0.
Late in the first half, Stayton nearly put more points on the board. Taking over with just 48 seconds left, the Eagles moved the ball downfield in quick fashion. Rash and Classen hooked up on four completions, the last that they thought had gone for a touchdown.
On first-and-10 from the PHS 22, Classen caught the ball in the end zone on a play that saw Lundy almost come away with an interception. But the TD didn’t count because of a holding penalty. Stayton had time for just one more play and Philomath tackled Rash for a 7-yard loss.
In the first half, Stayton had an edge in total yards at 177 to 81. Those numbers included a 166 to 0 advantage through the air. Philomath’s rush defense held the Eagles to 11 yards through the first 24 minutes.
Philomath needed to come out for the second half and do something with the ball to set a positive tone. But the Warriors dug on an immediate hole, starting their drive at their own 1-yard line after a flubbed kickoff return. On the first play, Stayton tackled Roe in the end zone for a safety and a 9-0 lead.
“The kid kicked it deep and we bobbled it,” Matta said. “We talk about just getting upfield and we’ve got guys just trying to make a big play and we’ve got to learn to stay within ourselves and make the play that we can.”
After the safety, the Eagles took the ensuing kickoff in good field position at the PHS 49 and scored six plays later for a 16-0 lead. After the safety and touchdown within the first three minutes of the third quarter, Philomath could never build any sort of momentum.
The Warriors did drive down to the Stayton 30 on their next possession, picking up two first downs along the way but then it stalled and Philomath turned the ball over on downs. Stayton’s Spencer Gaul had two key knockdowns — one in the end zone and the other at the 3-yard line both on passes intended for Jeremy Alston.
Stayton then put together a long drive that finished out the third quarter and a couple of minutes into the fourth. The Eagles capped the possession with a 19-yard field goal for a 19-0 lead.
Kantor had two key defensive plays during the series with a QB hurry that led to an incompletion and forced a third-and-15 and later with a vicious sack that put Stayton into a second-and-16. Morgan had good coverage on the first play of the series although he appeared to be playing a bit hobbled. Calvin Snuggerud nearly had an interception on a play when he fell to the ground. Lying on the turf on his back, he wasn’t able to bring in the ball for the pick.
Ultimately, the Eagles got out of those holes, picked up first downs and later got the three points.
On Philomath’s next drive, the team picked up just five yards on a second-down carry and then attempted a pass on fourth down that fell incomplete.
Stayton followed with its final touchdown on a 9-yard pass from Bodi to Rash.
Philomath’s passing game could never get untracked against the Eagles and the Warriors finished with 127 total yards. Roe’s running produced 100 yards on 25 carries.
“We have to come out and we have to do a better job executing when teams stack the line of scrimmage,” Matta said. “We have to give our quarterback some more time. We don’t throw the ball a ton but when we do, it’s got to be successful to get teams to be honest.”
Philomath (2-3 overall, 0-2 Oregon West) will host Sweet Home Friday for homecoming. The Warriors are in a must-win situation if they hope to keep alive thoughts of the postseason. After Sweet Home, PHS heads to Sisters before ending the regular season against Cascade.
“Every game’s tough in this league and we can’t afford to drop another one,” Matta said. “Our playoff hopes hinge on next week and we’ve got to come out (and play well).”
The Huskies are off to a 2-0 start in the conference with wins over Sisters and Cascade.
“Sweet Home’s a good football team,” Matta said. “They have decent numbers with 66, 65 kids out and they’re going to play tough and physical. We still have Cascade on our schedule and they’re going to be tough and physical.”
Stayton 26, Philomath 0
Friday at Stayton
PHILOMATH (2-3, 0-2) 0 0 0 0 — 0
STAYTON (2-3, 1-1) 7 0 9 10 — 26
SHS: Sean Bodi 7 pass from Ben Rash (Jake Gardner kick), 5:30
SHS: Safety, tackled Philomath runner in end zone, 11:48
SHS: Ben Rash 2 run (Jake Gardner kick), 9:16
SHS: FG, Jake Gardner 19, 9:41
SHS: Sean Bodi 9 pass from Ben Rash (Jake Gardner kick), 6:21
First downs 7 23
Total net yards 127 408
Rushes-yards 32-125 32-110
Passing-yards 2 298
Punt returns 1-0 1-21
Kickoff returns 4-65 2-28
Interceptions ret. 0-0 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 1-12-0 22-39-0
Sacked-yards lost 0-0 2-12
Punts 4-30.3 3-33.3
Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-1
Penalties-yards 2-10 10-75
Time of possession 18:04 29:56
RUSHING — Philomath, Colby Roe 25-100, Dakota Kantor 7-25. Stayton, Ben Rash 18-55, Ikaika Toyama 7-46, Jared Mitchell 4-19, Sean Bodi 2-(-2), Team 1-(-8).
PASSING — Philomath, Michael Lundy 1-11-0-2, Calvin Snuggerud 0-1-0-0. Stayton, Ben Rash 22-39-0-298.
RECEIVING — Philomath, Jeremy Alston 1-2. Stayton, Sean Bodi 11-160, Spencer Gaul 6-75, Logan Classen 4-44, Jordan Bader 1-19.
Philomath 40, Newport 6
Sept. 24 at Newport
PHILOMATH 14 12 14 — 40
NEWPORT 0 6 0 — 6
Team notes: Philomath’s JV posted the 34-point victory in just three quarters of action. … Newport requested a game of two quarters while Philomath wanted to go the full four and so they settled on three. … Caleb Jensen scored on a 1-yard run with 7 minutes left in the first quarter and then ran in a two-point conversion. … Matt Workman scored on a 3-yard run with 3:05 left in the first. … Issiah Blackburn scored on a 3-yard run with 9:09 left in the second. … Jensen scored on a 1-yard run with 2:35 left in the second and PHS led 26-6 at halftime. … In the remaining quarter, Blackburn had a 23-yard TD run with 9:29 left. … Blake Niemann scored the final touchdown with a two-point version pass from Jensen to Alec Russell. … Coach Aaron Schermerhorn said lineman Connar Kohn, Joseph Choi and Austin Murphree opened up a lot of holes for the running backs. … Philomath’s JV plays at home against Stayton Monday.