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PHS football

Hey Warriors fans, today is Sunday, Sept. 29.

A flurry of late-week interviews and news stories kept me chained to my desk Friday night but I was able to catch the Philomath football game on a Newport radio station’s broadcast. I was able to catch up with Coach Matta later that night after the team returning to the school (there’s a cellphone dead zone on Highway 20 between Newport and Philomath, otherwise, we would’ve done the interview on the phone).

From what I heard during the broadcast and out of the notes that I was jotting down, three plays turned the game down the wrong path as far as the Warriors are concerned.

1. Settling for 3 points. Philomath had a great opportunity down 7-0 in the first quarter when Logan Hannigan-Downs pinned Newport at its own 5-yard line. Philomath’s defense didn’t budge and the Cubs had to punt out of their own end zone.

The Warriors were fortunate to get the ball after the punt bounced off a PHS player but had good field position at the Cubs’ 30. Mike Lundy connected with Hannigan-Downs for a first down and then Philomath moved inside the 10 after a pass interference penalty in the end zone.

But that’s where things stalled and Philomath had to settle for a field goal. If the Warriors could’ve reached the end zone, I believe the evening could’ve possibly gone in a different direction.

2. Official’s ruling on end zone catch. Without physically being there to see this play, I had to rely on the coach’s comments and the radio station commentators’ description of what happened. Matta did tell me, “I’m thinking he was in.”

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Here’s what happened. The Warriors were moving the ball with Colby Roe starting to find some running room, including a 13-yard jaunt down to the Cubs 19. But again, offensive woes in the red zone continued. On fourth down, Lundy threw to Carson Gerding in the northwest edge of the end zone.

Apparently he did have one foot in-bounds after making the catch, but he also had one foot out of bounds and that one came down first — at least that’s what the officials ruled. If Philomath scores there and takes a 10-3 lead into halftime, again, the second half could’ve turned out different.

3. The 84-yard pick six. Philomath came out in the third quarter and appeared to be playing fairly well by moving the ball. But Austin Perry, who scored all four of Newport’s touchdowns, closed in on an interception and sprinted down the sideline to the end zone. The TD gave the Cubs a 14-3 lead and Newport never relinquished momentum the rest of the game.

With the way the offense was sputtering on key conversion plays (the Warriors had only 151 yards of total offense), it was going to be tough to climb back into the contest. Philomath just couldn’t find any rhythm and ended up throwing two other second-half interceptions.

The Warriors will host Stayton Friday in their homecoming game. Fans should note that the kickoff has been pushed back to 7:30 p.m. at Clemens Field. A shortage of game officials for that night forced the later start.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the next game.

— Brad Fuqua, Philomath Express

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