September 13, 1999
It must be fall. The Cedarcrest Red Wolves tore the wrapper off a new season Friday night at Howard Miller field against the Newport Knights.
The smell of freshly-mowed grass and new football leather was strong as the hometown team did battle. Decked out in their new uniforms, the team played better than the final score of 35-7 would indicate.
With only three returning starters from last year, it took a while for the offense to gel. Number 22 Darrin Carrido, a speedy running back, took the opening kickoff for the Red Wolves back 10 yards as the first drive began on the 25-yard line. After moving to midfield, the Red Wolves had to punt and Newport took over and moved quickly down the field and scored on an 18-yard run by Tripper Johnson to make the score 7-0.
After an exchange of punts, the Knights had the ball deep in their own territory when the middle of the defensive line forced an errant pitch, which was intercepted by Morgan Henly at the 25 and returned to the Newport three-yard line. From there, Cedarcrest scored on a three-yard pass completion from quarterback Nick Rich to Mike Smith on a quick post route to tie the score at 7-7 with 9:09 to go in the half.
Late in the second quarter, the Red Wolves were pushed deep into their own territory by a clipping call and had to punt to the Knights. In a time consuming drive, Newport ran right at the stingy defense of the Red Wolves and finally scored on a two-yard run with 53 seconds left in the half.
Carrido returned the ensuing kickoff to the 40, where Cedarcrest started the final drive of the half. After two long completions by Rich, the ball was on the 22 with 23 seconds left. One more completion to Nate McLallin and their final timeout gave the Red Wolves first and goal just inside Newport's 10-yard line with six seconds left.
As Rich steered the pass into the end zone for the tying touchdown, Tripper Johnson stepped in front of the pass, and in full stride two yards deep, intercepted the pigskin and did not stop until he had scored for the Knights, making the halftime score 22-7, Newport.
In the second half, Cedarcrest's defense was stout up the middle against Newport's triple option offense and did not allow for very many scoring opportunities from Newport. While they added one touchdown on a swing pass of 12 yards, Cedarcrest recovered three fumbles to stymie the Newport offense time and again.
Late in the game, Cedarcrest got their running game moving and made back to back short yardage first downs running straight ahead behind the blocks of seniors Ryan Sage and Mitchell Higgins.
As Head Coach Art Kuehn commented after the game, "We'll be better next time. We did some OK things--the score was not indicative of how well we played."
On to Sammamish for next week's contest.