November 1, 1999
The Cedarcrest Red Wolves had a hair-raising experience as they lost 17-0 for their first shutout of the season to the Spartans from Skyline last Friday night at Howard Miller Field in Carnation.
The evening was wet and cold as the final home game of the season got underway. The pregame festivities, which included each senior player giving a white carnation to their parents, was a fitting finale to the home season. As all 17 seniors marched to midfield for the coin toss, you could feel the electricity in the air, as well as the steady drizzle from the clouds.
Cedarcrest receiver Casey Petterson returned the kickoff to the 25. All that the Red Wolves could muster on their first series was 3 plays and out. A weak punt, and Skyline was in business with good field position at the Red Wolf 45. From there, the #1-rated passing offense in Kingco 3A went to an exclusive ground attack to throw the Red Wolves off the scent. The Spartans scored from the 3, and with 8:22 to go in the first quarter, Cedarcrest blocked the extra point to keep the score at 6-0.
After the return by Henly, a nifty catch by Matt Geiger and tough running inside by Aaron Oneal gave Cedarcrest a first down, and they were off and moving. A bootleg by Petterson and a 15-yard reception in double coverage by Michael Smith, and the Red Wolves found themselves deep in Spartan territory. A series of miscues led to a 4th and 21 from the 33, where punter Nate McLallin pinned Skyline deep at its own 5.
A run for minimal gain, an illegal procedure penalty, and a ball batted down at the line of scrimmage by the center of the defensive line led by Dave Shipley, Steve Polejewski, Colin Guthrie, and Jesse Thompson, forced Skyline to punt. After a nice grab of a short punt by Petterson, the Red Wolves were back in business. Unfortunately, they were unable to move the ball, and as McLallin dropped back to punt on 4th and 11 from the 33, the ball was snapped over his head. Making a quick decision, he took off down the right side and made it around the first wave of Spartans tacklers. Cutting back into the middle of the field, he was tripped up at the 25 and was downed just short of the first down.
Cedarcrest showed their toughness on defense as after the first down, the Red Wolves held to force Skyline to go for it on 4th and 1. On the wet field, Skyline mishandled the center snap, but were able to recover the ball after a 2-yard gain for a first down. The ball was still wet on first and ten as Skyline had trouble with the snap again, but this time it was recovered by the center of the defensive line at the Spartan 46.
Momentum was shifting the Red Wolves' way as Morgan Henly ran off the right side for almost enough for a Cedarcrest first down. Oneal finished off the quarter with the first down carry to the 33 as time ran out in the quarter.
A quick slant from Petterson to Matt Geiger moved Cedarcrest closer to the promised land. Once again, the Red Wolves could not stand prosperity and were stalled on 4th and 5 from the 18 as the pass attempt fell harmlessly to the ground.
Skyline moved smartly down the field showing off their state ranking by mixing the run and pass effectively. A nice catch by John Simon of 17 yards and a questionable pass interference penalty on the Red Wolves kept the chains moving for the Spartans. A bootleg run to the right side by Swanson set up another score by Stray. This time, Skyline opted to go for two, and on the option left, Swanson kept it himself and waltzed into the end zone to increase the Spartan lead to 14-0 with 4:47 to go in the half.
On Cedarcrest's first play, they got the running game going again with a 21-yard gain by Henly out to the 41. Geiger kept the passing game going with a slick catch and juke for 15 yards down the right sideline and out of bounds to stop the clock. Just as Cedarcrest was moving, the drive came to an abrupt halt as Petterson's pass intended for McLallin was intercepted by Skyline and returned to the Red Wolf 10.
Great defense from the Red Wolves, led by Jesse Reed, who out-hustled Swanson on a quarterback keeper around left end, and the 5'9", 150-lb. safety stuck the 6'4", 190-lb. QB for a loss on the play. Lucas Whelan and Oneal stuffed the run on 2nd down, and as the pass on third down sailed out of the back of the end zone, the Spartans had to settle for a 27-yard field goal attempt. The middle of the defensive line got a fingernail on the kick, enough to alter the trajectory, but not enough to keep it from sneaking over the crossbar. With 1:11 left in the first half, it was 17-0.
The Redwolves came out fired up from halftime, and with moms and students holding a GO RED WOLVES banner, the seniors led the pack of Red Wolves through the sign for the final time at home this year. On the opening kickoff of the second half, Eric Dick showed his sprinter speed by blowing by the blocking of the Spartans to stop the return man in his tracks with help from Del Brammer.
The second half was a defensive struggle with several miscues on both sides of the ball. One of the best plays early in the second half was a terrific 10-yard sack of the QB by Tyson Soptich, which halted another Skyline march. Cody Wheeler played great defense on a 4th and 5 play where Swanson tried to hit Simon with a double move out and up, but Wheeler would not bite on the fake, and the pass fell incomplete.
Both teams played tentatively in the second half on the wet and slippery turf, trying not to make turnover or penalty mistakes. If the teams could hold onto the ball and not fumble it away, they were getting hit with several holding and untimely minor infractions which stalled drive after drive. This was uncharacteristic for the Red Wolves, who had not been penalized much this season.
Nothing was working late in the game that scary night, as the game came to an end with the final score 17-0.