October 16, 2000
Red Wolves sink Saints
The Cedarcrest Red Wolves (2-4) came to play last Friday night and came away with an impressive 28-7 victory over the Saints from Interlake (2-4), their first home win in a couple of years as the last 3 victories have all come on the road.
In what looked on paper like an offensive showdown, this one turned into a defensive struggle as neither team was able to go over the 200 yard mark in total offense. With Cedarcrest ranked 6th in the area teams out of 74 in passing offense with 135 ypg, they were able to muster only 176 yards total and Interlake did marginally better with 189. Where Cedarcrest was able to pull away was on turnovers and special teams, and oh, how special they were.
Starting with the first punt of the game with Interlake punting from inside their own 20 the first big break of the game occurred. Taking the punt on the run from the 45, Tommy Harding went right and found several Saints waiting for him. Reversing field back to the left and picking up blocking along the way, Harding streaked 45 yards untouched into the endzone for the go ahead score. The ball boys lead by Dusty Felts brought in a clean ball for the extra point, but the kick was wide left and the score remained 6-0.
Special teams and turnovers were the keys to the ball game. Cedarcrest was able to grab 4 interceptions and recover 2 fumbles while amassing 153 yards on returns. None was more critical than the interception that iced the game by Matt Geiger.
After Darren Carrido had scored on a sweet run to put the Red Wolves ahead 21-7 late in the 4th quarter, Interlake had to go to a wide open offense and push the issue. Knowing they had to throw, the Red Wolves blitzed from the linebacker position with Tommy Felts and he was at the quarterback's feet as he threw the ball. Not being able to step into the throw due to the pressure by Felts caused the ball to come up short of its target and into the waiting hands of Geiger who streaked 65 yards up the right side for the icing touchdown and a 28-7 lead.
After the game Felts commented that "having us be a young team really helped out. We had the quickness on defense that allowed us to get to the quarterback."
Geiger said, "I got this interception and I just went with it, the team laid great blocks and it was just amazing, we really stepped it up in the second half. The defense was just solid and I'm just glad that I got to be part of it."
Head Coach Art Kuehn said after the contest, "Our defense really came up with some big plays and we finally got some picks, Geiger has been waiting for one like that all year and finally got it, and I don't think anybody could have stopped him."
Carrido (14 rush-42 yards 1TD) and Aaron O'Neal (15 rush-7 yards 1TD, 2pt) were the big part of the offense this night. The first half ended with Interlake clinging to a 7-6 lead and then the Red Wolf offense rose to the occasion.
At halftime the coaching staff made the adjustments necessary in order to get the running game moving.
As Kuehn said, "Overall, I think we played pretty darn well, our coaching staff did a super job of figuring out what they were doing to us and making the adjustments."
Finding little room at the point of attack in the first half, Cedarcrest went to the lead play with Carrido or O'Neal helping out on the weak side linebacker.
The big momentum shift came midway through the 3rd quarter as Cedarcrest was still trailing 7-6. The rain had started to pick up again and the ball and field were getting slippery. This helped the defense as Curtis Coe broke through and sacked the QB causing a fumble that was recovered by Harding at the Saint 30.
The Red Wolves put together a great drive with all of it coming on the ground as O'Neal started it by going for 18 yards for first and goal at the 6. Sensing a score, the Red Wolves went behind the right side of the offensive line of Bobby Znak, Steve Polejewski and Curtis Coe for 3 straight wedge plays to punch O'Neal over from the 1. Another running play behind the big line and O'Neal converted on the 2-point conversion to put the Red Wolves ahead to stay 14-7 with 4:54 to go in the 3rd quarter.
The best drive of the night started with an interception by Tommy Harding that he returned out to the 25 of the Red Wolves with 9:12 to go in the game.
Jed Dern, who had been solid as the team's leading tackler all year, caused the interception by his pressure from the outside as the linebacker pressured the QB and forced the errant throw. O'Neal busted one up the middle showing a flash of speed for 32 yards down to the Saints 39 and the Red Wolves were marching again. O'Neal to the left and Carrido to the right were a great combination from there.
O'Neal put a punishing blow on the left cornerback as he gained 11 yards and a first down, then Carrido went for paydirt as he took the pitch around the right side and put a move on the cornerback that was a thing of beauty.
As Carrido called it a "shake and bake" the cornerback was left with nothing but air and an idea as Carrido streaked around the right side untouched for a 16-yard TD and some breathing room for the Red Wolves and a 21-7 lead with 5:41 to play. This breathing room felt good as Cedarcrest was trying hard all night to score. Cedarcrest was in position to try 2 field goals in the first half, and they tried 2 more in the second half. This was more field goal attempts than the Red Wolves have tried in over 3 years.
In the first half with the score 7-6, Cedarcrest was in 4th and long inside their 20 and Felts hit the first one clean, but from the right hashmark the ball stayed true and hit the upright and fell harmlessly to the ground. The second one was blocked a few seconds later as Interlake broke through the front line to get a hand on it. Felts' next try was a slip and the ball came up short.
In the second half, Colin Guthrie recovered a fumble inside the Saints 20 that turned into another FG attempt. Ben Frey came on and hit this one that looked good in the air but just came up a yard short into the wind on the 38-yard attempt.
Kuehn commented after the game that "those field goals could have been the game" as the Red Wolves were down by 1 at the time and any of them could have given them the lead.
Late in the game with the score out of reach, the Red Wolves gave us a glimpse of the future. Sean McDonald at QB did a great job running the offense, while Dan Merrick and Alan Shultz at running back and Eddie Carrido, Coy Chittenden, Andrew Rafferty and Cole Birk on the line looked solid.
After the Game Aaron O'Neal commented that "we came to play all 4 quarters, we made the revisions over halftime and we all came together and did it." These are the hallmarks of a building program. Come cheer this team that has a great heart as they take on the Liberty Patriots (0-6) this Friday in their annual Homecoming game.
Looking to win their first Homecoming game in a few years, the Red Wolves will bring their "A"game at 7:30. Be there to see it. Go Red Wolves!!