October 8, 2000
Cedarcrest puts up a great fight
by Doug Sage
The Cedarcrest Red Wolves played a spirited game, but came up on the short side of the score, 27-21 against the Newport Knights. The Knights, ranked #6 in the state, were given all they could handle by the scrappy Red Wolves.
Coach Eric Hansen said after the game, "These kids have nothing to be ashamed of, they played their butts off tonight." "We played a little first half football this week, this team showed they could do it." It was a tough loss, but showed just how far this team has come since the first days of practice this summer. As the old adage goes,
The Red Wolves won the toss and took the ball to start the game from their own 26. From there, the game plan that had worked so effectively the week before in their come from behind win was used to great effectiveness. The team understood that the best way to keep Newport and their high powered offense from scoring was not to give them the ball. The Red Wolves' running game was marvelous, behind the blocking of lineman Vong Ly, Coy Chittenden, Cole Birk, Robbie Westerman and Curtis Coe. RB Aaron O'Neal took 8 of 11 handoffs from Sean McDonald and the Redwolf offense marched straight down the field on a 6 minute, 74 yard drive capped by O'Neal's 5 yard TD run to take a 7-0 lead.
The plan of straight ahead, smashmouth football worked to perfection. The score was the Red Wolves first in the first half this year, and allowed the defense to take a breather before going up against the #1 run offense in the league.
Special teams were huge on this night as they repeatedly pinned the Newport attack deep in their own end as Newport started at their own 8. Coe and Ly were instrumental in stopping Newport on their first series of downs and got the ball back for the offense as the 1st quarter ended with the Red Wolves ahead 7-0 and controlling the game with 120 yards of offense vs 20 for the Knights.
Newport's offense worked their precision with a drive that featured several big plays using their wishbone offense. The biggest was a 27 yard TD by quarterback Jeff James to tie the game at 7 with 8:53 in left in the 2nd quarter.
McDonald started mixing running and passing plays on the next series as the Red Wolves moved smartly down the field. Key strikes to Zack Taylor and Kyle
Eldred helped keep the ball moving. The Redwolves looked good with the balanced attack and scored on a 2 yard quarterback sneak with 3:47 to play in the first half to give the Red Wolves a 14-7 lead. Matt Monday had an excellent night kicking the ball as he continued the strong special teams play with solid extra points, kickoffs and punts. His kick and good coverage once again pinned the Knights inside their own 5. Newports offense wasn't going to be shut down completely, as Josh McGowen (10 carries, 179 yards, 2-TD) scored on a 51 yard TD to tie it up for the Knights at 14-14 with 3:23 to play in the half.
The second half started with Newport driving like their ranking depended on it as they moved quickly on a 2 play 96- yard drive capped by McGowen's 92-yard scamper right up the middle to take a 21-14 lead and the wind out of the Red Wolves' sails.
Newport kept the pressure on the Red Wolf defense and on their next series O'Neal and Coe made great defensive plays as the Knights had 1st and goal at the 4-yard line. A diving stop by O'Neal, and a crushing tackle by Coe, Westerman and Ly had Newport backed up on a 4th and goal from the 6 as Newport lined up for a field goal attempt. Josh Rosen came clean up the middle and blocked the field goal try, and the Red Wolves took over at their own 20. The 4th quarter began with the Knights holding a 21-14 lead and the Red Wolves driving again. McDonald (14-31, 157 yds, 1 int) was finding Russell McGinnis and Jesse Pettersen for big gains through the air as Cedarcrest moved in for the tying score on another QB sneak by McDonald with 4:42 remaining in the game.
Ripping off big chunks of yardage with the triple option, Newport quickly drove down the field and scored the go ahead touchdown on a 23 yard inside counter play with 3:14 to play in the game. Once again the center of the Red Wolf line caused confusion for the Knights and the PAT was no good and the score held at 27-21.
It looked like the game was over when the first turnover of the game came on an interception of a McDonald pass intended for Cody Pettersen inside the 40 of Newport. Content to run out the clock, Newport's drive stalled on a QB rollout as Coe sacked the QB inside the 35 and forced Newport to punt with 1:06 to play in the game.
From here it got very interesting as McDonald found McGinnis, Taylor and Pettersen on accurate passes and acrobatic catches as the Red Wolves moved down to the 18. The Red Wolves had 3rd down and basically goal from there with 3 seconds to play as McDonald's last-gasp pass was knocked down by Newport and the clock ran out on a great high school football game.
Up next, the Interlake Saints (0-4) get a visit from an angry pack of Red Wolves.