In its season opener, the Clarkston football team’s line avoided allowing any sacks and quarterback Kaeden Frazier threw four touchdown passes while limiting himself to one interception.
The Bantams will look to continue those trends when they welcome Grangeville at 7 tonight to Adams Field.
“You look at any quarterback, most of the time, when they make mistakes, it’s when they’re getting pressured, when people are in their face,” Clarkston coach Brycen Bye said. “And as a former quarterback (at Pomeroy), I get it. I threw many interceptions with people in my face.
“But when Kaeden gets time and is comfortable, it makes a huge difference and our offensive line gave him time (this past) Friday. Hopefully, they’ll do that again this Friday.”
The Bantams’ line struggled against Grangeville last season. Despite its size advantage in the trenches, Clarkston mustered only 16 yards rushing and went scoreless through the final three quarters in a 19-point loss.
That wasn’t an issue in Clarkston’s season opener last week. The Bantams accumulated 21 points by halftime and receiver Tru Allen finished with three touchdown receptions in the Bantams’ blowout win against Moscow.
One of Allen’s scores was sprung by downfield blocking from lineman Thomas Storm and receiver Nate Hoffman on a fourth-and-8 screen pass. Other notables last week on the line for the Bantams were Dawson Packwood, Dylan Satter, Jayden Hopkins, Dreysan Shubert and Michael Harris.
Grangeville (1-1) won last week in dramatic fashion against Nampa Christian, 18-14. The Bulldogs’ Dane Lindsley batted down a Trojans pass with four seconds left to seal the outcome on a fourth-down, goal-line stand. But the true hero on the play, Grangeville coach Jeff Adams said, was another lineman: Isaac Dewey.
“I’ve called him ‘Bear Cub’ his whole life,” Adams said, “because (Dewey) just looks like one.”
Dewey apparently runs like one too.
“He stayed about three feet off the ground the entire way to that quarterback’s shins (on the final play) — a bear crawl is basically what he did, for about six yards,” Adams said. “It was an easy bat-down (for Lindsley). But without that pressure from Dewey, it might have been a different story.”
Grangeville will get a boost this week when its leading returning tackler gets back in the mix. Linebacker Jason Rose missed Grangeville’s opener two weeks ago to attend a funeral and saw limited action last week.
“He’d just gotten back (from the funeral) the night before (last week’s) game,” Adams said. “So this is his first week back (in a full-time capacity) and he’ll help us quite a bit, just based on experience. Our experience has doubled.”
LEWISTON AT WENATCHEE AT 7 P.M. — Lewiston quarterback Kash Lang impressed his coach last week — and not just with his athleticism.
“Here’s what I liked,” Bengals coach Matt Pancheri said. “(Lang) made some bad mistakes early in the game but he didn’t hang his head.
“He just continued to play and remained calm, and I thought he got better throughout the game. I thought that was pretty awesome, to remain calm. By being a calm person who can make a mistake and come right back from it, he showed he can be a quarterback in that game.”
Lang scored two of his three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and marched Lewiston to the 1-yard line with under a minute left in the Bengals’ eventual 28-21 loss to Shadle Park.
Jump-starting Lewiston’s rally, three defensive backs combined to force a turnover. Jaiden Caviness — after getting burned deep on a reception by the Highlanders’ Xavier Atkins — caught up to Atkins and held him up long enough for Harrison Smith to arrive from across the field and jar the ball loose. Wade Ahlers recovered the fumble at Lewiston’s 1.
“None of the those three gave up on the play and that’s the big deal, is you keep playing,” Pancheri said. “It’s just a shame we didn’t finish the game better.”
The Bengals’ rally fell short when running back Michael Bramlett fumbled on the 1 with 46 seconds left for a touchback. Bramlett entered the game knowing he would get shoulder surgery this week. His operation today likely will end his season, Pancheri said.
Pancheri stuck to his guns when asked if he regretted playing Bramlett — particularly on his team’s final offensive play.
“He’s the most bowling-ball-like person we have on our team and you can second-guess that all you want,” Pancheri said. “We knew his shoulder was hurt, he knew it was hurt. So it was just pain management. It was not something he could hurt worse at that point.”
NORTH CENTRAL AT PULLMAN AT 7 P.M. — Pullman quarterback Riley Pettit made an impressive debut last week. In his first start under center, the sophomore went 26-for-34 for 302 yards and two passing scores.
Just as impressive as Pettit’s stats was his line — composed of Jimmie Gray, Jacob Anderson, Simon Brannan, Azo Elsahati and Gabe Westensee.
Pettit was sacked just once as his team beat Lakeside 28-7.
While Pullman receiver Isaiah Strong scored twice, he made his biggest impact as a decoy, coach David Cofer said
“His abilities create opportunities for our team and opens up other guys,” Cofer said.
Ethan Kramer had eight catches for 81 yards last week and Ryan Bickelhaupt scored on a 35-yard pass.
MOSCOW AT TIMBERLAKE AT 7 P.M. — Moscow coach Phil Helbling thinks his team’s 14-point loss to Clarkston last week wasn’t because of a disparity in talent.
“If you look at the stats from last week, the three turnovers (we gave up), the muffed punt, one punt blocked and eight penalties for over 100 yards, that’s the difference in the football game,” Helbling said. “I’m proud of the way our kids fought and competed. And obviously, that’s something we can build on.”
FREEMAN AT COLFAX (2 P.M. SATURDAY) — Colfax coach Mike Morgan almost has three decades of coaching experience — and not once in those previous 28 years did he see something like what happened during his team’s 54-21 win against Wahkiakum last week.
One of his players, Carsten Miller — whom Morgan described a “very stout 250, 260 pounds” — set up a score on a punt return by blocking four players.
He initially made contact with two players, who fell back and took out two other would-be tacklers.
“He took out four guys with one hit,” Morgan said. “And when we watched that on film, our guys just howled. And I said, ‘Son, I’ve never seen anything like that. (I’ve never) seen a guy hustle down the field and take out four guys.’
“It looked like bowling pins in a bowling alley.”
Miller’s block helped spring Blake Holman for a 60-yard punt return touchdown. Quarterback Layne Gingerich went 7-for-10 for 158 yards and four touchdowns passing and added another score rushing. Gingerich threw all but one of his passes off play-action rollouts to both sides of the field.
“(His ability to roll out either left or right) comes from him being able to throw right and left as a baseball player,” Morgan said. “He’s not only a pitcher, but (Gingerich) also plays second base and shortstop and those guys are involved in doing double plays, so you’ve got to be able to play off-balance in those positions and Layne makes it look effortless.”
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