High school football: Running game, defense help RedHawks push past Scots | High school


JESSE SOWA

Getting to 3-0 is what South Albany High hopes is just the start of a big football season ahead.

The ninth-ranked RedHawks ran through and around McKay while the defense held another opponent to a single score Friday night, allowing the hungry and motivated group to look ahead to a matchup at No. 5 Silverton next week.

South ran for 363 yards while holding the visiting Scots to 9 yards on 13 attempts in a 39-8 Mid-Willamette Conference win at RedHawks Stadium.

“We’ve got to keep working,” wide receiver/defensive back Junior Vasquez said, echoing the postgame thoughts of RedHawks’ co-head coaches Jeff Louber and David Younger, who praised their team’s efforts to this point.

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Vasquez and the RedHawk defense had the task of trying to slow down quarterback Kyrin Fuimaono, one of the top 5A quarterbacks statistically last fall, and a McKay (0-3, 0-3) offense that put up 60 points in its first two games this season.

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While the Scots’ run game was gaining little ground, Fuimaono was held to 118 yards passing with a late touchdown against South’s reserves.

Vasquez had a fumble recovery on McKay’s opening drive and a 12-yard sack later in the first half. Teammate DeShawn Gilliam intercepted Fuimaono in the second half and also had five solo tackles.

“He always gives maximum effort,” Louber said of Vasquez. “DeShawn had a great game. Our line up front, they played well. Our kids are very coachable. We have a game plan and they stick to the game plan and do a really good job executing it.”

The line of scrimmage was won by the RedHawks throughout the night.

Anthony Vestal rushed for 122 yards, Jedidiah Kollaer 98, and Anthony Johnson 79. Jamahl Wilson, the Scots’ primary rusher, covered 32 yards on nine carries.

“We have a lot of guys and they get a lot of reps in practice and it’s nice that we’re able to get them on the field and get some game reps,” coach Younger said. “We’re developing depth as we continue with this football season.”

South quarterback Kaden Younger was 4-of-6 passing for 49 yards and also ran for 36 yards.

The RedHawks turned Vasquez’s early fumble recovery into a quick score.

Kollaer caught a Kaden Younger 33-yard pass and ran for 15 more on the next play before Vestal scored on a 13-yard run.

After a defensive stop, South grinded out an 11-play, 96-yard drive that was highlighted by a 19-yard Johnson run, Kaden Younger’s 15-yard scamper and 29 more on the ground for Kollaer on three consecutive plays. Kollaer would finish it off with a 9-yard run for a 13-0 lead.

Kollaer said the team had a vision when tweaks were made to the offense a few years ago.

“Our whole goal has been to punch people in the mouth and for them not to be able to do anything about it,” he said. “We’re just going to run it. Sometimes we’ll pass, ya’ll will never know. We’re going to do whatever want and you can’t stop it. That’s our goal.”

South drove 57 yards and scored on Kaden Younger’s 3-yard bootleg on the final play of the first half.

The RedHawks iced the game with touchdowns on three straight second-half possessions, getting scoring runs of 6 yards by Johnson, 56 by Vestal and 1 by Sawyer Hallberg.

The RedHawks have now allowed 23 points in three games, all against Mid-Willamette opponents.

The Scots’ talented skill players had South’s attention. Vasquez said he and his teammates learned the passing routes by studying film.

The RedHawks kept Fuimaono in the pocket and let their instincts get the job done.

“A lot of teams tend to get up the field on them and worry about getting sacks,” Louber said of facing mobile quarterbacks. “We’re a stop-the-run-first kind of team, so we always try to get to the heels and then react from there. The kids did a great job of reacting to passes and stopping the run.”

Jesse Sowa is a sports reporter at the Corvallis Gazette-Times. You can connect with him on Twitter: @JesseSowaGT.

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