PREP FOOTBALL: Port Angeles routed at home by Olympic 46-6
Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Port Angeles’ Nick Lasorsa, right, tries to evade Olympic’s Keshun McGee in the first quarter of the Roughriders’ 46-6 loss at Civic Field.
By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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Work hard, and good things will happen.
That's how sports are supposed to work.
However, extra effort had disastrous results, and hard work didn't improve results in Port Angeles' 46-6 loss to Olympic at Civic Field.
The Roughriders, who fall to 0-4 on the season (0-2 in Olympic League play), lost six fumbles in the game and put the football on the ground numerous other times.
“We actually were emphasizing ball security this week, and in fact, took a good portion of one of the practices to focus on securing the ball [with] everybody trying to strip it,” Port Angeles coach Tom Wahl said after Friday's game.
“I know we were doing the right things.”
“We've just got to do some more of it, I guess.”
There were two consecutive muffed kickoff returns in the fourth quarter — throughout the game, both teams struggled to field bouncing kicks — but most of the Riders' fumbles came at the end of nice gains by running backs as they fought for a few more yards.
They were doomed by their second effort.
“And that's not uncommon. The kids are going for that extra yardage, trying to get everything they can, and that happens,” Wahl said.
“And, you know, I give total credit to [Olympic]. They did a nice job of stripping the ball, they really did. You can tell that they've spent time working on it.”
The fumbles started on Port Angeles' first drive of the game.
Olympic opened the game by running right through the Riders' defense, taking a 7-0 lead on quarterback Makaleb McInnis' 1-yard touchdown run.
Port Angeles appeared to be responding in kind on its first drive, which began with a 10-yard run by Miki Andrus and a 17-yarder by Nick Lasorsa that put the Riders at the Trojan's 40-yard line.
Two plays later, though, Matt Robbins picked up a few yards, and while fighting for a few more, the ball was stripped by Olympic's Randy Johnston, who returned it 60 yards to the Port Angles 1-yard line.
McInnis scored on the next play, and the Trojans held a 14-0 lead.
“You know, people have got to be around the ball, too, and help [the ball carrier] out, and make a second effort down there with him, and then they'll recover the fumble,” Wahl said.
“But, we've got to hold onto the ball. When you get in that situation, the guys need to cover it up and realize that you're making a second effort, they've got you by the ankles or whatever, and they're going to be stripping the ball.”
An early 14-0 deficit is especially tough on a team like the Riders, who entered Friday's game on a 14-game losing streak that dates back to the end of the 2011 season.
“We need to get some momentum and we need to get up and get the kids' confidence going, because it's almost like we're snakebitten,” Wahl said.
“Stuff just keeps snowballing in the wrong direction; and [the team's] confidence, then it ebbs.
“It's tough to be in our situation. These guys are just kids, you know?”
While Port Angeles' defense struggled much of the game to slow the Trojans' running attack, the offense was able to pick up yards before sputtering, fumbling or being pushed back by penalties into third-down-and-long situations.
“We . . . had some nice drives last week that didn't score. Had some nice drives today, a couple of them, that didn't score,” Wahl said.
“It looks like everything is going roses, and then something happens for the worst.
“We just can't get into a rhythm; we're struggling to get that momentum.”
Throughout the first three quarters, the Riders seemed close to breaking out of their rut.
Andrus, in particular, seemed one tackler away from a long run on many of his 11 carries. He finished with 52 yards.
Andrus made a big play on defense when he stretched out to haul in an interception in the end zone after Johnston blocked a punt to set up Olympic inside the Port Angeles 5-yard line with a minute to play in the first half.
The Riders' only score came in the third quarter after Austin Polly recovered a muffed punt at the Trojans' 33-yard line.
Runs by Andrus and Lasorsa, along with a personal foul penalty by Olympic, set up quarterback Nate Angevine's 2-yard touchdown run up the middle.
Each of Port Angeles' five drives in the final quarter ended with a fumble.
After the game, Angevine addressed the team and emphasized that the Riders are on the verge of good things.
“I think Nate really was, it was kind of profound what he said: 'We're right there guys, but we're not there yet. We just need to keep working,'” Wahl said.
Added Wahl, “We've got to really be introspective, and just come out and double our efforts.
“We need to work harder all the way around. That's what a champion does, that's what a winner does, and we just need to learn from our mistakes and get better.”
Port Angeles plays at Klahowya (0-2, 2-2) on Friday. The Eagles are coming off a 28-7 to Kingston.
Sports Editor Lee Horton can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at email@example.com.
Last modified: September 28. 2013 6:33PM