PREP FOOTBALL: Neah Bay blows out Lummi in 1B power struggle
Neah Bay’s Zeke Greene (26) knocks down a pass in the end zone. Photo -- Lonnie Archibald/for Peninsula Daily News
By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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Not because it was the second Greene-to-Greene passing touchdown of the game, and the sixth touchdown Josiah Greene had a hand in.
And it wasn’t the most important play of the top-ranked Red Devils’ 76-32 rout of third-ranked Lummi.
The significance of the touchdown came from the 44-point lead it gave Neah Bay (68-24), which put a running clock into effect for the remainder of the game.
“That’s the first time ever for us [against Lummi],” Neah Bay coach Tony McCaulley said after Friday’s game of the running clock
“That’s the third-place team in the state, and I’m pretty sure they are the third-place team. They’re good.
“I didn’t expect that score. We played well.”
The Red Devils’ had a lot of big plays and big performances throughout the dismantling of their rivals from Bellingham.
Josiah Greene scored on runs of 65, 44 and 47 yards. His other passing touchdown to Zeke Greene was a 45-yarder. He also returned a fumble 44 yards for a score near the end of the first half.
Cody Cummins had touchdown runs of 38 and 76 yards, and Collin Haupt ran for 30- and 56-yard touchdowns.
Neah Bay scored on each of their nine possessions. Five of those drives had three plays or less, and the other four consisted of four of five plays.
But it was the little things, and some big guys, that led to the win.
Those long scoring plays were made possible by the holes opened by guards Mitchell McGee and Carl Mack, center Bill Hanson and fullback Tyler McCaulley.
“Our offensive line is just killing it,” Tony McCaulley said.
“They’ve worked hard. Frank Corpuz, he’s a volunteer [coach] that helps us with our offensive line, he does an excellent job.
“Then you’ve got Ty [McCaulley] coming through as the fullback, so you’ve got a lot of beef coming there.”
On defense, freshmen Cole Svec and Cameron Buzzell prevented Lummi’s high-powered pass attack to from making too many big plays.
“We’ve got two freshmen playing corners, and they played pretty good,” Tony McCaulley said.
“They didn’t [give up] anything big. They did let them catch it in front of them, but they didn’t let them get anything big.”
When the Blackhawks did complete passes, Svec, Zeke Greene, John Reamer and Buzzell quickly made the open-field tackle to prevent extra yardage.
Buzzell and Reamer had eight tackles apiece, Svec had 11 and Zeke Greene led the team with 16.
Just as important as its touchdowns were Neah Bay’s two-point conversions.
The Red Devils converted all but two of their two-point tries, while Lummi only converted one, on its final touchdown in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.
The two teams traded touchdowns on their first two possessions, as they often do.
“A lot of that is, both of us watch a lot of film on each other, and we use up some of our good stuff right off the bat on each other,” Tony McCaulley said.
“They score on us, we score on them — that’s not unsual.”
With the four extra points, the Red Devils led 16-12.
They stopped the Blackhawks’ next possession on a fourth down play from the Neah Bay 13-yard line. Two plays later, Cummins’s 76-yard run and a Josiah Greene to Zeke Greene pass gave the Red Devils a 24-12 lead after one quarter.
Neah Bay had doubled Lummi, despite only having one more touchdown.
“Two-point conversions are big; I mean, huge,” Tony McCaulley said.
“We work on special stuff for just the two-point [conversions], because its big — three scores, and you got another touchdown.”
The turnover battle
On the Blackhawks’ next drive, Reamer forced and recovered a fumble. He read the pitch, the ball bounced off the Lummi player, and Reamer grabbed it out of the air and returned in 27 yards.
“I just learned how to played the inside pitch. I was shocked I ended up with it,” Reamer said.
“I guess I should have taken it back, but coach said to just hold onto the ball, and I saw a couple of [Lummi players] coming, so just stepped out and took what we could get.”
No matter. On the next play, Zeke Greene scored on a 45-yard pass play, and Neah Bay led 30-12.
Lummi scored two more touchdowns before halftime, but also turned the ball over twice more on fumbles.
“The difference was the takeaways and the energy,” Reamer said.
“We came out and punched them, they punched us back, but we just bounced back and never looked back.
“We’re finally at full strength, and everybody’s been hungry for this. Everybody’s been talking about it since summer: This was the game to win.”
By halftime, Neah Bay’s advantage had ballooned to 60-24.
“We didn’t play well,” Lummi coach Jim Sandusky said.
“You can’t turn the ball over [that many] times and have a chance to compete against a good opponent.
“It’s been the same story the last three times we’ve played them, we’ve turned the ball over three or four times.
“You can’t do that and win. You just can’t.”
After years of struggling against the Blackhawks, the Red Devils have won the past four meetings, including twice in the state playoffs.
Neah Bay, meanwhile, didn’t have any turnovers.
Offensively, the Red Devils pounded the ball with the 6-foot-3 and 190-pound Cummins early on, then turned to the speed of Haupt, who stands 5-foot-6 and weighs 145 pounds.
Haupt did show some power running of his own, bouncing off tacklers and continuing to move his legs forward to extend his gains against the weary Blackhawks.
“Cody wore them down a little bit, and then [Haupt] came in with fresh legs, and man, it was obvious,” Tony McCaulley said.
“He’s got really good balance; he’s smaller so you can’t see him back there. There’s a lot of good things about him. He’s tough, really tough.
“It’s a big addition to our team. We’re lucky to have him.”
Haupt transferred to Neah Bay earlier this year. He carried the ball eight times for 132 yards.
Cummins finished with 205 yards on 15 carries. Josiah Greene ran six times for 174 yards, and completed four of six passes for 71 yards.
Zeke Greene caught three passes for 68 yards.
“Everything is clicking on all cylinders now,” Reamer said.
Neah Bay (4-0) plays at Tulalip (1-1) on Saturday.
■ Neah Bay didn’t punt once in the game.
In fact, McCaulley said the Red Devils haven’t punted all season.
For that, he credits the holes offensive line creates.
■ With the win, the Red Devils have the inside track for a bye and home-field in the early postseason. (Although, since the North Olympic Peninsula doesn’t have a field with artificial turf, “home field” usually means playing elsewhere, such as Silverdale.)
■ Lummi lost many important players to injury throughout the game.
Star receiver/backup quarterback Austin Brockie only played a few drives due to illness.
His absence forced Logan Toby, seeing his first action after missing a few weeks with an injury, to play most of the game at quarterback. Brockie was slated to take over after the first quarter.
With Brockie out, Lummi relied heavily on Devin Cooper. He scored three touchdowns, including a 69-yard kickoff return, but a concussion right before halftime kept him off the field for the final two quarters.
“That’s our physical play, too,” Tony McCaulley said.
“And they [Lummi] know it — they are [physical], too. When you get two physical teams playing against each other, you get that.”
Sports Editor Lee Horton can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: October 05. 2013 6:42PM