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Peninsula Daily News
PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend showed it can excel even without starting quarterback Jacob King in the Redskins’ 30-14 win over Life Christian Academy on Saturday night at Memorial Athletic Field.
King limped through much of the first half with a deep thigh bruise, but the pain became too much and he was forced to spend the entire second half on the sidelines.
Leading just 13-7, the Redskins would have to play the final two quarters without their best player.
“In the locker room there was kind of a blank stare on their faces when [they found out] their team leader’s gone, the guy that’s been leading them all season long,” Port Townsend head coach Nick Snyder said.
“But, they stepped up.”
The early signs of trepidation didn’t follow the remaining Redskins onto the field.
Life Christian fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half.
Port Townsend recovered and backup quarterback Jeff Seton led them on a drive that was finished off by an 11-yard Matt Cain touchdown run.
On second play of the ensuing drive, Cain stepped in front of Life Christian quarterback’s Taylor Roelofs and raced down the sidelines for a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Just four minutes into the third quarter, the Port Townsend lead had grown to 27-7.
“My concern was how are we going to handle the adversity of losing Jacob, and maybe coming out flat, and just the opposite happened,” Snyder said.
“We rose up because of it, and I thought we played better in the second half.”
The Redskins had a lot to replace when King went down:
■ Big plays — Cain took care of these with his two touchdowns.
■ A go-to offensive player — the Redskins repeatedly called Tim Russell’s number for runs up the middle. He finished with 18 carries and 95 yards.
“Tim Russell pounding off tackle was — he was the man in that second half,” Snyder said.
■ A free safety — Layne Zack filled in nicely here.
“Defensively, Layne Zack had to go to free safety [after King went out],” Snyder said.
“He hadn’t played it all year and got two interceptions. He’s got a real nose for the ball.”
■ A quarterback — Oh, and the Redskins also needed someone to take the snaps from center and execute the offense.
Enter Seton, a sophomore who had seen limited game action at quarterback coming into the game.
While it definitely didn’t hurt that the Redskins set Seton up deep in Life Christian territory on his first drive at the steering wheel, Snyder said he wasn’t worried about Seton being overwhelmed by the moment.
“I don’t think it would matter to him at all if we started at [our own] one [yard line]. The kid’s got a ton of confidence,” Snyder said.
“It cracks me up because he’s always wanting to call his own number.
“You know, the option plays where he carries the ball or the bootleg plays where he throws the ball, or something other than just handing it off and watching the ball run.”
Snyder said the blocking deserves a lot of credit, too, for giving the runners lanes to run through.
“The O-line stepped up, too, and we were blasting some holes and some good long drives,” he said.
“Especially the offensive line, because I think the fear of losing Jacob, kind of just said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get going here. We lost our best athlete and we need to rise up and take over the ball game.’ ”
Cain led Port Townsend on defense with 12 total tackles, six solo, and an interception for a return of 51 yards.
Spencer Bond had nine total tackles and a sack that cost Life Christian five yards while Layne Zack collected two interceptions for a total of 43 return yards, and Tyler Mantie recovered a fumble.
The Redskins (2-2, 4-3) will next host Tacoma Baptist on Friday night in Port Townsend’s homecoming game.
Port Townsend 30, Life Christian 14
Life Christian 0 7 0 7— 14
Port Townsend 7 6 14 3— 30
PT—Jacob King 7 run (Dillon Ralls kick)
PT—King 1 run (kick failed)
LC—Hunter Haley 61 pass from Taylor Roelofs (Tyler Beasinger kick)
PT—Matt Cain 11 run (Ralls kick)
PT—Cain 47 interception return (Ralls kick)
PT—Ralls 25 field goal
LC—Roelofs 1 run (Beasinger kick)
Rushing— LC: Taylor Roelofs 10-24. PT: Tim Russell 18-114, Matt Cain 11-92, Jacob King 9-60, Mitiku Little 10-55, Wesley Wheeler 2-19, Jeff Seton 1-11.
Passing— LC: Taylor Roelofs 13-23-3, 164. PT: Jacob King 2-6-0, 38 yards; Jeff Seton 0-1-0.
Receiving— LC: Kyle Goodman 7-81, Wyatt Dunlap 5-22, Haley 1-61. PT: Skyler Coppenrath 1-36, Matt Cain 1-2.