Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News Port Angeles’ Rudy Valdez, left, fends off the defense of Renton’s Nefetalai Finau in the second quarter on Friday night at Port Angeles Civic Field.

FOOTBALL: Port Angeles can’t capitalize on opportunities against Renton

Two untimely turnovers and a failed fourth-down conversion come back to haunt the Roughriders

By Pierre LaBossiere

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The Roughriders had their chances, but untimely turnovers and lost opportunities deep in Renton’s territory came back to haunt them in the end, as Port Angeles lost 33-6.

After falling behind early Friday night at Civic Field 14-0, Port Angeles had a couple of opportunities to pull within one score at the end of the half, but a Matthew Warner pass into the end zone was intercepted late in the second quarter and then another chance after a Renton turnover moments later ended on a sack and a fumble.

Port Angeles (0-3, 0-6) was eventually worn down by Renton’s big line and quarterback Royal Dotson-Goode, who ran the ball 32 times for 241 yards and all five Indian TDs.

The Riders managed to contain Dotson-Goode to only a couple of big plays, but it often took two or three defenders to bring him down as he consistently churned out six- and seven-yard runs.

“Our Achilles’ heel is punching it in when we get down there in the red zone,” said Port Angeles coach Brett Curtis.

The Riders were able to move the ball between the 20s as Warner ripped off some big runs and completed 7 of 12 passes, including his first five attempts. But, two interceptions, two fumbles and a fourth-and-five that couldn’t be converted deep in Indians’ territory came back to haunt Port Angeles.

Three Renton fumbles were also nullified because the runners were called down or a pass called incomplete. One play appeared for a moment as if it might have been a 98-yard fumble recovery and touchdown for the Riders.

“Our defense played with a ton of heart. They were on the field a lot. Their guy [Dotson-Goode] was a load. He was a big, strong guy. We had trouble stopping him. He’s one of the strongest running backs we’ve seen yet,” Curtis said.

Curtis thought Rudy Valdez, Jarrett Burns and Trevor Shumway all had good games for the Riders. Warner had 86 yards rushing and a TD and passed for another 77 yards.

The Port Angeles defense actually did a good job sniffing out Renton’s plays and often times hit Dotson-Goode within a yard or two of the line of scrimmage.

He was such a strong runner, however, that he literally dragged defenders with him for another five or six yards. Renton’s attack wasn’t pretty, but it was effective.

Renton started the game with an 80-yard drive that was almost all Dotson-Goode. He had nine rushes for 73 yards on the drive and ended it with a one-yard plunge with 5:51 left in the first quarter.

On the kickoff, Burns made a good return to the 35, then Warner quickly hit Valdez for a 15-yard game to put the Riders in business. Warner converted on a 3rd-and-2 by hitting Ben Arnold with a pass down to the 35. A Burns 15-yard run put the Riders at the 20-yard-line, but on a 4th-and-5 from the 15-yard-line, a fake Statue of Liberty play didn’t fool the Indians and the drive stalled at the 13.

On the next series, Renton had its biggest play of the game on a very well-blocked short screen from Dotson-Goode to Robert Kennard that went for 48 yards. Dotson-Goode added a 26-yard run, then scored on a 10-yard run with 9:02 left in the second quarter. The kick made it 14-0.

Port Angeles responded with a long, effective drive. Warner hit Garrett Edwards for a 24-yard gain, while Shumway added several strong runs. The Riders converted a third down on an 11-yard pass from Warner to Valdez that set Port Angeles up at the 14-yard-line. Warner was 5 of 5 with 63 yards passing at this point.

But, a Warner pass to the corner of the end zone was picked off by Renton’s Kayee Song at the 2:17 mark. His first incompletion was the interception.

Port Angeles might have had one more quick chance at the end of the half as a Dotson-Goode pass was intercepted by Easton Joslin at the 35-yard-line with 17 seconds left. But, on the next play, Warner was crushed on a sack and fumbled to end the threat.

In the second half, Port Angeles immediately threatened again after a 55-yard run off the right side by Warner. Another 12 yards rushing from Burns and a seven-yard pass to Jace Lausche had the Riders inside the 25-yard-line. Warner finished the drive with a 21-yard scramble with 7:31 left in the third to make it 14-6. The kick failed.

Then, Renton continued to shove Dotson-Goode down the Riders’ throats. He ran five times for 41 yards in the next drive as Renton quickly scored to make it 20-6 with 4:08 left in the third.

A Port Angeles fumble gave the ball right back to Renton. The Riders appeared they were going to hold until 19-yard pass from Dotson-Goode to Song on a fourth-and-9 set the Indians up inside the 10-yard-line.

Early in the fourth quarter came one of the strangest plays of the game. On a pass from Dotson-Goode to Song at the goal line, the ball came loose. There was no whistle and Valdez alertly picked up the ball and ran 98 yards for an apparent touchdown. However, after a long conference from the refs, it was decided that the pass was incomplete and the ball was returned to the Indians.

Dotson-Goode then converted a fourth-and-eight from the 10, then ran it in for his fourth TD to make it 26-6 with 9:53 left.

Valdez set up the Riders in good position again with a 37-yard run back to the 48-yard-line. However, on the next play, Warner was absolutely crushed as he threw the ball, resulting in an interception. Warner was shaken up, but came back later in the game.

Dotson-Goode added a 28-yard run on the next drive, then ran it in from nine yards out for his fifth TD to make it 33-6 with 6:59 left.

Port Angeles next plays at Bremerton (0-3, 2-4) on Friday.

Renton 33, Port Angeles 6

Renton 7 7 6 13— 33

Port Angeles 0 0 6 0— 6

First Quarter

R—Dotson-Goode 1 run (Gutierrez kick)

Second Quarter

R—Dotson-Goode 10 run (Gutierrez kick)

Third Quarter

PA—Warner 21 run (Kick failed)

R—Dotson-Goode 6 run (Kick failed)

Fourth Quarter

R—Dotson-Goode 9 run (Guitierrez kick)

Individual Stats

Rushing—PA: Warner 8-86, Burns 10-37, Shumway 5-14. R: Dotson-Goode, 32-241, Kenard 10-46, Song 1-7.

Passing—PA: Warner 7-12-2, 77; 0 TDs, 12 INTs. R: 2-6-1, 64, 0 TDs, 1 INT.

Receiving—PA: Valdez 2-28, Edwards 1-24, Arnold 1-7, Lousch 3-18. R: Kendard 1-47, Song 1-17.

________

Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]

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