Port Angeles quarterback Parker Nickerson, center, looks downfield as Olympic’s Jacob Gesell, left, and Alexander Larson, right, close in on Friday night at Port Angeles Civic Field. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles quarterback Parker Nickerson, center, looks downfield as Olympic’s Jacob Gesell, left, and Alexander Larson, right, close in on Friday night at Port Angeles Civic Field. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

PORT ANGELES FOOTBALL: Riders undone by rough second quarter against Olympic

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles Roughriders football team got off to a great start on its opening drive and had a great 22-point fourth quarter.

But in-between, a rough second quarter was the difference in a 41-29 loss at Civic Field on Friday night.

The Riders gave up the ball on three interceptions in the first half, two of which were pick-sixes in the second quarter. Port Angeles had a total of four turnovers.

“It was just not a good second quarter,” said coach Dustin Clark. “We missed some blocks. We had some breakdowns on little things. We’ll get back to it tomorrow.”

Olympic is a good, solid team that came in to the game with a 4-2 record with one of those losses to North Kitsap, the No. 1-ranked team in the state.

The Riders had trouble containing Joshua Gauyan on the offensive end, as he finished the game with more than 200 yards rushing and three rushing TDs. He also had one of the Trojans’ pick-sixes.

The game got off to a promising start as Port Angeles used three different quarterbacks on the opening drive and 78 yards for a touchdown. Quarterbacks Hunter Robinson, Parker Nickerson and Daniel Cable went 4-for-4 on the drive, with the big blows a 27-yard pass from Cable to Nickerson and Nickerson a 17-yard touchdown pass to Brantyn Fisler. After a Josiah Long kick, the Riders held a 7-0 lead with 7:17 left in the first quarter.

Port Angeles’ Parker Nickerson, right, rushes with the ball with protection from teammate Jaziel Livingston on Friday at Port Angeles Civic Field. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Angeles’ Parker Nickerson, right, rushes with the ball with protection from teammate Jaziel Livingston on Friday at Port Angeles Civic Field. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

The Riders’ defense started out strong early. They stopped one Olympic drive on a fumble recovery by Jaziel Livingston and Port Angeles stopped another drive by forcing a turnover on downs on a fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line.

But, the turnovers were too much to overcome. After a Nickerson interception, Olympic was able to drive 20 yards to tie the game at 7-7.

The Trojans scored another TD on a 20-yard Gauyan run to make it 14-7, then Olympic’s Ira Dagsaan shocked the Riders with an interception on a quick slant to Fisler, which went for a 53-yard touchdown. Just two minutes later, Gauyan read a pass in the flat to Livingston, breaking on the ball and picking it off for a 38-yard touchdown run to make it 28-7. In less than 3½ minutes, Olympic scored three touchdowns, two on defense, to blow open a close game.

Olympic got the ball back and was driving for another score when Cable picked off a pass at the 5-yard line to end the threat with 1:23 left. But the Riders still entered the half down 28-7.

Olympic stretched the lead to 41-7 in the second half on a Gauyan 14-yard touchdown run and a two-yard quarterback sneak late in the third quarter as the Trojans held the ball and wore down the Riders’ defense for a while.

The Riders rallied in the fourth quarter to make the score respectable, but it was too big of a hole to pull off a miracle win.

“They’re going to play all 48 minutes. We don’t ever give up,” Clark said.

Ezra Townsend began the rally with an interception and a 30-yard runback to give the Riders great field position. Nickerson quickly hit Cable for a 19-yard touchdown pass to make it 41-15 with 7 minutes left in the game.

Aaron Edmiston gobbled up an onside kick to give the ball back to the Riders and Cable scored quickly on a 42-yard run to make it 41-21 with 5:40 left.

The Riders got the ball back late. Cable had a 27-yard catch and Beckett Jarnigan completed the drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Nickerson to make it 41-29. But there were only a few seconds left in the game and while the Riders had the Trojans completely off-balance, they simply ran out of clock.

In the end, Port Angeles finished with some big statistics. The team had 208 yards passing with Nickerson tallying 187 yards through the air with three TDs and three INTs. The Riders had 116 yards rushing with Cable leading the way with 53. Livingston had 30 and Blake Peterson 27. Jarnigan led the team with 65 yards receiving, while Cable had 49, Fisler 42 and Townsend 36.

The Riders (4-5, including a North Mason forfeit, 3-3 in Olympic League) will look to finish the season at .500 next week with a game at Bremerton (5-2, 4-2 league). Olympic beat Bremerton 35-14 earlier this year.

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