PORT ANGELES — Junior quarterback Carter Windle was in command of the Forks passing game and the Spartans defense stood tall in a 23-0 season-opening shutout of Port Angeles on Friday at Civic Field.
“I’m very proud of our guys, they showed a lot of toughness,” Forks coach Trevor Highfield.
“First game, you’re going to have things like we had tonight — penalties, tackling is always an issue. We figured we would either win or learn, and regardless, the win is still a big learning opportunity.”
Windle completed 19 of 27 passes for 258 yards, an interception and two touchdown passes to Logan Olson.
“For a first-year varsity starter, he did an awesome job,” Highfield said. “We have some decisions we have to clean up, no question. But I’m very, very proud of him and everything he’s doing.”
Hayden Queen led the Forks receiving corps with seven grabs for 104 yards. He also forced a fumble and was active defensively for Forks.
“Hayden Queen was all over the place,” Highfield said.
Olson had five for 88 more yards and Antonio Farias added five catches for 47 yards.
“Logan Olson is an incredible athlete. He’s one of our best athletes and leaders,” Highfield said.
The Spartans went up 3-0 on a 35-yard first quarter field goal by Ethan Bello.
“He’s a soccer player that took a year off but didn’t forget how to kick it,” said Queen.
Game stayed close
Despite five Port Angeles turnovers in the first three quarters, four in the first half, the Spartans couldn’t add to that early lead until late in the game.
The Spartans broke the game open with three touchdowns in quick succession over seven minutes in the third and fourth quarter.
Windle found Olson in the left corner of the end for a 3-yard TD with 31.3 seconds left in the third.
The Spartans later scored on a 1-yard run by Dalton Kilmer.
Port Angeles’ Derek Sparks tipped Windle’s pass into Olson’s hands in the end zone for the final score.
“I was reading the corner not playing up on Logan, so he did a little helmet tap and did a go [route],” Windle said of the final scoring play.
“Like Logan said, it’s an RPO [run-pass option] every single play, If I see [the defense] crash I can throw it, keep it or pull it.
Highfield also had praise for a couple of juniors.
“Trey Baysinger is just solid,” Highfield said. “You can trust him and count on him on both sides of the ball. I’m proud of Ricky Barragan and how he pushed through. He ran hard.”
Highfield enjoyed his team’s effort.
“We showed we could run the ball, we did a good job offensively,” he said. “Our defense made huge plays when we needed to. We kind of said the defense would be the backbone of our team and they stepped up tonight. I’m very excited about how hard we played.
“We made big strides between the first and second halves and we will make bigger strides between the first and second games.”
Port Angeles lost starting quarterback and safety Tyler Bowen in the first half after he made a big hit on Queen over the middle.
Backup Daniel Cable came on in his first time playing the position at the varsity level and showed flashes of speed on QB keepers and option plays to the outside, but struggled in the passing game until the final drive.
Lucas Jarnagin made his varsity debut as a senior and the 6-foot-4 basketball and baseball player had three catches for 50 yards.
In his first ever game of varsity football, Jacob Felton played well defensively, getting a big sack on Windle in the first half. Nolan Hughes and Treyton Walde also had sacks for the Riders.
“Just a lot of inexperienced mistakes,” Port Angeles coach Troy Mann said of the game. “We have a lot of new guys out there playing new positions, now we have to go back and refine it and move on.
“We are a very athletic team and have a lot of talent on the team. Just a lot of youth and we have to mature and progress.
“The fortunate thing is that this is a very smart group of kids and they’ll see what they need to work on.”
Forks (1-0) hosts Sequim next Friday.
Port Angeles (0-1) visits Class 3A North Thurston in Lacey.
Forks 23, Port Angeles 0
Forks 3 0 6 14— 23
PA 0 0 0 0— 0
F—Bello 35 field goal
F—Olson 3 pass from Windle (kick failed)
F—Kilmer 1 run (Bello kick)
F—Olson 22 pass from Windle (Bello kick)
Rushing—F: Barragan 24-47, Kilmer 9-18; Windle 12-(-51). PA: Cable 20-43, Bowen 6-21, Livingston 4-4, Team 1-(-31).
Passing—F: Windle 19-27-258, 2 TDs, INT. PA: Cable 6-16-93, 2INT; Bowen 0-2-0.
Receiving—F: Queen 7-104, Olson 5-88 , Farias 5-47, Rancourt 1-19; PA: Jarnagin 3-50, Felton 2-19, Bowechop 1-14.
Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or at [email protected]