PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles showcased some big-play potential in the run and pass game and brought consistent energy and physicality in all facets of a 50-6 win over the combined East Jefferson (Chimacum and Port Townsend) football team Saturday.
It was the first victory for new Roughriders head coach Brent Wasche.
“I was really impressed with the effort we got out of our kids,” Wasche said. “I believe it was tied 0-0 after the first quarter, and they didn’t stop, they played relentless football, they played tenacious and eventually I think we kind of wore them down.”
Early in the second quarter, the Roughriders’ new ground-based Wing-T offense went to the air instead and found success.
Freshman quarterback Patrick Nickerson threw for 181 yards and three scores, all in the second quarter, as Port Angeles went up 28-0 at halftime with help from four East Jefferson turnovers.
The Riders got on the board when Nickerson rolled to his left and hit Daniel Cable out of the backfield along the sideline for a 50-yard catch and run. Cable made the East Jefferson defender miss and outran the rest for the score.
Cable finished with three grabs for 86 yards and seven carries for 33 yards, including a 23-yard scamper to round out Port Angeles’ scoring.
Nickerson maintained his footing, just barely, on a 6-yard TD pass to Derek Sparks and added a 4-yard throw to Cyras Mills. Jacob Felton, who ran for 109 yards on 12 carries, also added a 4-yard TD run. He later produced a physical 45-yard run to the end zone in the fourth quarter.
“We weren’t afraid to get hit and we executed our plays well, too,” Felton said. “That’s something we practice, you can’t be afraid to get hit, you have to go at it.”
Jaziel Livingston also made big plays for Port Angeles, outleaping a crowd of East Jefferson defenders for a Nickerson pass and for a 60-yard gain in the third quarter. He later scored on a 1-yard run.
“If you would have asked me before the game if would we get up around 200 yards passing today, I wouldn’t have thought so,” Wasche said. “But we had kids make some great plays. Daniel got us going along the sideline, Derek made a nice catch, Cyras had one, and Jaz had a big grab and went rolling.”
Nickerson’s composure at quarterback also impressed Wasche.
“Parker made an extremely athletic play [on the pass to Sparks],” Wasche said. “I tell you what, Parker Nickerson did not look like a freshman throwing the ball out there today. He played salty and looked seasoned. We expect some big things from him.”
Not much went right for East Jefferson, which was limited to 72 yards, all on the ground, offensively.
Head coach Patrick Gaffney said before the game that his team, without a number of starters due to injury and a pre-planned vacation, needed a good start to help build confidence.
They didn’t get it as the combined squad turned the ball over four times in the first half and five times overall.
Sparks and Nickerson intercepted passes, and the Riders also recovered three fumbles.
East Jefferson team captain Chris Fair also left the game due to injury.
“We have to figure out a way to get off to a better start, and if something does go wrong, we can’t let one mistake turn into another mistake,” Gaffney said. “We can’t compound mistakes with mistakes. I thought we played better in the second half, the scoreboard is the scoreboard, but there were things we asked them to do in the first half that we were able to do in the second.”
Wasche was gracious to East Jefferson.
“Hats off to East Jefferson, I can’t imagine how difficult it is to merge the two programs in the timeline they were allotted,” Wasche said. “Their kids played hard and they are trying to put something together in a very short time frame.”
Why the game was at Stevens Middle School
It was a community atmosphere in the west side neighborhood with many fans watching from inside and out of parked vehicles ringing the field.
COVID-related delays pushed back the installation of new goal posts at Civic Field and the lower field at the high school, and with football a turf-destroyer and baseball season set to begin in mid-March, the decision was made to preserve the always-lush Civic Field grass.
Port Angeles 50, East Jefferson 6
EJ 0 0 0 6 — 6
PA 0 28 8 14 — 50
PA — Cable 50 pass from Nickerson (pass failed)
PA — Sparks 6 pass from Nickerson (Livingston run good)
PA — Felton 4 run (conversion good)
PA — Mills 4 pass from Nickerson (Fisler run)
PA — Livingston 1 run (Nickerson run)
PA — Felton 45 run (Felton kick)
PA — Cable 23 run (Felton kick)
EJ — Lindsey 1 run (conversion failed)
PA: Nickerson 7-11, 181 yards 3 TDs; Cable 0-2.
EJ: Cerna 0-2, 2 INTs; Popp 0-2.
PA: Felton 12-109; Cable 8-33; Livingston 8-22; Coppage 2-7; Meadows 3-5; Nickerson 2-(-3).
EJ: Lindsey 6-38; Jones 7-35; Massie 13-10; Pennington 2-7; Haddenham 1-(-1); Popp 2-(-6); Cerna 5-(-9)
PA: Cable 3-86; Livingston 1-60; Mills 2-29 , Sparks 1-6.