Beaverton continues to show explosive potential

When they're on the same wave length and pinpointed on their keys, the Beaverton football team is downright hair-rising and volatile.

For example, against McKay on Friday in their final preseason contest, the Beavers scored 21 points in the first quarter in the game's first 3:20. Then in the third, Beaverton blew out the Scots with 29 unanswered points that led to a convincing 54-19 win on the road.

However, it was an enigmatic second quarter when Beaverton let McKay back into the game with back-to-back touchdowns that has head coach Bob Boyer a tad worried.

His team is skilled and thick with talent, but four games into a still developing season, Beaverton is still searching for four quarters of complete football.

“I thought it was a good start, but then we became a little complacent in the second quarter,” said Boyer. “We're going into Metro League play. We have to learn how to step on the accelerator and just go, go, go.”by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Beaverton quarterback Sam Noyer tallied more than 200 yards of total offense in the Beavers 59-14 win over McKay.

Boyer said the coaching staff went into the locker room at halftime and had a “heart-to-heart chat” with the squad, which spurred the Beavers into a 29-point eruption in the third quarter that sealed the contest. Quarterback Sam Noyer added a 41-yard touchdown run and running back Grant Johnson tacked on his first score of the game on a two-yard run that pushed the lead to 35-14.

“The offense finally started to show who they were and just exploded and took off,” said Boyer.

Beaverton's defense forced three turnovers on McKay's first eight plays from scrimmage with two interceptions and a fumble that gave the Beavers a 21-0 lead with just 8:40 left in the first quarter. Beaver linebacker Tovey Brown picked off a pass on the first drive of the game that set up a 22-yard touchdown run by Johnson two plays later.

On the next possession, Beaverton picked off the Scots again, which led to a 30-yard touchdown pass from Sam Noyer to Bryce Barker one play later.

The Beaver defense continued to flock to the pigskin, stripping McKay's running back after Barker's touchdown. Senior linebacker Kiuna Talalemotu recovered the cough-up at the Scots' 5 yard line and Noyer promptly scored on a 5-yard touchdown run.

Before Boyer could take a breath, his young team had acquired a seemingly insurmountable 21-0 first-quarter advantage.

“Defensively (Beaverton's defense) did a good job of containing their kids, especially right off the bat,” said Boyer. “They contained them, stuffed them. They did everything we needed them to do.”

by: TIMES FILE PHOTO - Beaverton kick returner Eric Hurd and the Beavers will try to knock off Southridge in the Metro League opener on Friday.

A balanced attack

Beaverton struck a great offensive balance against McKay, rushing for 228 yards and passing for 201. Johnson continued to be a workhorse, carrying the ball 16 times for 84 yards. Gus Vranizan ran for 76 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. Noyer threw for 192 yards and ran for 55. Barker got back to his productive ways at wide receiver, catching eight passes for 113 yards. Junior wide receiver Drew Kimmer caught five balls for 68 yards and a score as well.

Boyer said the Beavers take pride in being a balanced attack and don't want to rely on one offensive aspect or player too heavily.

“We don't want to be a pure running or pure passing team,” said Boyer. “We want to balance it and go. Grant did a great job of running the ball for us. Sam did a great job in the second half of managing the game and getting the ball around.”

“We have to learn how to play a full game,” said Boyer. “Part of that is being a younger team. We know being a younger team you're going to lose a game that you probably should've won. That was the South Salem game, and if we had played a complete game, we would've run away with it. We have a lot of young kids and kids with limited varsity experience in a lot of spots. But, they're just going to get better and better as we go and learn more.”

Looking ahead

Neighborhood bragging rights will be on the line when Beaverton heads to Southridge this Friday in the Metro League opener. The Skyhawks are formidable, Boyer said. After losing to 6A defending state champion Sheldon in the season opener, Southridge has rebounded with three straight wins including a 30-20 triumph over Lake Oswego. But, if the Beavers do their respective tasks and play four full quarters, Boyer feels Beaverton is as competitive as anybody in the Metro League. Southridge has yet to prove it can pass the ball consistently, so Boyer says the key will be shutting down Skyhawk running back Jacob Pruitt and their veteran offensive line.

“Their strength is running the ball, and if we stop the run and not them break out, I think we'll be fine,” said Boyer. “We can stop them. They like to overload a side and run right at you and try to beat you up with it. If our reads are perfect, if we come downhill and match their intensity, we can stop them. That's what we're talking about all week long.”

Offensively, the Beavers want to rule the line of scrimmage so they can dictate the pace and tempo and possibly wear down Southridge's defense. Beaverton's already stout run game will get a nice boost this week when explosive junior running back Chidubem Nnoli makes his return. Nnoli suffered a high ankle sprain on the first play of the season and missed all of the preseason. Johnson will still get the bulk of the load, but Nnoli will get a touch here and there to get a gauge on the progress of his ankle.

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