McDonald, Beaver offensive line pound Aloha, 43-0
Even in a turnover-plagued, mistake-laced defeat, one could see the makings of a mashing matrimony between Trevor McDonald and the Beaverton offensive line.
The Beavers couldn't get out of their own way against Southridge and it cost them a winnable game. But from the bruise of Beaverton's black eye, a potentially devastating rushing attack has come to light. McDonald — a punishing bell cow who runs behind his pads and lowers the boom on a defender whenever the opportunity presents itself — and a group of big guys that likes to maul people. It's almost a perfect pulverizing partnership.
McDonald and his running mates were clicking on all pistons on Friday night, rushing for four touchdowns and more than 200 yards in a 43-0 rout over Aloha at Aloha High School. And Beaverton's defense was biting, pitching a shutout while holding the Warriors to less than 200 yards of total offense.
Beaverton was a both-sides-of-the-ball bully, something the Beavers were hoping to prove in lieu of the Skyhawk setback.
"We went into practice this week and we had a mindset to come out and kick some butt tonight and that's what we did," McDonald said. "We knew we were better than what we did last week. We came together and moved forward."
A week after nearly knocking off Westview in a hotly contested 27-17 loss, Aloha went three-and-out on its first three possessions of the first half against the Beavers, which parlayed into a hat trick of McDonald touchdowns. Beaverton's defense deactivated Aloha's short passing game and forced the Warriors into a number of third-and-longs that put Aloha far behind the sticks. With Beaver defenders such as Stefanos Mason, Evan Kepner, Sandrey Mitberg and Ben Mackinnon barreling to the football and bringing their hard hats to the gridiron, Aloha just couldn't kick out of first gear.
"We just have to go back to the drawing board and work hard at practice," Aloha sophomore quarterback Timmy Dennis said. "We wanted to attack the flats, dink-and-dunk down the field and hit Beaverton deep. It just didn't work well for us. We have to practice harder in practice because those habits translate over to the games. I know we'll bounce back."
The Warriors' offensive production came in fits and spurts, but that's to be expected with the amount of youth on the field. Dennis got the start at quarterback and sophomore running back Sir Charles Mitchell saw a number of carries in the second half behind Sam Telesa, Brandon Graham and the Warrior offensive line. Mitchell showed an ability to make defenders miss with his quicks and sudden speed in tight quarters. Dennis, who battled through an ankle injury, said he's adjusting to the speed of the game and starting to see the passing game open up before him.
"It's great," Dennis said with a smile. "Playing varsity was crazy at first, but I've handled the transition pretty well. I've stayed poised and I'm just trying to do me. When we're executing our run game, that's when we're at our best."
A week ago, Beaverton had five turnovers, which Southridge turned into 21 points. Against Aloha, the Beavers didn't turn the ball over once. Instead, they were an efficient, streamlined machine, one that used McDonald as its engine.
"He's been huge," Beaverton center Vinny Niosi said. "When he's getting the ball, I know that he's going to give me his all. Just to have that gives the offensive line a lot of confidence that we can do some good things."
Over the past four seasons, the Beavers were a wide-open spread offense with as few as four wide receivers on the field at one time. Behind the likes of Sam Noyer and Carson Crawford, Beaverton could air the ball out and run its sleek playmakers underneath off its dynamic passing game. Yet, with McDonald and Matt Eppler in the backfield, Niosi, Sonny Bonillas and company manning the trenches and cracking crevices up front, Beaverton has shifted to a more traditional two-running back set with additional power runs and plays between the tackles. "Ground-and-pound" and "Beaverton" haven't often been associated with each other dating back to the late 1990's, but it's a change that's suited for the Beavers' personnel this season.
"We don't have that sizzle on the outside...but we've got a lot of beef," Niosi said. "And, it's good when we can put the beef inside. In the third and fourth quarter when we were beating (Aloha) pretty bad I just told the JV guys that were getting in to follow me up the middle and they'd get their yards. Sure enough, it worked. It's nice to have that."
Niosi, Bonillas, Mitberg, Antonio Longoria, Blaine Larsen and Reese Wygant amongst others, were instrumental in enforcing a physical nature up front and making sure McDonald had plenty of room to work. Beaverton shifted Niosi to center this week in hopes of controlling the middle of the field with Bonillas and Longoria at left and right guard.
"The offensive line played with a lot of heart and guts," McDonald said. "We look at it like a boxing match — you always have to face your opponent and move forward and that's what he did for four quarters."
Mitchell made a pair of nice runs to keep the chains moving for Aloha to begin the second half, but on 4 and 1 from the Beaver 37, Tanner Brown made a nice pass breakup to turn the ball back over to Beaverton. On the very next play, McDonald cut through a sizeable crease created by the Beaver offensive line, skated untouched to the second level, hit the gas and raced 63 yards to the end zone for his fourth house call of the night to make it 26-0 with 10:04 to go in the third quarter.
"I feel like at any time I can get five-plus yards a carry if we move the ball straight down the field," McDonald said. "I'm not the fastest, but I can pull away. I can truck someone if I need to and break tackles. I keep my feet moving."
Assuredly, Beaverton won't ever abandon its bread-and-butter passing attack. Senior quarterback Alex Brown looked like a Noyer clone at times, converting a handful of third downs with accurate, forceful throws downfield. The Jesuit transfer threw a seed to Grant Kirby down the left sideline in the second quarter and linked up with Valley Catholic transfer Ethan Wilborn for a 50-yard touchdown on top of another 31-yard connection in the fourth quarter.
Wilborn added an interception in the fourth quarter and freshman kicker Miguel Hernandez made a 36-yard field goal.
Beaverton moved to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in Metro play. The Beavers host Liberty next week at 7 p.m. Aloha dropped to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in Metro. The Warriors travel to Sunset next Friday for a 7 p.m. kickoff with the Apollos.