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Putnam makes school history with a double overtime victory

by: JAIME VALDEZ - Putnam kicker Bella GeistThe unheralded Rex Putnam Kingsmen pulled off the biggest upset in Class 5A football last Friday, knocking off fourth-ranked Wilsonville 28-26 in double overtime, to the delight of Putnam players, coaches and home fans.

It was the first time in Putnam school history that the Kingsmen had ever beaten Wilsonville in varsity football.

The teams had never played one another before 2010. Wilsonville won 35-13 in 2010, 45-21 in 2011 and 51-14 last fall.

Wilsonville went 6-1 in the NWOC and finished second in the conference to Class 5A state champion Sherwood (13-0, 7-0) in 2012.

Friday’s Kingsmen victory was the first loss of the 2013 season for the Wildcats, who had outscored three earlier opponents this season by an average score of 29-8 — defeating Parkrose (42-6), St. Helens (21-12) and 6A Sprague (23-7) in earlier games.

Parkrose entered play this week ranked No. 1 in the OSAA Class 5A power rankings; Putnam, with losses in its first three games, was ranked 19th; Sprague was ranked No. 1 in 6A.

Entering last Friday’s home game, the Kingsmen (1-3, 1-1) had lost their three previous games by an average score of 48-19 — with losses to fifth-ranked Hermiston (48-7), 12th-ranked Sandy (33-14) and Crescent Valley (63-35).

Last Friday’s game at Putnam ended in a 13-13 tie in regulation, but the Kingsmen wouldn’t even have had a chance to tie without the heroics of Putnam senior kicker Bella Geist.

Trailing 13-10 with two minutes remaining in regulation, the Kingsmen received a punt and went on the march. But it appeared like they would come up short of the end zone before the game clock ran out.

Enter Geist, who sent a 36-yard field goal over the bar as time expired in regulation.

“I didn’t actually see it go over, but I was told it went right down the middle, but was close in terms of distance,” said Geist. “As soon as I kicked it, someone dove at my feet and I fell backwards.”

Both teams scored touchdowns and made their PAT kicks in the first overtime. After Wilsonville scored, Putnam quarterback Josey Swain connected with John Bradley for a 25-yard touchdown on a swing pass; Geist split the uprights on the PAT to make it 20-20, and the second overtime followed.

Swain hooked up with Bradley for a 20-yard touchdown pass play in the second overtime, putting the Kingsmen up 26-20. That play was also a swing pass.

The Kingsmen then put what would prove the winning points on the scoreboard with an unplanned two-point conversion on the PAT. They lined up for a kick, but instead Swain found wide receiver Brandon Culp wide open in the end zone for the two-point conversion, making it 28-20 Putnam.

The Cats answered with a touchdown on their possession of the second overtime. But their attempt to pass for the two-point conversion was deflected away from the receiver by Culp.

“It was supposed to be a kick, but the snap was low,” Geist said of Putnam’s successful two-point PAT conversion. “Josey is my holder, and with the low snap, he didn’t think we would be able to get the kick off. So he shouted ‘Fire,’ which means we’re not going to get the kick off.... Brandon shot off the line. There was no one around him, and he caught the ball.”

Geist earlier in the game had split the uprights on a 34-yard field goal that put the Kingsmen ahead 10-6.

Putnam scored its only touchdown of regulation on a 13-yard run by Richie Mock-Seratt in the first quarter.

Geist, who has been Putnam’s PAT kicker since her sophomore year, says that before last Friday’s game she’d only been asked to kick a field goal once in a game. It was a 30-yarder; it was long enough, but it went wide, she says.

“I’ve made one from 40 yards in practice,” said Geist, who is the goalie for Putnam’s girls soccer team.

Putnam sophomore safety Jesse Countryman came up with a key defensive play late in the third quarter to keep the Kingsmen in the game, intercepting a pass by Wilsonville quarterback Chase Eisenbrandt in the red zone.

Asked if his players may have underestimated the Kingsmen, Wilsonville coach Adam Guenther said: “Absolutely — despite many warnings.... [Putnam is] better than their record. They played a heck of a game and deserved to win.”

Guenther added: “Holy cow. If you paid your five dollars tonight, you got your money’s worth.”

“The team this year is really young, but they have a lot of fight,” said Geist. “We went into the game with a winning attitude, but no one would be believe in us but us. The fans even stayed away from the [Wilsonville] game because Wilsonville was supposed to be really good, and the fans thought they’d slaughter us.

“We know what we can do now and there’s no reason we can’t be top 10 in the state.”

The Kingsmen will get a chance to prove that last Friday’s win was no fluke this Friday, when they entertain Parkrose (3-1, 1-1). The Broncs have wins this season over Franklin (54-6), Jefferson (25-6) and Sandy (43-24).

Wilsonville (3-1, 2-1) on Friday has a nonleague game at Mt. View.

Big plays

sink Milwaukie

Victory continued to elude Milwaukie’s football team Friday night at Liberty, as the Mustangs slipped to 0-4 on the season and 0-2 in the Northwest Oregon Conference with a 29-12 loss to the Falcons.

The Mustangs kept the game close until the third period, when Falcon 5-7, 160-pound sophomore running back Devin Kaneshiro returned the second-half kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown.

A short time later, Liberty 6-4, 160-pound sophomore quarterback Blake Walker hooked up with 6-3, 205-pound wide receiver Byron Greenlee for a 40-yard touchdown pass play, and the Falcons were in charge, leading 29-6.

The Falcons hurt the Mustangs with the big play all night, scoring the game’s first touchdown when 160-pound junior Nick Bonat busted a 54-yard run to the end zone.

Leading 7-6, the Falcons scored on a 73-yard screen pass from Walker to 175-pound senior Matt Langbehn near the midpoint of the second period, giving them a 15-6 lead at the intermission.

Milwaukie scored in the first period on a 7-yard pass from 6-4 senior Tyler Spencer to junior Garrett Zundel; and in the fourth quarter, on a 19-yard pass from freshman Jonathon Snyder to Spencer.

Spencer had a pretty good night passing, completing 9-of-17 aerials for 120 yards; Snyder connected on 7-of-14 passes for 65 yards.

But the Mustangs continued to struggle to get their running game going. Dre Edwards rushed six times for 26 yards to head up a Milwaukie ground attack that netted just 65 yards.

Walker had a great night for the Falcons, completing 14-of-18 passes for 261 yards. Langbehn made four catches for 91 yards.

Bonat rushed four times for 67 yards to lead the Falcon ground game.

With the win, Liberty improved to 3-1 on the season and 2-0 in the NWOC. The Falcons also have wins over St. Helens (34-33) and over Churchill (38-21). Their loss came in their season opener with Hillsboro (24-12).

Milwaukie returns home Friday, hosting Sandy (3-1, 1-1). After opening the season with wins over Hood River (47-21), Wilson (14-6) and Putnam (33-12), the Sandy Pioneers tasted their first defeat last Friday, losing 43-34 at Parkrose.

Milwaukie won 42-23 in last year’s NWOC game at Sandy.

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