Prep football: Clackamas flexes muscles, routs Lincoln 45-0
Over the past 12 seasons, Clackamas coach Joe Bushman remembered a couple football games when his Cavaliers returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown.
But going the distance on the first offensive play of the game?
That might have been a first.
Clackamas quarterback Mitchell Modjeski connected with Thomas Tolonen on an 80-yard pass play for a touchdown on the game's first snap, setting the tone for the Cavaliers 45-0 non-conference blowout win over the Lincoln Cardinals Friday at Clackamas High School.
Modjeski added a 24-yard touchdown pass to Cole Turner and scored one of Clackamas' four rushing touchdowns as the Cavaliers (2-0) overwhelmed the Cardinals (0-2) in their final tune-up before this week's Mt. Hood Conference opener against Reynolds.
The Cavaliers scored points on six of their first seven possessions to take a 38-0 halftime lead. They then put the game away with a goal-line stand to open the third quarter, followed by an 11-play, 98-yard scoring drive.
So, what was most impressive? The 45 points scored by the offense? Or the shutout by the defense?
"I think both, really," Bushman said. "It was just a good, overall team win. The thing about Lincoln is they're going to get better and they're going to be dangerous come the end of the season.
"What I really liked was how well we ran the ball in the third quarter. We wanted to work on that phase of the game and that was encouraging that we could line up and look a little bit like we did last year."
Clackamas, coming off a 49-22 win over Summit in the season opener, came out firing against Lincoln as Modjeski spotted Tolonen running free behind the Cardinals' defensive secondary.
Tolonen hauled in Modjeski's pass near the Lincoln 40-yard line and then outran the defense to the end zone.
"Thomas ran a back-side post, which was the third read in the progression," Modjeski said. "The first read was to Cole (Turner) on the single side, the second was to the tight end over the middle, and third was the post over the top. I saw Thomas running wide open, so I threw him the ball and he did the rest."
One play, 80 yards, 11:45 to play in the first quarter.
"It was a great way to start," Bushman said. "Lincoln came out in a different scheme than we practiced against, so give credit to Mitchell. He went through his progression, Thomas read the coverage right, and our offensive line did a great job, giving Mitchell time to throw.
"We kind of felt it would help if we could get up on Lincoln, especially if they would have had a fast start."
The Cardinals went three and out on each of their first three possessions, running nine plays that netted only 6 yards and pushed the ball as far as their own 36-yard line before having to punt.
By the time Lincoln converted its first first down, Clackamas had a 21-0 lead, and when the Cardinals finally crossed midfield on their first drive of the third quarter, the Cavs' were up 38-0.
"Our guys were actually pretty loose, and I thought their focus was great in warm-ups," said Lincoln coach Wes Warren, whose team was coming off a 40-0 loss to Lake Oswego in Week 1. "We were kind of playing with house money after that game against Lake Oswego, so we really had nothing to lose. And I actually thought we came out with good intensity. We just made too many mistakes early."
Clackamas lost a fumble at the Lincoln 23 with 3:41 to play in the first quarter, but made very few mistakes on offense other than that.
The Cavaliers padded their lead with Turner's 24-yard touchdown catch, James Millspaugh's 2-yard touchdown run, and a Modjeski 1-yard TD plunge that made it 28-0 with 2:18 left in the half.
Clackamas then capitalized on two turnovers – a Justice Pagan fumble recovery that set up Nick Vaughn's 5-yard scoring run, and a Russell Gray interception that set up Jeff Nelson's 28-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.
Vaughn scored the game's final touchdown on a 6-yard run that made it 45-0 and started a running clock for the game's final 13:43.
Millspaugh led the ground game with 11 carries for 79 yards, and Vaughn had 13 carries for 72 yards. Turner was the top receiver with eight catches for 116 yards.
"The offensive line was exceptional and the receivers ran good routes," said Modjeski, who completed 13 of 15 passes for 231 yards. "I thought we executed our plays well in the first half, and then in the second half, being able to change the tempo like that, I thought we did a really good job."
Defensively, the Cavaliers limited Lincoln's offense to 67 yards in the first half and 168 yards for the game, registering their first shutout since last season's 35-0 win over Barlow.
"We've been working against the wing-T since the start of camp, just a little bit every day, just to be ready," Bushman said. "We didn't play very well defensively against Tualatin last year, so that's something we've been working on and it was really nice to see our guys come out and stuff them.
"I know at some point, we're going to play a Sherwood or a Newberg, and now we kind of have our feet wet as far as that goes."
Lincoln's Matt Easton finished with four carries for 46 yards, Ethan Stahl added six carries for 44 yards, and Nick Ostmo had 10 carries for 26 yards. Quarterback Brad Emmens completed 4 of 10 passes for 43 yards with one interception.
"We've got to go back to the basics, back to square one," Warren said. "This team has a lot of talent, a ton of talent. We just don't have a lot of experience. Clackamas is a good team and you can't make mistakes against a well-coached team."
Bushman declared his team ready for Friday's 7 p.m. league opener against Reynolds at Mt. Hood Community College.
"Reynolds is going to present a whole new challenge," Bushman said. "They're running a veer offense, and the veer is always hard to defend, and I think they're pretty athletic, too. And we're going to go play on the grass, which you never know how the kids are going to react. They'll have our full attention this week."