Putnam's Marcellas Kenion did what most quarterbacks do after a big win — he thanked his offensive linemen.
Kenion completed 10 of 16 passes for 238 yards with two touchdowns and tailback Jadden Hall rushed for 60 yards and two other scores, leading the Kingsmen to a 43-14 victory over Milwaukie in the 5A Special District 1-East opener for both teams at Alder Creek Middle School.
Sebastian Callaway, Justin Hegar, Garrett Sholty, and Sam Sholty also found the end zone for the Kingsmen, who scored touchdowns on their first four possessions of the first half and two of their first three possessions of the second half, turning the game into a blowout before the end of the third quarter.
Putnam (1-1, 1-0 SD 1-East) finished with 424 yards total offense, which Kenion said was all made possible by the five big bodies at the point of attack — center Matthew Schweinsberg, guards Elias Robinson and Gabe Sayre, and tackles Noah Meucci and Connor Wright.
"I think the biggest key in that game was our offensive line stepping up," Kenion said. "That's really what made the magic happen tonight. When our offensive line plays great, it shows how versatile we can be whether we're passing or running."
Meucci, the 6-foot-1, 227-pound tackle, and a three-year starter, appreciated his quarterback's kind words, but said what happened from one play to the next on Friday night was almost always an 11-man effort.
"We played as a team and it was quite fun," Meucci said. "It was nice to see all the hard work that we put in every single day over the past week pay off. It just all came together and it felt spectacular.
"I would like to thank all of my teammates, because everybody killed it."
Milwaukie (0-2, 0-1) had its moments on offense, but the Mustangs had some trouble holding onto the ball. They lost two fumbles and threw one interception, which helps explain why Putnam dominated the offensive time of possession stat, running a total of 52 plays in 33 minutes and 3 seconds, while Milwaukie ran 40 plays in 14:57.
"Putnam came out early and socked us in the mouth," Mustangs quarterback Nick Cooper said. "We took a step back and we wanted until halftime before we finally got some energy and woke up."
The Kingsmen took the opening kickoff and went on a nine-play, 70-yard scoring drive that end ended with Callaway, the senior running back, scoring from one yard out to make it 7-0 with 6:27 to play in the first quarter.
The first big turning point in the game came during Milwaukie's first possession with the Mustangs facing a fourth-and-one situation at the Putnam 36 yard line.
Korbyn Amundson, the Mustangs' 5-11, 195-pound running back, picked up the first down when he broke loose around the left end, but then fumbled the ball at the end of a 21-yard run and Putnam's Zach Grill pounced on the loose ball at the Kingsmen's 18.
On the very next play, Kenion connected with Sam Sholty on an 82-yard touchdown pass that pushed Putnam's lead to 13-0 with 3:15 remaining in the first quarter.
"That was a waggle play and I was just running a slant and then a corner route," said Sholty, the senior wideout. "I caught the ball over the cornerback and then stiff-armed another kid and just kept running.
"We needed to jump on them right away. I knew the first was going to tell how the game was going to go, so it was very exciting to score that touchdown — maybe one of the greatest moments of my football career."
Milwaukie had the ball four more times I the first half, but the first two ended with punts, the next one ended with an incomplete pass on fourth-and-five at the Putnam 24, and the fourth drive ended deep in Mustangs' territory as the clock expired.
Putnam added to its lead in the second quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run by Hall and a 5-yard TD run by Hegar, giving the Kingsmen a 26-0 halftime lead.
Cooper threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Amundson on the opening drive of the second half for Milwaukie's first points, but Putnam answered with Garrett Sholty's 12-yard touchdown catch, Hall's 2-yard TD run, and Steve Sanchez's 37-yard field goal that made it 43-7 with 3:38 to play in the fourth quarter.
"It was nice to come out and have that level of execution, especially when that was the focus all week — taking care of ourselves," Putnam coach Tim Jacobs said. "It wasn't about going out and beating this team or that team. It was about, 'Hey, let's take care of ourselves, let's get ourselves better.' And it paid dividends tonight.
"We have a lot of talented senior athletes and they all did a great job taking advantage of their opportunities. The offensive line blocked amazingly well and the defensive play was fantastic. It was an all-around, team effort."
By the numbers
Callaway led Putnam's ground game with 86 yards rushing on eight carries, while Hall had 60 yards on 12 carries, and Chase Coopersmith tacked on 27 yards on seven carries.
Kenion completed 10 passes to four different receivers, throwing three to Sam Sholty for 146 yards, three to Callaway for 44 yards, three to Garrett Sholty for 42 yards, and one to Hall for 6 yards.
For Milwaukie, Amundson closed out the scoring with a 71-yard touchdown run and finished with nine carries for a game-high 154 yards rushing. He also caught two passes for 16 yards.
"That was a game where the momentum swung early and we weren't able to recover," Mustangs coach Colin Schaefer said. "We went into the game with a lot of confidence. It was just hard to sustain that when we weren't making the kind of plays we wanted to make.
"We were ready to try to do some things with personnel today, but when you get behind, the whole playbook isn't always at your disposal. We tried to get Korbyn the ball a bunch of times and he has some really big plays, and obviously a huge one at the end, but that was sort of after the game was decided."
The Mustangs also have some work to do before Friday's non-conference home game against St. Helens (0-2).
"Good teams can bounce back from games like that," Schaefer said. "We have another opportunity next week, but we've got to respond better and take care of the football. That's probably our top priority right now, just protecting the ball and being sound on offense.
"It's one of those things where we've got to let tonight motivate us. We've got to fix some things. We saw some good things, but unless we've got 11 guys on the same page, we're not going to play the game that we want to play."
PUTNAM 13 13 7 10 — 43
MILWAUKIE 0 0 7 7 — 14
P — Sebastian Callaway 1 run (Steve Sanchez kick)
P — Sam Sholty 82 pass from Marcellas Kenion (kick failed)
P — Jadden Hall 2 run (kick failed)
P — Justin Hegar 5 run (Sanchez kick)
M — Korbyn Amundsn 11 pass from Nick Cooper (Zane Garvey kick)
P — Garrett Sholty 12 pass from Kenion (Sanchez kick)
P — Hall 2 run (Sanchez kick)
P — Sanchez 37 FG
M — Amundson 71 run (Garvey kick)
By Jim Beseda
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