Putnam football outlasts Milwaukie 23-21 in crosstown rivalry
Big runs. Big hits. Big plays. And big penalties, lots and lots of big penalties.
The annual crosstown rivalry football game between Putnam and Milwaukie — held Friday, Sept. 10 at Milwaukie High School — had all of that and more.
In the end, the Kingsmen rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the second half to beat the Mustangs 23-21 and win for the first time in 2021.
"It's my senior year and it felt great," said Putnam senior linebacker Jackson Brown, who stopped the Mustangs' final two possessions in the game's final six minutes with a fumble recovery and an interception. "Our defense put up the stops, our offense kept moving the ball — it was great. We stuck together as a team. It felt great."
"It feels great," said sophomore wide receiver Tyler Creswick, who finished with four catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns. "It's my favorite win so far. We've just got to keep the energy going throughout the year."
With the win, the Kingsmen snapped their one-game losing streak and improved to 1-1 on the season. The Mustangs, meanwhile, lost for the first time and fell to 1-1 on the season.
"It's tough for us because I really thought we had it and then some things happened and it changed," said Milwaukie senior wide receiver Sean Lachapelle, who finished with five catches for 77 yards and one TD. "I was really hoping we'd beat them this time because I haven't beat them my whole high school career and I really thought we were going to get them."
Milwaukie held the upper hand throughout the first half — and into the third quarter. After forcing a three-and-out on Putnam's first series, the Mustangs came back with a 66-yard scoring drive highlighted by junior quarterback Kaden Harris' 25-yard completion to junior Davyn Tuel and capped by senior running back Zach Garvey's 5-yard burst around left end with 3 minutes, 46 seconds to go in the first quarter.
The Kingsmen answered with a solid 79-yard scoring march of their own, with senior running back Austin Heslin running twice for 38 yards and senior wide receiver Jason Crowe tying the game at 7-7 when he hauled in a 23-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Konnor Bickford on the first play of the second quarter.
Undaunted, Milwaukie pushed ahead 14-7 — an edge that held up until halftime — when Harris scrambled for time and hit Lachapelle with a 19-yard scoring strike at the left flag with 7:13 to go in the half.
The Mustangs then extended their lead to 21-7 on the opening series of the third quarter, getting a 31-yard kick return to the 45 by senior Brody Thomson, overcoming two penalties and finishing with a 32-yard burst up the middle by Garvey with 9:21 to go in the period.
The Kingsmen, however, needed just seven seconds to respond. First, Putnam sophomore James Bauman returned the Mustang kickoff 30 yards to the 40, and on first down, Bickford hit Creswick on the right side and he broke away for a 60-yard TD that cut Milwaukie's lead to 21-14.
Things got worse for Milwaukie on its next series, too. Starting deep in their own end and hampered by a pair of penalties, the Mustangs saw Harris fumble the ball out of bounds from his own end zone for a safety that cut Milwaukie's lead to 21-16.
Then, following a free kick and a Milwaukie penalty — one of nine for 122 yards in the third quarter alone — Putnam took over at the Milwaukie 27. Four plays later, Bickford connected with Creswick on the left side for a 32-yard TD that gave the Kingsmen their first lead at 23-21 with 5:33 left in the third period.
After all the fireworks — and all the penalties — of the game's first three quarters, neither team scored again in the final 17:33 of the contest. Not to say that there wasn't excitement — a lot of it — along the way.
Milwaukie drove to the Putnam 15 on its next series before turning the ball over on downs, then advanced to the Kingsmen 5-yard line on their ensuing possession, only to see sophomore running back Larenzo Dukes fumble the ball away to Brown at the goal line with 5:58 left to play.
Then, after a Putnam punt, Milwaukie drove 45 yards to the Kingsmen 30-yard line before Brown picked off a Harris pass aimed at Lachapelle with 2:22 left to play.
"It feels amazing, getting that pick to save the game there. That was special," Brown said. "My coaches were telling me the whole time to watch for (Lachapelle), who's their number one receiver, crossing behind me and I just followed him and chased it down and got the pick."
"We were putting a bunch of good stuff together," Lachapelle said. "We'd put the whole job together, work down the field and then something would happen that was just unfortunate."
For the game, Heslin carried seven times for 54 yards, while Bickford went 6 of 8 passing for 155 yards and three TDs with no interceptions. Putnam was whistled for eight penalties for 100 yards.
For Milwaukie, Garvey rushed 19 times for 104 yards and two TDs, while Harris went 10 of 14 passing for 132 yards, one TD and one interception. The Mustangs were penalized 15 times for 183 yards in the contest.
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