Defense carries Rangers to win over Molalla
Estacada's football team turned the tide late in the first half, recovering a fumble for a score and blocking a punt, on its way to a 40-13 win over Molalla in the Rangers' home opener last Friday.
Deadlocked at 13-13 in the second quarter, Molalla coughed up the ball while facing third-and-long deep in its own end of the field. Estacada freshman lineman Dominic Nacoste recovered the ball in the end zone to give the Rangers a 20-13 lead.
"(Estacada lineman) Conner McNulty almost had it, but it popped out and I just jumped on it in the end zone," Nacoste said. "I was in a good spot. We have really big hearts so we never get down on ourselves and we just keep going no matter what."
Estacada linebacker Justin Lang then blocked Molalla's punt and the Rangers' offense took over inside the Indians' 7-yard line.
Two plays later, Sam Garrison reached the end zone on a 1-yard run to extend Estacada's lead to 28-13 with 8:51 remaining in the first half.
"At some point you start feeling like things are against you," Molalla coach Sean McElhaney said.
The Indians struggles continued into the second half.
A bad snap on a punt again gave Estacada the ball deep inside Molalla territory and led to a 3-yard touchdown run by QB Isaiah Schaffer.
At linebacker, Schaffer then tipped a Thomas-Klementis pass in the air and into the arms of Nacoste.
One play later, Garrison added a 5-yard touchdown run to complete the scoring.
"We started off pretty slow," Garrison said. "We got a little fire in us and just came back and punched them in the mouth. We came out a little cocky and thought they weren't good enough to do anything to us. They caught us off guard. They haven't beat us in the past four years. It's a big thing for the seniors."
Garrison, a senior, rushed for 101 yards on 18 carries. Schaffer, a junior, had 80 yards on nine attempts with two TDs in the first quarter. He also completed two passes for 53 yards.
This story is slated for our Sept. 19, print edition.
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