What a difference a week makes.
After rolling over Putnam last week, Forest Grove had their hands full in their home-opener versus Scappoose. And while up to the challenge early, it was all Indians late as the visitors defeated the home Vikings 41-14 Friday night, Sept. 13, at Forest Grove High School.
"I thought we played a really good first half," Forest Grove head coach Perry Herbst said. "Then we took some risks towards the end of the first half and they got one on us."
Scappoose (2-0), led by quarterback Jakobi Kessi and running back Josh Rice, kept Forest Grove off-balance with a nice mixture of pass and run for the bulk of the first half, but in the final two quarters went straight at the Vikings and gashed the undersized Viks both inside and out.
"I thought we played really well," Scappoose head coach Sean McNabb said. "We made some mistakes, but it's early and we'll get those things ironed out. But I like the attitude and effort, and that guys were flying around and were excited for one another."
The Indians made it look easy on the game's opening possession, marching 80 yards in just more than three minutes en route to an 8-yard Kessi touchdown that put Scappoose ahead 7-0.
Neither team could gain much traction for the remainder of the first quarter, then as the Indians' first possession of the second quarter stalled-out, Scappoose made their first mistake of the night when they fumbled away a punt snap, then watched as Forest Grove lineman Noah Reasoner scooped up the loose ball and scampered to the Indians' 2-yard line.
From there it took the Vikings two plays to score, the last of which was a Jarod Miller to Caleb Silva 1-yard touchdown pass, and after the extra point was blocked, Forest Grove trailed 7-6.
Scappoose wasted little time regaining the lead, going 55 yards in 1:30, capped by Kessi's second touchdown of the night, a 19-yard touchdown run with 8:32 left before the half. The two teams traded punts, then the Vikings again tied the game, this time on a 38 yard pass from Miller to senior receiver Dylan Straughan. After Forest Grove (1-1) successfully converted a two-point conversion, the game was tied 14-14 and appeared headed to the half deadlocked. But following a somewhat botched squib kick that gave Scappoose the ball at midfield, the Indians used six plays to go 46 yards before Rice scored his first touchdown of the night, a four yard dive to give the visitors the lead, 21-14, at the half.
Despite the lead, Scappoose — and especially Kessi — weren't thrilled with how they'd played in that first half.
"We knew we needed to get the job done and we have confidence in our ability to score, we just weren't showing it in the first half," the Indians quarterback said. "We were more dialed in and focused in the second half."
Yes they were. In fact, they wasted little time extending their lead, going 70 yards in nine plays — six of which were runs — capped by Rice's second score of the night, a 30 yard scamper that after a missed extra point, gave the Indians a 27-14 lead midway through the third quarter.
"We knew they were big and physical, and we were prepared for it and for the most part I was pretty happy with our front," said Herbst. "But as guys started to go down, our lack of depth started to show itself."
It just got worse for the Vikings from there. Scappoose continued to pound the ball with a series of different option looks, and with every drive, seemingly another Forest Grove player would limp off the field or be tended to between plays with either lower leg injuries or cramping.
"We had some guys go down who are really important to us, but we had some guys step up," Herbst said. "I liked the fact that our kids kept battling. I think our depth will come together as the season goes on, but tonight we had to have some second and third guys out there and you saw a bit of the difference."
The Indians made it 34-14 with 4:23 remaining in the third quarter when senior receiver Tyler Holcomb scored on a 29 yard end around. McNabb pointed to Holcomb as an example of one of a number of seldom used players who stepped up for Scappoose on this night.
"A lot of guys contributed tonight," the Scappoose coach said. "A kid like Tyler Holcomb who's never played football in his life, was down there on special teams making tackles and got in the end zone, and that's great to see. These guys really care about each other and that's a big part of what we did tonight."
The visitors iced the game minutes later when Connor Maclachlan ran one in from five yards out, putting Scappoose ahead 41-14. But despite the loss, Vikings tight end and defensive end Cameron Bennett still believes his team will learn from tonight's mistakes, and get better as a result of what they learned in defeat.
"I'm really confident we're going to elevate after this," Bennett said. "This is a learning opportunity. This was a big game against a big team, but we've got some winnable games coming up and we'll be ready to go."
Herbst for the most part agreed with his standout tight end, and added that as the team gets healthier and more experienced, their play on the field will reap the rewards of such.
"I think when we get healed up, we'll be fine," he said.
Meanwhile, the win was the Indians' second of the young season and Kessi is excited for what's to come in 2019.
"I feel extremely good about our team this year," Kessi said. "Obviously we have to keep improving and getting better, and that starts in practice every day, but I really like our chances in league and to make a run at state."
Scappoose hosts Hillsboro at 7 p.m. next Friday, Sept. 20, at Scappoose High School.
The Vikings will be at Wilson for a 7 p.m. kick-off, also Friday, Sept. 20, at Wilson High School.
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