Scappoose defense, Stoddard, stymie Forest Grove
It wasn't always pretty, but Scappoose bounced-back from last week's defeat to Hood River Valley with a 35-6 win over Forest Grove on a windy Saturday afternoon, Sept. 18, at Forest Grove High School.
"We played a lot better than we did last week, so I feel like we're taking strides in the right direction," Scappoose head coach Sean McNabb said. "But we're still making mistakes, and against really tough teams that's going to cost you."
Three of those mistakes were through the air, as Indians quarterback Luke McNabb threw three interceptions to go with three scoring throws. It was those mistakes â€“ coupled with a stingy defense â€“ that kept Forest Grove in the game despite the Vikings struggling mightily to move the ball.
"We were struggling with everything," Forest Grove head coach Dominic Ferraro said. "Not to make excuses, but we lost our starting center last week and his backup was hurt this past week in practice, so it was kind of a mess. But you've got to roll with what you've got and it was tough tonight."
Scappoose opened the scoring on their second drive of the night when McNabb found senior receiver Colin Stoddard on the first of his three touchdown catches in the game, an 11-yard slant.
After a Forest Grove fumble gave the Indians the ball on the Vikings' 10-yard line on the first play of the ensuing possession, McNabb used his legs for Scappoose's second score, running it in from 14 yards out to give the visitors a 14-0 lead.
Forest Grove gave the ball back to the Indians on downs on their next possession, but turned the tide of what appeared to be a burgeoning blowout when Trevor Cannon intercepted McNabb on the first play of the Indians possession, then after going three-and-out, intercepting McNabb again, this one by Austin Case who returned the ball to the Indians' 13-yard line.
From there the Vikes used four consecutive runs to push inside the 5-yard line and after a false start moved the ball back to the seven, where Forest Grove quarterback Kaden Hale found Tyler Rebsom on a quick stop-route to pull the home team to within 14-6.
The Vikings appeared poised to pull even closer after stymying the Scappoose offense on their next possession, but when the Indians' punt inadvertently hit a Forest Grove player near the sidelines and Scappoose recovered, the momentum the Viking defense had corralled was gone â€“ much to Ferraro's chagrin.
"The defense played hard and I thought we did a pretty good job in the first half," the Forest Grove coach said. "But those are the things from an adversity piece that warrant a response, and we're just not there yet. And that's okay, you know. It's a process."
The Indians however did respond, going 63 yards in 12 plays, finishing the drive with a second McNabb to Stoddard 7-yard touchdown strike to put Scappoose ahead 21-6 heading to halftime.
Forest Grove tried backup quarterback Austin Case to start the second-half in an effort to ignite something offensively, but the change was little more than cosmetic, for the Vikings offensive woes started and ended with their inability to run the football.
"It's tough when you can't run the ball," Ferraro said. "This is a process and it's not going to happen overnight, so it's up to us to brush it off and play the next play, and the next game."
The Vikings' six points was a product of just over a hundred yards of total offense. McNabb said they schemed to keep the edges and were particularly interested in keeping Forest Grove quarterback Kaden Hale in the pocket.
"That sophomore quarterback (Hale) is going to be a really, really good player and he's really active when he gets outside the pocket," the Scappoose coach said. "We wanted to be sure to leverage him and not allow him to get outside and make big plays, and I think for the most part we did that."
The Indians made it 28-6 on a Ashtin Kauffman short touchdown run with 4:11 to go in the third quarter and capped the scoring just before the fourth quarter when Stoddard got behind the Viking defensive backs and McNabb found him for a 42-yard score.
Coach McNabb said he was happy with what he thought was a fairly explosive offensive attack, but acknowledged their mistakes and said they're still working to find the balance necessary to truly reach their potential.
"We did some good things, but we also did some things that we'd like to have back," he said. "We run a lot of RPO stuff and we try to be pretty balanced, but we also try to take advantage of what we see from the defense and we work on that every single day. It's coming around."
Stoddard finished with 11 catches for 165 yards and three scores.
McNabb completed 16-of-26 pass attempts for 216 yards with three touchdown passes, one touchdown run, and three interceptions.
Scappoose plays will host Wilsonville at 7 p.m. on Sept. 24.
Forest Grove travels to McKay to play the Scots at 7 p.m. too on Sept. 24.
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