IMBLER HANGS ON FOR WIN AGAINST TIGERSCOTS
By Pierre LaBossire
Observer Staff Writer
IMBLER The defending Wapiti League champions Imbler football players looked like they were going to have an easy time of it against Weston-McEwen Friday.
But looks turned out to be deceiving.
Imbler scored five touchdowns in the first half and held a 33-6 lead at the break.
However, Weston-McEwen dominated the second half and the TigerScots came within a couple of plays of pulling the game out.
In the end, a clutch fourth-quarter interception in the end zone by Justin Volle and a defensive stand on a fourth-down play saved the day for the Panthers, who hung on by the edge of their claws to win 33-18.
Afterward, Imbler coach Lee Lowe breathed a sigh of relief.
"We got up and our intensity dropped in the second half," said Lowe. "I've never been crazy about getting big leads in the first half."
Lowe came in to the game concerned about Imbler's extremely young defensive and offensive front lines. Weston-McEwen gained a lot of yards up the gut in that tense second half. "They started running right at us and taking advantage of our inexperience on the line of scrimmage," Lowe said.
Imbler got ahead early thanks to its aerial attack. Quarterback Trevor Crow threw for four touchdowns and 218 yards, with most of the damage coming in the first 24 minutes.
Travis Hoskins caught five passes for 125 yards and two TDs, while Tanner McIntosh caught three passes for 73 yards and two TDs.
With Imbler holding a 20-6 lead with under eight minutes left in the half, it appeared the Panthers might have put the game away when Craig Wyatt recovered a fumble on the TigerScots' 15-yard line.
Crow immediately hit wide-out McIntosh on a quick inside slant. Weston-McEwen's cornerback was playing McIntosh to the inside, so McIntosh did a 180-degree spin back to the outside and literally screwed his defender right into the ground, scampering 15 yards untouched for a TD.
Imbler added another TD in at the end of the half on a 43-yard pass play to Hoskins.
Weston-McEwen quickly gained the momentum in the second half, recovering an Imbler fumble. The TigerScots marched down the field and scored to make it 33-12 with 6:14 left in the third.
Early in the fourth quarter, Weston-McEwen was marching for another apparent score and had the ball deep in Imbler's territory when Volle made a crucial interception in the end zone to end that threat.
With under seven minutes left in the game, the TigerScots' elusive quarterback, Jeremy Parker, broke a couple of tackles and scored his second long TD of the game on a 46-yard run to make it 33-18.
Weston-McEwen got the ball back, and on a fourth-and-seven play near midfield with 2:46 left in the game, Parker again scrambled out of the pocket and appeared ready to make yet another big run.
But, this time around, Imbler didn't let him squirm away. The Panther defenders swarmed around Parker and gang-tackled him, stopping him short of a first down. That ended, for all intents and purposes, the TigerScots' chances of pulling the game out.
Imbler (1-0) plays next week at Umatilla.
Imbler 33, Weston-McEwen 18
Weston-McEwen 6 0 6 6 18
Imbler 14 19 0 0 33
I Travis Hoskins 29 pass from Trevor Crow (PAT failed)
WM Parker 55 run (PAT failed)
I Tanner McIntosh 19 pass from Crow (John Bartell run)
I Justin Volle 8 run (PAT failed)
I McIntosh 19 pass from Crow (McIntosh kick)
I Hoskins 43 pass from Crow (PAT failed)
WM Brito 1 run (PAT failed)
WM Parker 46 run (PAT failed)
RUSHING Weston-McEwen, Parker 13-97, Brito 15-80, Clayton 5-23, Baumann 2-4. Imbler, Volle 14-76, Bartell 6-27, Crow 4-15, Wyatt 2-20, Hoskins 2-13.
PASSING Weston-McEwen, Parker 2-7-2-40. Imbler, Crow 9-17-1-218.
RECEIVING Weston-McEwen, Brito 1-8, Shroeder 1-32. Imbler, McIntosh 3-73, Hoskins 5-125, Volle 1-20.