The Imbler defense shut down Perrydale during a 59-14 win in the Class 1A football playoffs Saturday. (PAUL HARDER/The Observer)
IMBLER — Momentum is a funny thing in sports. Sometimes it can go back and forth, and sometimes a team just can’t get something to go its way. That was the case during the opening round of the Class 1A football playoffs Saturday for Perrydale.
On the road against Imbler, the Pirates were bombarded during a 59-14 win from start to finish.
“It’s always tough to travel for a game,” Perrydale head coach Dan Dugan said. “It takes a little out of the legs. Then you factor in that you’re playing a pretty good team, it’s tough to win.”
It doesn’t help when you never really have a chance to grab the momentum, either.
Imbler’s Ben Kanoho opened the game with an onside kick. The senior put the nose of the ball into the ground perfectly. The ball took a high arc right over the Perrydale return team, and went into the hands of the Panthers.
“We work on special teams a lot,” Imbler head coach Lee Lowe said. “With an onside kick you just don’t know what’s going to happen. Ben executed it, and we were able to jump on it.”
It didn’t take long for the Panthers to get on the board.
Joe Griffin took a handoff from four yards out across the goal line for his 31st rushing touchdown of the season.
After a three-and-out by Perrydale, Imbler quarterback Kyle Johnson called his own number on an option run, scampering 63 yards to the end zone.
“Our offensive line did a great job getting us the push we needed,” Lowe said. “We knew that would be a key coming into the game. We had to do what we could to get the running game going.”
Momentum was clearly in Imbler’s favor, but the Pirates weren’t done.
“We knew we needed to do something,” Perrydale senior Cody Halverson said. “(Imbler) is a tough team and we couldn’t let them get away from us.”
The Pirates had their most successful drive of the day, capped by a Halverson touchdown reception, making the score 14-6.
But, before Perrydale could blink Clint Schaffer took a counter-run 55 yards two plays later into the end zone.
“Clint is one of those kids who’s come out everyday and worked hard,” Lowe said. “He’s listened to the coaches, and tried to get better each day.”
That would also mark the end on the Pirates offensive success for nearly three and a half quarters.
“They only had two players in coverage when Cody caught the touchdown pass,” Dugan said. “But from then on, they dropped three players back. We couldn’t get the running game going, and then we couldn’t pass. It’s tough to get anything going when that’s the case.”
Perrydale run 33 plays during the game and accumulated 64 yards of total offense. The Pirates running game never got going. Perrydale finished with minus seven yards on 24 carries.
The Panthers had no trouble moving the ball, scoring all of their points in the first half.
Johnson finished with 142 yards on six carries with a pair of touchdowns.
Griffin touched the ball just 10 times in the game, and racked up 147 yards of total offense. The junior had 10 carries for 81 yards. He caught two passes for 58 yards, most of those yards coming on a 56-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.
Griffin also finished the day with a pair of interceptions.
Porter had two carries for 78 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
For the Pirates it marks the end of the season.
“I’m going to miss the group of guys,”Halverson said. “We wanted to go out having fun, and we were at least able to do that.”
Troy Trembley completed 9-of-16 passing for 70 yards.
Halverson only had 11 yards on the ground, but finished with a touchdown run. He also caught four passes for 13 yards.
Imbler will host Triad in the quarterfinal next week. The Timberwolves defeated Powder Valley 38-34 Saturday in Klamath Falls. A date and time were not available at press time.