Playing in an unfamiliar venue a little more than an hour down I-5, going up against a Class 2A opponent and competing in front of empty stands, Philomath High School returned to football on Saturday afternoon.
The Warriors walked off Cottage Grove’s field with smiles on their faces following a 37-0 victory over an overmatched Glide squad. Although posting a victory was sweet, the athletes could also celebrate the fact that they were able to actually play a game.
“I think we did pretty good for just starting practice not too long ago,” said senior Chase Beardsley, a Crescent Valley transfer who scored three touchdowns and kicked a field goal in the PHS rout. “We still showed up every day as if we were going to have a game or not.”
Over the past few seasons, turnovers have plagued Philomath’s offense. But against Glide, that would not be the case with the Warriors enjoying a plus-3 turnover margin.
“Turnovers were an issue last year and we didn’t create very many,” third-year PHS coach Tony Matta said. “We got a few today and that’s really nice for us to be creating some turnovers and giving our offense a short field.”
Philomath vaulted out to a 24-0 lead in the first quarter. The Warriors’ first scoring possession started in the red zone after holding Glide deep and forcing a punt. Junior Carson Gerding had a 14-yard punt return and a Wildcat penalty put the ball at the 18.
Senior Issiah Blackburn picked up 11 on second down to get the ball down to the 4 and two plays later, Beardsley blasted into the end zone from the 2.
On Glide’s first play on the ensuing possession, Beardsley scored on a pick-6 from 18 yards out. In a span of 12 seconds of clock time, the Warriors had taken a 14-0 lead.
Midway through the quarter, Glide gambled by running a play on fourth-and-4 from its own 18-yard line. The play ended up being a 10-yard loss and the Wildcats handed Philomath a first-and-goal from the 8.
On the first play of the drive, Blackburn ran it from 8 yards out and the Warriors were off and running with a 21-0 lead.
Beardsley added a 22-yard field goal late in the first to make it 24-0.
Despite the score, Philomath was having issues on offense.
“We didn’t have a good start offensively,” Matta said. “A little bit of that was the noise level with them yelling. We talked to the officials about, ‘hey, they can yell but they can’t just yell to distract us to offset the snap.’ So we got that straightened out.”
And in fact, Glide’s defense did get flagged for yelling.
“We didn’t execute as well as I would’ve liked to but at the end of the day, a win is a win and it feels good … it’ll help us in the future,” PHS junior quarterback Caleb Jensen said.
The Warriors didn’t need a whole lot of offense with what the defense was inflicting on Glide. On the final stat sheet, the Wildcats had negative total yards at minus-8. Philomath was in Glide’s backfield all afternoon with the opponent’s rushing totals ending up as minus-35 yards on 22 carries. Philomath also allowed just 27 passing yards.
“Defense killed it, honestly — picks, turnovers … they gave us (offense) the ball instantly, they did everything we needed,” Jensen said. “They gave us a shutout; you can’t ask for anything more.”
It was Philomath’s first shutout since the 2015 state playoffs when the Warriors beat Junction City, 7-0, in the first round.
In addition to the Beardsley interception for a TD, also coming up with picks were Blackburn, junior Alek Russell and senior Blane Guzman. Beardsley also had a fumble recovery on the first play of the game.
Philomath had several tackles for losses and sacks to disrupt Glide’s attempts at establishing any sort of offensive flow. When the Wildcats did get passes off, Philomath’s defense knocked the ball down.
Philomath’s first touchdown in the second half came through the air. Jensen found Gerding open on a 37-yard touchdown play.
“I wasn’t even looking for him in the beginning,” Jensen said. “I saw Ty (May) was tied up pretty tight and then I saw a guy coming on from the outside, so I rolled out. Carson was just wide open so I lobbed it into him hoping not to overthrow it.”
The touchdown occurred on the second play of the second half — the first play was a 24-yard run by Jensen, who finished as the game’s top rusher with 48 yards on seven carries.
Blackburn had 47 yards on just five carries, a 9.4 average. Beardsley finished with 29 yards and sophomore Joshua Peters had 27. As a team, the Warriors averaged 5.4 yards per carry.
Philomath’s final touchdown came with 8:27 left in the third quarter. Gerding had a 23-yard punt return to get the ball down to the 14. On the first play, Beardsley scored for a 37-0 lead.
“We’ve got some things to work on but overall, I’m really pleased offensively with the direction we’re going,” Matta said. “We wanted to run the football and we did run the football.”
The rest of the game passed by much quicker with a running clock.
Philomath will have a short week with another game coming up Thursday. The Warriors will head up to Dayton with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.
Spectators will not be allowed to attend but the game will be streamed online.
“I know that historically, they’re a very well-run program.” Matta said about Dayton. “I know they’re going to be well-coached and I know it’s going to be a step up as far as the competition goes. We need to have a good week of practice and get better every day.”
Philomath 37, Glide 0
Saturday, March 6 at Cottage Grove
|PHS—Chase Beardsley 3 run (kick blocked), 8:17|
PHS—Chase Beardsley 18 interception return (kick failed), 8:05
PHS—Issiah Blackburn 8 run (Chase Beardsley kick), 5:42
PHS—Chase Beardsley 22 field goal, 1:06
|PHS—Carson Gerding 37 pass from Caleb Jensen (run failed), 11:35|
PHS—Chase Beardsley 14 run (Chase Beardsley kick), 8:27
|>> Third-Down Efficiency||0-6||1-8|
|>> Fourth-Down Efficiency||0-2||0-2|
|>> Yards Per Pass||5.1||1.8|
|>> Yards Per Attempt||5.4||-1.6|
|>> Punt Returns (No-Yds)||2-42||0-0|
|>> Kickoff Returns (No-Yds)||1-13||6-116|
|>> Interception Returns (No-Yds)||4-49||2-26|
|>> Special Teams||2-10||3-31|
|>> Interceptions Thrown||2||4|
Philomath: Caleb Jensen 7-48, Issiah Blackburn 5-47, Chase Beardsley 10-29, Josh Peters 3-27, Blake Niemann 4-5.
Glide: Brenden Jarvinen 1-1, Trevor Short 13-(14), Dylan Damewood 8-(-22).
Philomath: Caleb Jensen 4-9-2-46.
Glide: Trevor Short 5-15-4-27.
Philomath: Blane Guzman 2-7, Carson Gerding 1-37, Josh Peters 1-2.
Glide: Clay Mornarich 4-10, Dylan Damewood 1-17.
Did you enjoy this content? The news site has no paywall but we do rely on voluntary memberships. If you’re already a member, thank you. To join our community as a member or to make a one-time contribution, please CLICK HERE.