Philomath High’s David Griffith couldn’t wait to get back on the football field. Working through a shoulder injury that required surgery, the sophomore showed no rust on a touchdown run in the fourth quarter on Thursday night against Amity.
“It felt great — my first one in high school so far,” Griffith said after Philomath’s 34-6 loss at Clemens Field. “It felt amazing to finally get in there and get the goose egg off the board, too. That would’ve left a bad taste in my mouth to not score; I was determined.”
Griffith’s touchdown came with 3:07 remaining in the game to cut Amity’s lead at the time to 28-6.
“It was straight power to the right,” Griffith said about the play call. “It wouldn’t have happened without the offensive line … they made the hole so I could do the rest. It was nice that they were doing their job; I appreciated it.”
Griffith was just one of the interesting stories that came out of the game, Philomath’s third battle during this shortened season. Both schools came in unbeaten but Amity flexed its muscle with a strong running and accurate passing and receiving.
The visiting Warriors built a 22-0 lead by halftime and ended up with 361 yards of total offense — although 87 of that came on a late run with 36 seconds left.
“There were some real positives there,” PHS coach Tony Matta said. “We lost contain a couple of times defensively but that’s one of the better teams in the state. I look at it and go, ok, we gave up a couple of plays and if we take those away and execute better on offense, it’s a different ballgame. That’s a darn good football team we just played.”
Not only did Amity put an exceptional team on the gridiron, but Philomath had to play at less than 100% strength with several key players hobbled or sidelined. Already thin on the line, sophomore Gil Abdelsayed was out and Matta had to dig deep to find a replacement.
“We started the game with a freshman at left tackle, who is not an offensive lineman, he’s a quarterback,” Matta said, referring to Kaden Muir. “But we’re looking, Gio’s hurt and it’s about who’s going to be the next guy to step up.”
Amity scored twice in the first quarter on a 12-yard run by Wyett Yocum and on a 23-yard pass from Keenan Graham to George Hatch. Both two-point conversion attempts succeeded and Philomath found itself in a 16-0 hole.
Early in the second quarter, Philomath started to click on offense with one of its better drives of the night. The possession opened with junior Caleb Jensen connecting with sophomore Ty May on a 24-yard pass to move the chains. Senior Chase Beardsley picked up eight yards on a run and then Jensen and May hooked up again on an eight-yard pass for another first down.
But unfortunately for Philomath, May went down with a leg injury and was lost for the rest of the game.
The drive sputtered over the next few plays but on fourth-and-five, Jensen picked up a first down with a seven-yard run. Amity’s defense did its job, however, and shut down Philomath’s momentum to take over on downs at the 14-yard line.
Amity later took a 22-0 lead into the half on a 31-yard TD pass from Graham to Logan Grove.
“Ty, who’s probably one of our top defensive players and one of the better tight ends in the state, goes down with an injury,” Matta said. “And then when Caleb hurt his elbow … Kaden had to move to quarterback and we had another true freshman go out there who is a first-year football player.”
In what has to be a rare occurrence, Muir played both left tackle and quarterback in the same game. Jensen’s injury occurred on the third play of the second half when he hit his elbow on a helmet. When Muir made the move into the backfield, another freshman, Jared Gerding, took over his previous spot on the line.
“He’s a kid that’s never played football before and he’s still got a lot to learn but he’s going to give everything he has and that’s what we need,” Matta said.
Junior Carson Gerding was another player with injury issues. A starting receiver, Matta said Gerding broke his finger in pregame warm-ups. He persevered, however, and still played.
“You look at those guys that are playing hard all the way to the end of the game — that’s what’s important, that’s the takeaway,” Matta said. “There are some positives that we can take away from this and there are some things that we can fix and get better at.”
In the third quarter, Amity’s first possession ended with a 21-yard TD pass from Graham to Josh Wart.
The Warriors still had their moments in the contest, including junior Isaac Lattin pestering Amity’s quarterback and sophomore Isaac Workman’s fumble recovery. Blane Guzman, Jake Williams, Issiah Blackburn, Connar Kohn, Beardsley, Griffith and others all had their numbers called for making plays.
Following Philomath’s touchdown, Amity came back and hit paydirt when Austin Flynn broke free on an 87-yard sprint.
Matta was glad to see the hard-hitting Griffith back on the field.
“He’s one of those guys that you just love to watch play because he plays hard all the time,” he said.
Philomath (2-1) now gets a bit of a break before heading to Cottage Grove on March 29 for a Monday afternoon game. The Warriors will face the Lions’ junior varsity team. Then it’s back to Clemens Field for an April 3 matchup against Stayton.
Amity 34, Philomath 6
Thursday, March 18, at Clemens Field, Philomath
|A: Wyett Yocum 12 run (Logan Grove run), 9:06|
A: George Hatch 23 pass from Keenan Graham (Josh Wart pass from Keenan Graham), 2:14
|A: Logan Grove 31 pass from Keenan Graham (pass failed), 2:09|
|A: Josh Wart 21 pass from Keenan Graham (pass failed), 6:34|
|P: David Griffith 13 run (run failed), 3:07|
A: Austin Flynn 87 run (run failed), 0:36
|>> Third-Down Efficiency||3-9||1-10|
|>> Fourth-Down Efficiency||3-4||2-3|
|>> Yards Per Pass||20.4||4.0|
|>> Yards Per Attempt||4.7||1.4|
|>> Punt Returns (No-Yds)||0-0||1-12|
|>> Kickoff Returns (No-Yds)||2-(-3)||6-117|
|>> Interception Returns (No-Yds)||1-0||0-0|
|>> Special Teams||0-0||0-0|
|>> Interceptions Thrown||0||1|
Amity: Austin Flynn 3-87, Wyett Yocum 12-86, Logan Grove 9-26, Keenan Graham 3-19, Wyatt Hatch 7-8, Reagan Clark 3-6, Enrique Martinez 2-0, Kane Black 3-(-34).
Philomath: David Griffith 7-30, Chase Beardsley 11-13, Issiah Blackburn 5-3, Kaden Muir 4-3, Caleb Jensen 5-(-3).
Amity: Keenan Graham 5-7-0-163, Kane Black 0-1-0-0.
Philomath: Caleb Jensen 3-8-0-38, Kaden Muir 1-4-1-10.
Amity: Logan Grove 3-119, George Hatch 1-23, Josh Wart 1-21.
Philomath: Ty May 2-32, Jake Williams 1-10, Alek Russell 1-6.
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