The Philomath High School football team’s defense is starting to make a habit out of dominating opponents. The Warriors have kept opponents of the scoreboard in 16 of 20 quarters played during this pandemic-shortened spring season.
The performances add up to four shutouts in five games. Philomath’s latest victim was Stayton in a 14-0 final Saturday at Clemens Field.
“We just work really hard and as you can see in this game and the last couple of weeks, we’ve really been flying to the ball and keeping the intensity up,” junior outside linebacker Isaac Lattin said. “I think that’s what makes us really good.”
Lattin and his teammates hassled Stayton’s quarterback all afternoon. For the game, the Warriors held the Eagles to just 28 total yards.
“Coach (Shane) Stueve, he’s always coming each week with a great game plan,” senior Blane Guzman said. “Our defense is always bringing that energy and we all execute and do our jobs well — the perfect storm.”
Stueve’s name has been coming up a lot this season in postgame interviews. He’s in his first season as defensive coordinator and head coach Tony Matta said he had been talking to him for a while to take the job. The hire allowed Matta to focus on the offense.
“We do little tweaks every week that Coach Stueve puts in and the kids respond to those and do a great job adapting and adjusting as the game goes on,” Matta said.
Besides that low total yardage number, Philomath’s defense held Stayton to 4 rushing yards, three first downs and 1-of-11 on third down plays.
The PHS defense also produced points when senior Issiah Blackburn returned an interception 30 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown that put the game out of reach for the visitors. It was the second pick of the game for the Warriors, the first coming late in the third on a Guzman interception that he returned 37 yards.
Philomath’s offense, meanwhile, moved the ball at times and showed some effectiveness with the running game and play-action pass. The Warriors had 201 yards of total offense with 144 of that coming on the ground.
Philomath’s first touchdown came in the second quarter on a 13-play drive that covered 67 yards and took a lot of time off the clock. Sophomore David Griffith and senior Chase Beardsley each carried the ball four times on the drive and the Warriors converted twice on third down to keep the possession going.
On the first play of the second quarter on second-and-11, quarterback Caleb Jensen connected with Guzman on a play that covered 28 yards.
“It worked perfectly; I mean they bit on the sweep and I was just wide open on the cross route, caught it and got some yards,” Guzman said.
Later on third-and-goal, tight end Lattin caught a short pass for the touchdown.
“It’s one we’ve been practicing a lot,” Lattin said about the TD. “We knew they split their safeties and it turned out to be a pretty good play.”
Beardsley connected on extra points after both Philomath touchdowns.
Griffith rushed for 89 yards on 15 carries for the Warriors. His most impressive of the afternoon occurred in the second quarter on a tough-nosed 13-yard run that featured broken tackles and moved the chains. He also had runs of 12 and 15 yards in the second half.
Matta likes to establish the running game to set up the play-action pass.
“There were some good play-action looks. … Obviously on the third-and-longs when they know you’re throwing it, it’s a lot harder to throw it so to get some first- and second-down runs and then be able to run play action is huge.”
Jensen completed 6 of 10 passes for 57 yards. Lattin and junior Alek Russell each had two catches.
“It’s really mostly little quick stuff, hitches and what we call quicks, then a pop pass to the tight end, designed to be a short-yardage, goal-line kind of play,” Matta said, the latter part of his comment referring to the TD. “They executed really well.”
Philomath (4-1) will close the season with another game at Clemens Field when Sisters visits on Friday night. The Outlaws and Warriors were originally planning to meet at Sisters, but the athletic director there asked if Philomath would be interested in hosting in a situation that Matta believed had something to do with the availability of officials.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and oddly, it will be the first and only Friday night game of the season for Philomath.
Philomath 14, Stayton 0
Saturday at Philomath HS
|PHS—Isaac Lattin 3 pass from Caleb Jensen (Chase Beardsley kick)|
|PHS—Issiah Blackburn 30 interception return (Chase Beardsley kick), 10:03|
|>> Third-Down Efficiency||1-11||3-8|
|>> Fourth-Down Efficiency||2-3||0-2|
|>> Yards Per Pass||1.3||5.7|
|>> Yards Per Attempt||0.2||3.9|
|>> Punt Returns (No-Yds)||2-22||0-0|
|>> Kickoff Returns (No-Yds)||2-37||1-0|
|>> Interception Returns (No-Yds)||1-0||2-67|
|>> Special Teams||0-0||0-0|
|>> Interceptions Thrown||2||1|
Stayton: Paetyn Johnson 3-6, Mason Peronek 2-3, Eli Brown 19-(-5).
Philomath: David Griffith 15-89, Chase Beardsley 13-53, Josh Peters 3-8, Jake Williams 1-7, Kaden Muir 1-3, Caleb Jensen 3-(-8), Team 1-(-8).
Stayton: Eli Brown 3-18-2-24.
Philomath: Caleb Jensen 6-10-1-57.
Stayton: Brock Hubert 3-24.
Philomath: Isaac Lattin 2-18, Alek Russell 2-7, Blane Guzman 1-28, Jake Williams 1-4.
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