DAYTON — Desperately trying to put together an effective offensive drive late in the fourth quarter, Dayton senior quarterback Kaden Fergus never had a chance on a key third-down play with less than 2 minutes remaining.
Philomath senior Issiah Blackburn sprinted through a hole in Dayton’s offensive line and sacked Fergus for an 11-yard loss. On the next play, the Pirates couldn’t find any answers on fourth-and-22 and the visiting Warriors stormed out of town Thursday night with a 7-0 victory.
“I knew it was going to be a free release,” Blackburn said about his late-game sack. “Right before that play, actually, I was asking (Shane) Stueve if I could blitz. … No one touched me.”
The Warriors (2-0) shut out their opponent for the second straight week, a significant program accomplishment that hasn’t happened since 1989 when Philomath blanked Molalla and Yamhill-Carlton.
“I think this defense from the get-go has been athletic and just driven,” Blackburn said. “Stueve came in this year … and he just made it all click for us.”
Head coach Tony Matta added Shane Stueve to the coaching staff as defensive coordinator.
“The defense has been playing great — opportunistic, creating turnovers,” Matta said. “Coach Stueve’s done a great job with those guys and they’re just flying around and that’s what we want.”
Blackburn and senior Chase Beardsley are among the visible flying around from their linebacker spots. Sophomore Ty May and junior Isaac Lattin caused a lot of problems for the Pirates on the ends. But perhaps the most impressive performance could be seen with the interior linemen.
“We don’t have very many guys, six line guys and they’re tired and giving it everything they have,” Matta said. “To have that kind of effort in the fourth quarter with being as tired as they are is pretty amazing.”
The game’s lone touchdown came in the final seconds of the first half when Philomath junior quarterback Caleb Jensen found May down the right sideline on a 43-yard score.
May said he had been telling Matta throughout the first half that he could take Dayton’s corner because of his height advantage. May stands 6-foot-6.
“I saw the opening, we were going to run a post, I think, but the safety over the top would’ve gotten it all day, so I thought if we could run a streak,” May said. “Caleb put the ball in the perfect spot, right on the outside shoulder where I could get it with the little guy on me.”
Both May and Jensen said Philomath’s offensive line deserves credit for handling Dayton’s defense to extend the play.
“Our line, we told them we need a couple more seconds than we had been getting,” Jensen said. “We have six people, so they get tired and it’s just hard and they’re a little bit undersized, but they just killed it.”
Jensen said he saw May out of the corner of his eye on the TD play.
“I was about to roll out and he was just open so I hucked it as far as I could almost and he was just there,” Jensen said. “He made me look good by catching it and making the run. He thought he was Stefon Diggs out there.”
Beardsley kicked the extra point for the 7-0 lead.
Dayton did have a couple of offensive opportunities but could not hit paydirt. The Pirates thought they had a touchdown early in the second half when Fergus found junior Dylan Phipps on a 64-yard play to the end zone. But the play was called back on a holding penalty.
The Warriors had an edge in total yardage, although neither team could reach 200. Dayton really struggled passing by completing just 1 of 14 for three yards with three interceptions. The Pirates also lost the ball twice on fumbles.
Blackburn rushed for 87 yards on 10 carries. Jensen threw for 88 yards and junior Carson Gerding caught four balls for 38 yards. Sophomore Gio Abdelsayed, junior Alek Russell and Beardsley had interceptions.
Philomath (2-0) plays at home Thursday against Dayton. The game had originally been scheduled for Friday but Matta said officials were not available to force the change.
Philomath 7, Dayton 0
Thursday at Dayton
|PHS: Ty May 43 pass from Caleb Jensen (Chase Beardsley kick), 0:04|
|>> Third-Down Efficiency||0-11||3-12|
|>> Fourth-Down Efficiency||0-1||1-4|
|>> Yards Per Pass||6.3||0.2|
|>> Yards Per Attempt||2.7||3.2|
|>> Punt Returns (No-Yds)||0-0||2-2|
|>> Kickoff Returns (No-Yds)||1-19||2-20|
|>> Interception Returns (No-Yds)||3-15||2-12|
|>> Special Teams||2-10||0-00|
|>> Interceptions Thrown||2||3|
Philomath: Issiah Blackburn 10-87, Josh Peters 2-15, Chase Beardsley 12-11, Caleb Jensen 8-(-28). Totals 32-85.
Dayton: Nate Arce 15-68, Dylan Phipps 10-47, Zach Smith 1-4, Kaden Fergus 9-(-6). Totals 35-113.
Philomath: Caleb Jensen 6-14-2-88.
Dayton: Kaden Fergus 1-13-3-3, Boston Hodges 0-1-0-0.
Philomath: Carson Gerding 4-38, Ty May 1-43, Blane Guzman 1-7.
Dayton: Bryan Ruiz 1-3.
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