In a hard-fought contest that came down to a few big plays in the second half, the Philomath High football team saw its season come to an end Friday night with a 12-0 loss to Warrenton at CMH Field in Astoria. The defense played well enough to put its team in position for a possible win but the offense couldn’t generate much on the ground or through the air.
“Our game plan going in was to not give the ball back to their offense,” PHS coach Alex Firth said. “Defensively, we did a great job. But we had a field goal opportunity that was blocked right before the end of the half and just mistakes offensively cost us.”
Philomath was only able to generate 119 yards of total offense. The running game struggled with a Warrenton defensive front that plugged holes and wrapped on tackles and the passing game proved to be inconsistent with some missed opportunities.
“Everybody’s going to load the box to stop David (Griffith) because he’s such a great tailback,” Firth said. “But we had plays in the passing game that we should have made — we just dropped the ball and so we really couldn’t fire completely on all cylinders in the passing game. We had some good plays but we just couldn’t hit that big play.”
Philomath had a 15-play drive that started late in the first quarter and carried over into the second but the Warriors came away without any points. Griffith started to get into a groove and found some daylight with runs of 11 and 10 yards to move the chains. He also picked up a first on a key fourth-and-1 near midfield.
In addition, Caleb Jensen connected with Isaac Lattin on two passes during the possession. Jensen also contributed a couple of effective runs to keep the Warrenton defense on its heels. But the drive broke down in the red zone. On a third-and-10 play from the 16, Warrenton came up with one of its two sacks on the evening to send Philomath’s field goal unit onto the field.
Lattin attempted a 40-yard kick, well within his range, but Warrenton blocked it and returned the ball 40 yards to set up a late-half threat of its own.
The Philomath defense held, however, with Warrenton’s final two plays being an incomplete pass in the end zone and another failed attempt down the right sideline.
The game remained scoreless at halftime.
“I’m really proud of the kids — I mean, we played hard,” Firth said. “They’re a really good football team. They score a lot of points, so holding them to 12 points .. 0-0 at half was great. We kind of took the air out of the ball in the first half.”
Philomath’s defense forced a three-and-out on Warrenton’s first possession of the third quarter, which included a Lattin sack. The Warriors took over and also had a three-and-out, although it appeared that Ty May had picked up a first down on an acrobatic one-handed catch near the sideline that was ruled incomplete.
Warrenton’s ensuing possession led to the first points of the game. The team converted on a gutsy fourth-and-1 call at its own 33 and on the next play, quarterback Hordie Bodden completed a 32-yard pass to Ethan Caldwell.
Joshua Earls scored on a shovel pass out of a bunch set from six yards out with 2:16 left in the third. Philomath could not respond and Warrenton followed with another touchdown, this one on a 41-yard pass from Bodden to an open Caldwell with 9:31 remaining in the fourth.
“They snapped it over his head and the kid picked it up and we just lost the receiver in our coverage,” Firth said. “They threw it over our head for a touchdown. … He was scrambling and we had kids trying to come up and run support. We just lost the receiver.”
Trailing 12-0, the Warriors had their best drive of the second half later in the fourth. Jensen and Warwick Bushnell connected on a first down in a fourth-and-7 situation and the Warriors moved the chains again on a Warrenton penalty. But in the end, the opponent was able to make the needed stops.
“It was just kind of a little bit of the same stuff that hurt us throughout the season,” Firth said. “Just untimely mistakes bit us in the backside and you can’t do that against a good football team.”
Warrenton (7-2) finished the game with 235 yards of offense. Seeded fourth, the Warriors will play fifth-seeded La Pine in the quarterfinals.
The loss wraps up Firth’s first season as head coach of the football program with a 6-4 record.
“I told the seniors at the end of the year, ‘regardless of the outcome of this game, I think it was a successful season,’” Firth said. “I mean, at the outset, we wanted to make the playoffs and that was what we did. Now, we thought we would probably make a little bit of a deeper run, but that happens.”
Firth believes the team has the tools to continue that upward trajectory into next season.
“They should be proud — they kind of laid the foundation,” he said. “This is Year 1 in a new system. We had some success. There’s some things we need to improve on, obviously, but I’m happy with that first step we took. So it wasn’t it wasn’t discouraging at all, it’s actually very encouraging moving forward.”
Warrenton 12, Philomath 0
Friday, Nov. 5, at CMH Field, Astoria
Joshua Earls 6 pass from Hordie Bodden (run failed)
Ethan Caldwell 41 pass from Bodden (run failed)
|>> Third-Down Efficiency||1-10||2-7|
|>> Fourth-Down Efficiency||2-3||1-2|
|>> Yards Per Pass||4.8||9.6|
|>> Rushing Attempts||25||23|
|>> Yards Per Attempt||1.5||3.6|
|>> Punt Returns||2-0||2-43|
|>> Kickoff Returns||0-0||0-0|
|>> Interception Returns||0-0||0-0|
|>> Special Teams||0-0||3-40|
|>> Interceptions Thrown||0||0|
David Griffith 13-33, Jacob Williams 2-6, Ty Olson 1-2, Caleb Jensen 9-(-4).
Caleb Jensen 6-17-0-82.
Isaac Lattin 3-58, Warwick Bushnell 1-10, Preston Kramer 1-8, Alek Russell 1-6.