Philomath High’s No. 7 scored the game’s first touchdown Friday night at Clemens Field. On the team’s second possession, he did it again.
Cody Patterson, who was killed 10 years ago in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan while serving with the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, wore No. 7 when he last took the field with Philomath High’s football team in the fall of 2006.
A collection of photos from the Cody Patterson pregame ceremony and Philomath High’s football game vs. Cascade on Friday.
As a youngster growing up in Philomath, Cody Patterson loved all things military. Family photos from childhood show him dressed up as a soldier. When he was over at his grandmother’s house, he loved to throw his toy Army parachutists over the edge of the staircase and watch them float downward. “Our grandmother would always…
Prior to Friday night’s kickoff, the football program honored Patterson with a special event that included words written by head coach Alex Firth and read by longtime teacher David Dunham, a moment of silence and an Army National Guard soldier standing alone on the field during the PHS band’s playing of the National Anthem.
Chloe Dustman, Cody’s niece, served as an honorary captain wearing a No. 7 jersey and participated in the pregame coin toss. Several other family members were in attendance.
“Let’s remember something beyond football that’s important,” Firth pointed out before wanting to answer any questions about Philomath’s 49-29 loss to Cascade. “I think it’s important for our kids to understand the sacrifice he made.”
Sophomore Rocco De La Rosa wears No. 7 this season and he was on the receiving end of those first two touchdowns. The fast start by the Warriors failed to hold up, however, with the hard-charging Cougars racking up 450 yards of total offense, including 304 on the ground, to end up with a 20-point victory on Philomath High’s homecoming night.
“We jumped out to a good start and things were rolling — they found themselves offensively and defensively,” Firth said. “We made too many unforced errors and like I told them, when we play better competition, those errors are amplified.”
Cascade did appear to be the best team Philomath has played so far this season. The Cougars now have records of 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the league with a No. 8 OSAA ranking. The team’s lone loss came by 12 points to No. 1 undefeated Henley.
Philomath held Cascade to a three-and-out to open the game and then drove 60 yards in seven plays. Junior Hunter Raab had a key 17-yard reception on third-and-12 and on the same play, the Cougars were flagged for a personal foul. On fourth-and-1 at the 3, junior quarterback Caleb Russell completed a 3-yard TD pass to De La Rosa.
Cascade picked up a first down on its next possession but failed on fourth down at its own 35 to give Philomath the short field. Raab had a 10-yard catch on the series and De La Rosa caught an 11-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead.
But the Cougars fought back and in quick fashion. Sophomore running back Bryce Kuenzi broke free on a 21-yard gain and the ball was moved further down the field with Philomath flagged for a 15-yard penalty. Two plays later, senior Karsten Sande caught a 33-yard pass from senior quarterback Nolan Abrams. Still in the first quarter, Cascade tied the game on an Abrams plunge after Cougars junior Hunter Anundi came away with an interception on defense. Sande’s 22-yard catch on first down to the 1 set up the TD.
After a three-and-out by the Warriors, Cascade struck again with Abrams sprinting 45 yards to paydirt on a QB keeper. The PAT attempt turned into a penalty-riddled affair with the Cougars backing up 25 yards on two flags and ultimately failing to convert. Still, Cascade had taken a 20-14 lead with the obvious capability of scoring fast.
The two teams traded possessions with interceptions with senior Kaden Muir getting a pick for the Warriors. Philomath set up shop at the 45 and reached the end zone on a drive that featured three straight Muir runs, the last resulting in a touchdown from two yards out. Raab’s third straight extra point gave the Warriors a 21-20 lead.
Cascade didn’t take long — 17 seconds to be exact — to regain the lead with Kuenzi scoring on a 22-yard run. Then in the final seconds of the half, Cascade added another TD on an Abrams-to-Sande reception that covered 54 yards.
The scoring explosion slowed down a bit in the second half with Cascade milking the clock behind an effective running game. Kuenzi scored two more TDs on runs of 5 yards in the third quarter and 11 yards in the fourth.
Philomath got back to within 41-29 with 1:34 left in the third quarter when sophomore CD Nuno scored on a 21-yard pass from Russell. The drive covered 72 yards and included a key pass interference penalty on third-and-10. Nuno caught passes of 11 and 29 yards to set up the touchdown. Muir ran in a two-point conversion.
Nuno had a 100-yard receiving game for the fourth time this season. Against Cascade, he finished with 10 catches for 120 yards and one touchdown.
“CD draws a lot of attention back there in coverage but he’s still able to get open and we get him the ball and he’s good after the catch,” Firth said. “He’s a sophomore and we have a few more years with him so he’s got a giant upside.”
Philomath has gone to a pass-first offense this season and Nuno’s presence plays a key role, especially with junior receiver Warwick Bushnell sidelined by injury the past two games. Raab left Friday’s game against Cascade in the third quarter with an injury.
“At one point, we had to have a freshman out there — we were just out of dudes,” Firth said.” So it is what it is but like I tell them, you never know when your number’s going to be called and you need to go out there.”
Raab finished with five catches for 60 yards before exiting the game and De La Rosa had five catches for 39 yards and those two scores. Junior Logan Matthews had four catches but for zero net yards with Cascade tackling him for losses on a few of his receptions on swing passes.
As far as “dudes” — those players that go above and beyond as a man among boys — the Cougars had their fair share on the gridiron. Sande impressed with his athleticism as a receiver and returner, finishing with six catches for 133 yards. Among his kickoff returns was a 61-yard sprint that set up a Cascade touchdown moments after the Warriors had taken the 21-20 lead. He also had an interception.
In addition, Kuenzi rushed for 171 yards on 22 carries, scored three touchdowns and kept moving the chains in the second half as Cascade worked on the clock. Abrams ran for 127 yards and two TDs and passed for 146 yards and two more TDs.
“They’re a good team, a good offensive line — they got a lot of good push from their offensive line,” Firth said. “They finished a couple of times up the seam and we’ve just got to make corrections and go out and play Marist next week.”
Russell completed 24 of 38 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns.
The Warriors (3-3 overall, 2-2 league) have another stiff challenge next week with a trip down to Eugene to face No. 6 Marist Catholic in another league matchup. The Spartans are coming off a 50-0 win over Cottage Grove.
“They’re built a little differently than Cascade,” Firth said. “They’re a little more wide open, more of a true spread. Cascade’s a little bit more about the power stuff.”
The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Kevin Teller Field on the campus of Marist Catholic, 1900 Kingsley Road in Eugene.