Outlaws lose a heartbreaker

 

Last updated 11/7/2023 at 12:55pm

Photo by Olivia Kennedy

Justin deSmet eludes a pursuer in Outlaws football action.

The Outlaw football squad battled through injuries the entire season to finish with a perfect league record, but fell 22-26 in the final seconds in the first round of the state playoffs. The Outlaws squared off against Yamhill-Carlton (YC) at home in Sisters on Friday night, November 3.

Sisters opened the scoring in the first quarter with a field goal from Reid Woodson to take a 3-0 lead. In the second quarter, carries from Hudson Beckwith and Tony Gonzalez and a big catch from Landon Scott took the Outlaws down the field. The drive was capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by Ethan Eby and the Outlaws went up 9-0, with a failed point-after-touchdown (PAT) attempt.

With just under one minute left in the second quarter the Tigers were able to score. Their PAT failed and teams entered the half with Sisters on top 9-6.

As the third quarter ticked down, YC scored again. The extra point was good and the Outlaws found themselves down 9-13.

The fourth quarter got underway, and in under a minute Sisters went the length of the field and scored on an Eby four-yard run. Woodson kicked it through the uprights for the PAT and Sisters regained the lead, 16-13.

Yamhill Carlton answered midway through the period with a touchdown of their own, and the Tigers took the lead at 20-16.

The Outlaws were bruised and battered, and some were even limping, yet they stayed in the game and continued to fight. With just under three minutes left in the fourth, Eby scored on a one-yard run. The PAT failed, but the Outlaws again regained the lead at 22-20.

With just 35 seconds on the clock, the Tigers threw a long pass, caught just inside the end zone to recapture the lead.

Still the Outlaws wouldn't give up. They used their timeouts effectively, and went downfield. Sisters had time for one last play and threw one last pass. The Tiger defense was able to bat it away, and the game ended in a heartbreaking loss for the Outlaws.

Sisters finished the night with 217 yards rushing and 115 yards passing, while YC finished with 156 yards rushing and 149 yards passing.

Eby had 12 carries for 85 yards and three touchdowns, and Gonzalez finished the night with seven carries for 57 yards. DeSmet had 13 carries for 63 yards, and Beckwith and Kolbi Cotner both had two carries for six yards.

Hunter Bronson went 11 for 15 for 115 yards passing. Landon Scott had eight catches for 85 yards, and deSmet one catch for 19 yards.

Roberson had one interception and Kalvin Parker had a fumble recovery.

Coach Gary Thorson told The Nugget the Outlaws had some great performances in the backfield from Eby, Gonzalez, and deSmet in the run game. He also noted that Bronson had one of his best games and did a great job leading the team down the field to have one last shot in the final drive.

Thorson mentioned several other players.

"Landon Scott once again showed how big a weapon he is and I look forward to seeing what he can do next year. Kalvin Parker and Antonio Guzman had great games on the offensive line. Defensively, Kolbi Cotner and deSmet had some big plays in the secondary and Eby played well from his linebacker position. Woodson had some great punts for us in the kicking game, and did well on our kickoff also."

Of the heartbreaking loss, Thorson said, "This was a rough end to a great season, but I could not have been prouder of this team. Just like they have all year long, they fought and battled back and had no quit in them, even in the last play of the game.

"No question that was a game we could have won, but similar to the last few weeks, we made some costly penalties and mistakes and this time it cost us on the scoreboard," added Thorson. "You are bound to have some every game, especially with a team as young as we are, but the timing of them was bad. We put the ball on the ground several times again, which gave them more opportunities to score and YC made some big plays on offense down the stretch that was the difference.

"While all of us were very disappointed in the score and the season coming to an end, we had a great run and a great foundation was laid for the next few years," said Thorson. "We are already looking forward to next year. We lose some very good seniors and some great leadership out of the senior class, and we would not have had the success we had without them. All eight of them contributed to the program this year, and are going to be missed."

 

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