Wednesday, October 9, 2013
INDEPENDENCE - It was quarterback Ben Finnegan's night Friday as he opened the first quarter with three touchdown passes to lead Central to a 32-21 Oregon West Conference football victory."We had some momentum built up from the end of the Philomath game and felt like we could play with anyone," Finnegan said. "We worked on being more self-motivated and starting games out a lot stronger instead of waiting for a big play."Fortunately, Central got going early - with a big play - as the opening kickoff took a fortuitous bounce back to the Panthers and they recovered it on the opponents 35-yard line."We didn't plan to start with an onside kick, but it sort of ended up like that after Cascade didn't jump on it," Central coach Shane Hedrick said. Finnegan then capitalized on the first play of the game via a 35-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Aaron Hobgood."That was the spark we needed," Finnegan said.That spark led to a full-fledged fire for Finnegan in the first quarter with touchdown passes to Grant Lindley and Colby Jackson of 47 yards and 6 yards, respectively.The big lead brought a more conservative offense in the second and third quarters relying on the Panthers ground game to hold the lead. The defense held Cascade to one touchdown in each of the quarters, making the score 20-14 Panthers after the third quarter.Wes Riddell and Tell Cruickshank combined for 169 yards on 29 rushes behind the outstanding play of the offensive line."Our offensive line played well all night," Central coach Shane Hedrick said. "We had great protection and excellent run blocking."Finnegan found Jackson again for a 15-yard touchdown to open the scoring in the fourth, but the Cougars kept it close with a Josh Schnepp touchdown run making it 26-21. Cascade's hopes were dashed when Finnegan found Jackson for Jackson's third touchdown of the game. The last touchdown gave Finnegan with a career high of five passing touchdowns in a single game and moved his season total to 11. "Ben did a nice job managing the offense Friday night," Hedrick said. "When he understands we just need him to do that and can get settled in he is very effective."It was the first win for the Panthers (1-1 OWC, 4-2 overall) in league play. Central travels to Lincoln City to face Taft Thursday night.DALLAS POUNDS WOODBURN 55-10: The Dragons did what Dallas coach Tracy Jackson expected them to do in their Mid-Willamette matchup against Woodburn Friday night - win big.It was all Dragons from the opening quarter as David Rebischke pounded the ball in for three touchdowns before Woodburn got on the scoreboard with a field goal in the second quarter. From there Dallas continued to wear down the Bulldogs behind the rushing attack of Caleb Naughton and Tim Smothers. Naughton rushed for 153 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns and Smothers added 9 1 yards on six carries and a touchdown.The Dragons rushed for 404 yards on 28 carries and eight touchdowns and didn't have to punt the ball the entire night despite only running 37 plays on offense.The defense held Woodburn to 236 yards of total offense and nine first downs.Dallas (4-2 overall, 2-2 MWC) heads into a big matchup at West Albany on Thursday. The Bulldogs are ranked second in the OSAA Class 5A power rankings and are undefeated (4-0) in Mid-Willamette play.FALLS CITY WINS BY FORFEIT: Falls City started the Casco League (Special District 1) part of its schedule by receiving a forfeit from Alsea on Friday. The Wolverines did not have enough healthy and eligible players available for the scheduled game. The Mountaineers (1-0 league, 2-4 overall) play at Jewell on Friday.