While it wasn’t the prettiest game, it was still a win. Last Friday at Crook County (1-1), Cottage Grove (2-0) football prevailed 28-7 despite coughing up four turnovers and not scoring in the second half.
“We probably won’t win very many games moving forward if we have four turnovers in the game,” said head coach Gary Roberts.
The Cottage Grove offense was clicking early and stalwarts of the team Dylan Graves and Erick Giffen put their imprint on the game. Graves went 22-for-28 with 256 yards passing and three touchdowns while Giffen adding 12 receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown. Giffen also added in a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jaden Doolittle for good measure.
The pair were not immune to the turnover bug as Graves threw an interception and Giffen had a fumble.
The Lions were further buoyed by the presence of receiver Matt Zumwalt. Zumwalt got the game started with a 45-yard touchdown on the opening drive for the Lions and ended the half with a 17-yard reception as the clock struck zero.
“Matt Zumwalt did a great job both on offense and defense. I think his confidence is getting better and he made a great adjustment on the last touchdown before the half where it wasn’t, it certainly wasn’t how it was drawn up but he made an adjustment on his route and Dylan did a good job at getting it to him and giving him a chance,” said Roberts.
In the second half, the Lions to put together drives but were unable to finish.
“The biggest thing in the second half, those turnovers bogged us down and really hurt us. Every time we made a big play we turned the ball over. Defense would get a stop, we would recover a fumble and then we would turn it right back over to them. That’s the main thing that we have to do a better job of,” said Roberts.
A bright spot in the second half was freshman running back Fernando Giffen who had 10 carries for 43 yards.
“He did a great job for us and he’s earning, with every week his confidence is getting better and he’s earning more and more playing time both on offense and on defense,” said Roberts. “And as long as he’ll continue to have the right mentality and keep working to get better, he could be a really good player when it’s all said and done.”
While sitting on a 2-0 record, Roberts and his players freely admit they have room to grow and plenty to work on to get to the level of success that they want to achieve. Despite that, the OSAA Coaches’ poll, that came out before last Friday’s game, has Lions ranked in the top spot.
“We’re being ranked based on last year. That’s not fair to these kids. It shows the respect that people have for us but it means nothing. It’s almost, I don’t to say laughable because that’s not right, but you just look at it and kind of roll your eyes,” said Roberts. “We’re not even close to where we need to be, we’re not at that level at this point. Who knows what happens at the end of the year.”
This Friday the Lions take on Stayton (0-2) at home.