In their first league game of the season, the Cottage Grove Lions football team’s struggles continued on the road at Philomath High School last Friday, Sept. 16, against the Warriors. The Lions, who lost their first two games of the season, have been competitive in the first half of both games. But against Philomath, the team struggled to find any kind of momentum early on.
Cottage Grove did force Philomath to punt on their first possession of the game and then forced a turnover on downs on the Warriors’ second possession after Lions senior defensive back, Ethan Petersen, broke up a pass on fourth down. But the Warriors took complete control from there.
Warriors junior quarterback and linebacker Kaden Muir had his fingerprints all over the game. Muir picked off Lions senior quarterback, Brayden Crump for a pick six touchdown. On the Warriors’ next possession, Muir would score again, this time rushing in from 16-yards out, making the score 13-0. Muir also kicked the extra points for the Warriors.
Next, after the Lions fumbled the ball away, the Warriors scooped it up and ran in for a touchdown, making the score 20-0. Facing heavy pressure from the pass defense most of the evening, Crump then threw another interception. Warriors senior running back Ty Olson then punched it into the end zone a few plays later, making the score 27-0 still in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, following a Lions punt, Muier found his first passing touchdown of the game to senior tight end, Ty May in the back of the end zone, making in 34-0. The Lions continued to struggle to find any kind of offensive progress and again had to punt on their next drive. The punt was partially blocked and the Warriors got the ball at the Lions 25-yard line.
The Warriors then brought in sophomore backup quarterback, Caleb Russell to lead the next drive. Philomath senior running back, David Griffith looked like he was going to be cut off by Lions defenders, but cut right and scored a touchdown. With 8:01 left in the second quarter, it was 40-0 Warriors. Offensively, the Lions did not secure a first down till almost mid-way through the second quarter against Philomath.
Going into the second half, the clock would run continually as the Warriors held a 40-point lead. When a team leads by 35 or more in the second half, the clock will run nonstop, per OSAA rules.
In the second half, Crump was hit in the end zone for a safety, making the score 42-0 Warriors. Lions sophomore linebacker Brayden Bauer got a sack and the younger Lions players got the chance to see the field, but the Lions were never able to get on the board.
Philomath improved to 1-2 while the Lions fell to 0-3 and still have not scored a touchdown this season, the only team in the 4A to have not scored.
The Lions will travel to Sweet home this Friday, Sept. 23, to take on the Huskies. Sweet Home is coming off a 13-22 loss to the Cascade Cougars, who are currently 7th in the OSAA rankings. Sweet Home won at Molalla earlier this month and is averaging 27.3 points per game while giving up 20.6 points per game.