BEAVERTON – Sometimes you just shouldn’t “poke the bear.” It can be a tough lesson to learn, but a valuable one. As I watched the Shepherd football team stomping around at midfield during Friday night’s pregame buildup I couldn’t help but wonder what they were trying to accomplish. Whatever it was, I don’t think it worked.
Beaverton forced a three and out on the Blue Jays first possession then scored on a 52-yard run by quarterback Trent Reed on their second play from scrimmage to take a 6-0 and possibly giving Shepherd pause to reevaluate their motivational techniques. The extra point try by Reed was good and the Beavers were up 7-0 before the game was three minutes old.
Shepherd came out throwing on the second series, but after two incompletions and a short gain on the third down they were forced to punt again giving the Beavers good field position at their own 40-yard line. When Reed scored his second touchdown on as many plays, a 60-yard run, the Blue Jays had to know that they were in for a long night. Another successful extra point try gave Beaverton a 14-0 lead after running only three offensive plays.
The night continued to go downhill for Shepherd on the next series when Cam Mishler intercepted a pass on first down giving Beaverton the ball on the Shepherd 35 yard line. Five plays later Reed found Noah Coffey for a five-yard touchdown. With another successful kick by Reed had the Beavers were up 21-0.
Shepherd picked up its first two first downs of the game on the ensuing drive, which eventually sputtered at the Beaverton 48, yard line forcing them to give the ball back to the Beavers. After the punt Coffey picked up 15 yards on first down and three yards on the next play. After an incomplete pass on second down Reed went back to what he does best, running with the ball. This time he went 65 yards for the touchdown and after the extra point Beaverton had a 28-0 lead. That’s how the first quarter ended.
The Beavers didn’t let up after the break. They went on to score three more touchdowns in the second quarter. The first came by way of a pass from Reed to Mishler for five yards. Coffey scored again this time on a 23 yard run. After Reed hit Brayde Keeley for a short touchdown the Beavers had all of the points that they would need. Leading 48-0 going into halftime Beaverton had taken most of the fight out of the Blue Jays. “I was satisfied with how we came out focus wise, our boys were ready to play from the get go,” said Coach Aaron Seiser. “It’s a good sign we always want to make sure we don’t have any false sense of security, we want to be physical and aggressive and I thought we did that.”
The big halftime lead gave Beaverton a chance to get a lot of guys into the game. “It was nice to have a game this,” continued Seiser. “We were able to get a lot of guys some game time experience, especially some younger ones.” The new fifth quarter rule is especially helpful for smaller schools. Teams are able to maintain their junior varsity programs and still bring players up to the varsity team for added depth. Players are now allowed to play in five quarters in a week so younger players can develop at the junior varsity level and still see some action on the varsity team each week. “We don’t have a lot of backup positions because we are a small school and don’t have big numbers so we have been trying to take advantage of the fifth quarter. It was good to get some of those guys on the field, fortunately we have had some guys that are gaining experience.”
Reed led the team with 214 yards rushing and three touchdowns on nine attempts. He completed three of his four passes for 16 yards and three touchdowns. Coffey had 141 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Keeley, Coffey and Mishler each had one reception and a touchdown. Logan Love, had five tackles; Jake Fischer, Mitchell Hall and Keeley each had four. Love, Fischer, Hall and Hunter Schaefer each had a sack.
“I have been pleasantly surprised with how the regular season has gone,” added Seiser. “You need good players and they have to accept coaching and they have to play hard and I think it worked out for us this year.” The Beavers finished the season with a 5-1 record and are preparing to host a playoff game this Friday evening. “I’m proud of what we put out there so far,” he said. Pine River will be the opponent in the first round this Friday at 7 p.m