MANSON – Oroville’s football team has taken its share of lumps this season as most of the junior and sophomore-dominated team gets acclimated to the varsity game.
The Hornets delivered a few lumps themselves Friday, Sept. 28, at Manson, piling up nearly 600 yards of offense on the way to a 60-34 victory over the Trojans to earn Oroville its first Central Washington League win of the season.
Oroville’s offense was almost literally unstoppable. The Hornets scored on their first four possessions of the game and led 26-7 early in the second quarter. Three self-inflicted wounds – turnovers – helped Manson get back in the game at 26-21 at the half before the Hornets scored on their first five possessions of the second half, not punting until the final minutes after the bench had been emptied.
The Hornets were also boosted by the return of one of their more experienced players, running back Eddie Ocampo, who fell just a couple yards short of 100 yards in his 2012 debut.
“It was great to have Eddie back,” said Oroville coach Tam Hutchinson, who tied the school record for career coaching victories (54) with the win. “He makes a big difference for us. When we looked at the tapes of the Brewster and Davenport games, he definitely would have helped us. I’m not saying we would have won those two, but he’d have made a difference and should help the rest of the way.”
Thanks to a pair of big Tanner Smith punt returns and Angel Camacho’s interception of Manson quarterback Kent Ustanik, the Hornets scored three touchdowns on three drives totaling just 86 yards in the firs nine minutes of the game. Ocampo had a 4-yard run and Smith added scoring runs of 7 and 15 yards as the Hornets looked poised to put the game away early.
Luke Kindred added a 47-yard touchdown pass to Smith in the second quarter as well.
The strong-armed Ustanik heated up in the second quarter, throwing a pair of touchdown passes to Paul Toolson to go with a 47-yard Uriel Lopez touchdown run to pull the Trojans to within 26-21.
Two of those scores were set up by Hornet turnovers, and a third gave Manson a chance to take the lead at halftime. Ustanik’s perfect 50-yard pass to Jorge Tejada slipped through the receiver’s fingers at the goal line to help the Hornets dodge that bullet.
“This is the first game we’ve played against a quarterback that could throw deep like that,” Hutchinson said. “We knew it was coming, but we let them get more than we should have.
“It’s also the first time all year we’ve had the lead in a game, and in the first half we really didn’t know how to handle that.”
The second half was a different story. The Hornets didn’t turn the ball over, and while Ustanik was still a threat, the Trojans’ offense couldn’t keep up with Oroville’s ability to score on every second half possession until the final minutes.
Sean DeWitte scored on an 18-yard pass from Kindred to cap a 73-yard drive to open the third quarter, hurdling over a defender at the goal line, and it just continued from there. Smith (54 yards) and Ocampo (33 yards) added touchdown runs in the third quarter, while Dustin Nigg (7 yards) and Jose Barbosa (30 yards) each scored in the fourth.
Ustanik connected with Lopez on a 43-yard scoring strike early in the fourth quarter to pull Manson to within 46-28, but that was as close as the Trojans got. Lopez tacked on a 24-yard scoring run late in the game for the final score of the night and finished with 196 yards on 16 carries to lead all rushers.
The Hornets (2-3, 1-1 CWL) boasted six players with more than 60 rushing yards, led by Dustin Nigg’s 131 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
Smith added 76 yards and three touchdowns on three carries and had one catch for 47 yards and a score; Kindred added 73 yards on seven carries and completed 2-of-4 passes for 65 yards and two touchdowns; Barbosa added 62 yards on six carries in the fourth quarter; and Connolly Quick added 44 yards on five carries.
Oroville plays at Liberty Bell (2-3, 2-0) on Friday, Oct. 5, in a game that is key to both teams’ playoff hopes.