YAKIMA – The LaSalle Lightening, ranked second in the state, handed the Oroville Hornets their first loss last Friday after winning six straight, 48-7.
Oroville’s defense which had allowed only 68 points in the previous six games, gave up 48 consecutive points after leading seven to zero, according to Head Coach Tam Hutchinson.
“Oroville took the opening kick-off and came out swinging, controlling the ball for almost six minutes in the opening quarter,” said Hutchinson. “The drive started at their own 24, where on fourth and four from their 30, Oroville punter Matt Egerton was roughed as he got the punt away.”
This give the Hornets a first down from their own 45, two plays and a penalty later on third and nine from the 46, QB Preston Iverson threw a 32-yard pass to Brandon Funston. Nicky Perez then went 13 yards around right end down to the nine yard line. Two plays later Iverson, with a good second effort, rolls into the end zone. The PAT by Iverson was good. With just over six minutes showing on the clock, Oroville was up 7-0.
LaSalle following the kick off started from its own 37.
“On the first play the over eager Hornet defenders jumped off sides, moving the ball to the 42,” said the Hornet Coach.
A two-yard run by LaSalle’s Nick Woodward was followed by an illegal shift by the Lightening. On second and eight, Lightning QB Mike McGree threw a short pass over the middle to tight end Mike Stiekema, who caught the ball and ran up the right sideline for a 61-yard touchdown. The point-after-touchdown attempt by Mitchell Kennedy was good. With 5.03 left in the first quarter, the score was tied 7-7.
On the following kick-off Oroville fumbled and LaSalle took over on the 24 yard line.
“On the first play the their quarterback looked to hit the tight end on the same drag pattern they had just scored on, this time Oroville linebacker Anthony Egerton was ready. He intercepted and Hornet offense took over on the 18 yard line,” Hutchinson said.
The Oroville offense on third and two jumped early putting them back five and they failed to convert, forcing a punt. LaSalle took over on the 49 and fullback Tony Cacchiotti took the ball straight up middle for 39 yards. A delay of game penalty took them back to the 15 where QB McGree threw a 11-yard pass to Ross Anderton. With 1.09 left in the first quarter, LaSalle’s Woodard scored on a four-yard run. PAT by Kennedy was good and LaSalle went up 14-7 and never looked back.
The Hornets turned the ball over as the second quarter began, giving the LaSalle the ball at the Oroville 28, which they quickly moved to the 19. On second and short, McGree went back to pass.
“This time the Hornet defensive line flushed him from the pocket forcing him to roll right. Hornet outside linebacker Nicky Perez, after falling down, caught McGree and dropped him for a nine-yard loss.
On fourth down, LaSalle’s Mitchell Kennedy kicked a 28-yard field goal to make the score 17-7.
Oroville’s next series stalled on their own 27 and punted. LaSalle’s freshman Calvin Pazerekas fielded the punt on his own 40 and zigzagged his way down the field 32 yards before being stopped at the 28. From there Matt Kuribayashi ran 15 yards to the 13 where McGree’s pass to Dan Brusic was good for the score. The first half ended with LaSalle moving the ball past mid-field. A McGree pass was intercepted by Iverson near the 50. Iverson returned the ball down to the 12 where he fumbled. LaSalle took over on their 12 with 36 seconds. Halftime score 24-7.
Oroville kicked-off to start the second half and LaSalle drove down to the 20 where Blaine Wagner intercepted a Lightning pass. Oroville after a series of downs turned the ball over on downs. LaSalle scored on a six-yard pass to Sam LaFramboise.
The Hornets controlled the ball for the remainder of the third quarter but failed to score and the quarter ended 31-7,” Hutchinson said.
LaSalle scored again early in the fouth quarter on another pass to tight end Mike Stiekema. Midway through the quarter, kicker Mitchell Kennedy kicked another 28-yard field goal. With just 43 seconds left in the game, freshman Pazerekas scored on a 15-yard run. Final score LaSalle 48, Oroville 7.
The Hornets Nicky Perez was held to just 38 yards rushing before leaving the game midway through the second quarter. QB Iverson had 32 yards rushing while completing 10 passes on 25 attempts for 75 yards and three interceptions. Wide receiver Brandon Funston had five receptions for 48 yards and slot-back Anthony Egerton had four receptions for 29 yards. Funston was two for two passing for 12 yards including an eight-yard pass to Blaine Wagner.
Defensively linebackers Egerton and Wagner led all tacklers with five primaries and five assist, plus each had an interception. Perez, before leaving the game, also had five primaries, including a nine yard sack. Inside backer Eric Ruiz had four primaries, two assist, two quarterback hurries and created a fumble. Defensive tackle Ryan Morrison had two primaries and four assist, while Tyler Clark was credited with a primary, two hurries and a tackle for loss. Defensive ends Caleb Whiteaker and Tyler Herrera each had two primaries and four assist.
“The Hornets, despite being beaten up by the number two State ranked LaSalle Lightning feel they achieved a moral victory forcing them to play their starters up until there was just over four minutes in the game,” said Oroville’s coach. LaSalle’s starters have only had to play in the first half against other opponents.”
Kittitas will be Oroville’s next game for Homecoming week as the Hornets try to get back on track for their playoff bid.