TONASKET – That certainly wasn’t part of Tonasket’s script for the week.
After a week of Homecoming celebrations and activities, the Tigers hoped to top things off with a Caribou Trail League football victory over Cascade on Friday, Oct. 5. Big and strong on the line and speedy at the skill positions, the Kodiaks scored six touchdowns in a 14 minute span of the second and third quarters to key a 56-7 victory over the home squad.
“We had a sense when we watched Cascade’s game tape that they were just getting better and better,” said Tonasket coach Jay Hawkins. “We knew they had speed, but seeing it on tape and seeing it live are two different things. We had a lot of plays where we had guys getting into the right positions, but we just couldn’t get there fast enough. ”
Combined with injuries that cut into already inexperienced offensive and defensive lines, the Tigers weren’t in the best position to pull off an upset.
It didn’t start that way, though, as Michael Orozco broke off a 50 yard kickoff return to open the game, and scored on a 35-yard run on the third play from scrimmage to give Tonasket an early lead.
When Collin Aitcheson recovered a Cascade fumble on the Kodiaks’ first play from scrimmage, the Tigers had the ball on Cascade’s 30-yard line and had a chance to go up two touchdowns.
What happened on that drive, though, was a sign of things to come as quarterback Trevor Terris was sacked for a 12-yard loss on second down, eventually forcing a Tonasket punt.
“If we could have established some drives offensively and kept the ball in our hands, we could have kept it closer, at least for awhile,” Hawkins said. “We were pretty banged up. We had three sophomores on the offensive line and went into the game without two starters on defense. And we got more banged up as we went.”
Cascade moved 87 yards on seven plays on its next drive, scoring on a 32-yard pass from Austin Murdock to Michael Allen. The Tigers kept it tied with a goal line stand late in the first quarter, but saw the Kodiaks take the lead with eight minutes left in the second on a 44-yard Fabian Alvarez run.
Alvarez, in particular, tormented the Tigers as he rushed for 88 yards on just four carries, caught three passes for 58 yards and had a number of long punt returns .
“He was something else,” Hawkins said.
Cascade scored twice in the last three minutes of the half, including a 28-yard touchdown pass to Alvarez, and nearly added to its 28-7 lead as Alvarez caught another 25-yard pass at the 2-yard line in the final seconds of the half.
Time expired on the Kodiaks on that drive, but the respite was short-lived as Dennis Merritt broke loose for a 75-yard scoring run on the second play of the third quarter.
Thanks to two fumbles in the quarter, the Tigers managed just five plays as Cascade added on three more touchdowns to end the scoring.
“They executed very well,” Hawkins said. “They have guys that run well in space, and we were scrambling around trying all sorts of things. The quickness of the guys whose hands they put the ball into was impressive.
“After playing them, it will be interesting to see how Cascade does with Cashmere. That’s a real rivalry game, and Cascade is both physical enough and has enough speed to where they could challenge them.”
Orozco led the Tigers with 67 yards rushing on 13 carries as the Kodiaks outgained Tonasket 401-13r on the ground.
Tonasket (3-3, 1-2 CTL) travels to Quincy (3-3, 2-1) on Friday, Oct. 12. Cascade improved to 4-2 (4-0).