OROVILLE-The field was striped, the bleachers were full, the lights were on and on Friday, Sept. 12, so were the Tonasket Tigers.
At 7 p.m., the Oroville Hornets kicked off to the Tigers, who began their first drive at their own 20 yard line. Twenty seconds later, Keegan McCormick, sophomore running back, was in the end zone with an 80 yard touchdown.
“It’s always nice to start your football season with a touchdown,” Jay Hawkins, Tonasket head coach, said. “It’s kind of an unknown when you play your first game and that gave us a quick spark.”
Senior Michael Hulse kicked in the extra point, making the score 7-0, and the Tigers kicked off to the Hornets. After five plays, the Hornets kicked on a fourth and four back to the Tigers with 9:48 left in the first quarter. The Tigers took over the ball at their own 40 yard line. With 7:19 left in the first quarter, McCormick made a 43 yard touchdown and Hulse kicked in the extra point.
The Hornets took over the ball, but two plays later, a fumble was recovered by the Tigers with 6:37 left in the first quarter. With the Tigers back in possession, two plays later, Hornets quarterback senior Luke Rowton dislocated his shoulder while playing defense.
“When Luke got hurt, some of the guys got rattled a little bit and they made some mistakes,” Tam Hutchinson, Hornets head coach, said. “They got better, though. Preston did fine as our back-up quarterback, our problem was more defensively.”
Hawkins said he thought the Hornets defense played really well.
“[Hornet's Carlos] Herrera did really well on offense and defense,” Hawkins said.
With the wind blowing fiercely, neither team did much passing, but with 10:10 left in the second quarter, Tonasket quarterback junior Wade Detillian passed the ball 20 yards to senior tight end Jeremy Dellinger who ran the ball into the end zone. After another extra point from Hulse, the score was 21-0 and the Tigers kicked back off to the Hornets.
Hornet’s quarterback sophomore Preston Iverson ran a quarterback sneak for a first down. With 6:35 left in the second quarter and on third and 16, Iverson passed to sophomore wide receiver Davis Castillo, who fumbled the pass but recovered it. On fourth and 20, the Hornets kicked the ball back to the Tigers, who took over on their own 35 yard line with 5:42 left in the second quarter.
A 34 yard touchdown from McCormack with 5:34 brought the score to 27-0 after the extra point was fumbled but recovered by Detillian. The Hornets took over on their own 20 yard line with 5:31 left in the first half.
Hornets sophomore running back Jose Velasco got a first down with 5:22 left. Then Hornets freshman Nick Perez got a first down with 4:20 left in the first half. With 2:09 left, the Hornets kicked on fourth down and the Tigers took over on the Oroville 47. With 1:58 left in the first half, McCormack ran in a touchdown from 54 yards out. After Hulse’s extra point, the score was 34-0 going into half-time.
“We were pretty much over match,” Hutchinson said. “They were a bigger team, a bigger school. We were a little disappointed we didn’t hold on better.”
In the third quarter, with 5:06 left, Detillian passed 31 yards to Dellinger, Hulse kicked in the extra point, and the score was 41-0. The fourth quarter was scoreless
“Our JV offense started playing with five or six minutes left in the third quarter and our JV defense took over in the fourth,” Hawkins said. “Everybody played and that’s always nice to get everybody in there. There were a lot of freshman who were very excited having played a varsity football game.”
Oroville has their league opener on Friday against Liberty Bell High at Oroville at 7 p.m. Tonasket has their league home opener against Chelan on Friday at 7 p.m.