Hornets stung at Brewster; playoffs on the line

Oroville's Tony Kindred wraps up Brewster quarterback Easton Driessen during the Hornets' 24-7 loss to the Bears on Friday, Oct. 21. Photo by Brent Baker

Oroville’s Tony Kindred wraps up Brewster quarterback Easton Driessen during the Hornets’ 24-7 loss to the Bears on Friday, Oct. 21. Photo by Brent Baker

BREWSTER – Oroville’s football team could have wrapped up a share of the Central Washington League’s North Division title on Friday, Oct. 21, at Brewster.

A 24-7 loss to the Bears means the Hornets are now fighting for their playoff lives, needing a win against Liberty Bell this week to hold onto one of the league’s three playoff spots.

“Brewster is a good team,” said Oroville coach Tam Hutchinson. “They’re bigger than we are, and they had better team speed than we do. They kind of took it to us, especially in the second half.

Oroville is currently locked in a three-way tie with Brewster and Manson for first place, all with 4-1 league records. Liberty Bell is one game off the pace with a 3-2 mark. Brewster takes on Bridgeport (0-5) this week while Manson plays Pateros (1-4).

If all three win, it will force a three-way Kansas City tiebreaker for playoff seeding to be played Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. at Bridgeport. If the Hornets lose to Liberty Bell, the two would finish tied for the third place, with the Mountain Lions claiming the tiebreaker for the final playoff spot.

The final minutes of the second quarter and first few minutes of the third proved too costly for the Hornets to overcome against Brewster.

Trailing 6-0, Oroville thought it had tied it on C.J. Mathews’ 55-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter. The play was called back because of a block in the back penalty, and the Hornets were unable to score before the half.

“We should have been ahead at halftime,” Hutchinson said. “We played a pretty good first half. A call like that is a momentum-breaker, but it’s not an excuse. We didn’t respond well, and Brewster kind of took it to us after that.”

Easton Driessen opened the second half for Brewster with a 50-yard kickoff return, then hit a wide-open Cameron Jacobsen with a 25-yard touchdown pass and passed for a two-point conversion for a 14-0 Brewster lead. Those proved to be Driessen’s only completions of the game.

The Bears then surprised everyone – including, apparently, the officials – with an onside kick that didn’t travel the required 10 yards before being recovered. Brewster was nonetheless awarded possession and needed just seven plays to go 50 yards and score on Josh Squires’ 9-yard run.

The Hornets fumbled away the ensuing kickoff but forestalled further damage. And managed just a field goal after that, the combination of Driessen and Squires effectively played keep-away with a pair of clock-chewing 12-play drives in the final 15 minutes.

Luke Kindred’s 2-yard run with 3:40 left in the third quarter capped a six-play, 47-yard drive and pulled the Hornets to within 21-7. But thanks to Brewster’s ball control offense Oroville managed just six offensive plays after that.

Luis Pio’s 32-yard touchdown run on the Bears’ opening possession held up for a 6-0 Brewster lead at the half.

Mathews provided the bulk of the Hornets’ offense with 113 yards rushing on 21 carries. Oroville had just 127 yards rushing overall and 136 yards of offense.

Squires finished with 129 rushing yards on 23 carries and Driessen had 97 on 18 carries for Brewster (5-3, 4-1).