GRAND COULEE – The Tonasket High School football team dominated the Lake Roosevelt Raiders 44-16 in their season opener on Friday, Sept. 3.
“It was a nice opener for us and the kids executed pretty well,” Head Coach Jay Hawkins said. “It gave the kids an opportunity to play, us a chance to get some game tape and a chance to see what we need to get better at.”
Using a new offensive style that allows for more deception in the back field, the Tigers scored early on in the game with a one yard run from senior running back Keegan McCormick with 7:05 left in the first quarter. McCormick scored again with six seconds left in the first quarter on a 55-yard run and again with 2:28 left in the first half on a 24-yard run. Two extra point conversions from sophomore place kicker Jeff Stedtfeld were no good while the third was blocked by the raiders.
“I really felt we gave up too many first downs in the first half and I felt we really played defensively in the second half,” Hawkins said. “We had the Raiders pinned down within the 20 several times and they were playing with their backs against the wall.”
Lake Roosevelt Head Coach James Caddy said he felt the game went very well, despite the loss.
“We were short some bodies and switching to a different offense,” he said. “We definitely saw some things we need to work on. I thought Tonasket did really well. I really liked their offense and defensively they were very aggressive.”
In the third quarter, with 5:17 left, junior quarterback Dylan Fewkes completed a 28-yard pass to McCormick for a touchdown but Stedtfeld’s kick was no good. With 2:50 left in the third quarter, senior running back Dustin Silverthorn scored on a 41-yard run and Stedtfeld’s kick was good.
The Raiders first score of the night came on the following kick off when Lake Roosevelt senior running back Tyler Barnhart returned for an 86-yard touchdown. He then ran in a two-point conversion, putting eight points on the board for the Raiders.
The Tigers owned the rest of the third quarter as they worked the ball back down the field and then scored six seconds into the fourth quarter with a seven-yard run from junior running back Mateo Benitez. Stedtfeld then kicked in another extra point for the Tigers.
Tonasket scored one more time, with 7:10 left in the game on a 21-yard run from freshman wide receiver Michael Orozco but the two-point conversion pass failed. The final score of the night came from Raider junior running back Cody LaPlante on a 13-yard run with 2:10 left in the game. LaPlante then passed to senior wide back Dakota Holt for the two point conversion, bringing about the final score of 44-16.
Throughout the game, the Tigers switched between quarterbacks, using Fewkes and junior John Stedtfeld. John Stedtfeld did not attempt any passes, but Fewkes completed two of four for 52 yards whereas the Raider quarterback Barnhart completed zero of five attempts.
“I thought switching quarterbacks went well,” John Stedtfeld said. “It made us more versatile.”
Hawkins said John Stedtfeld and Fewkes complimented each other’s styles well throughout the game.
“I thought they both played great, especially with Dylan starting his first game and John never playing quarterback before,” he said.
Top rushers for the Tigers were McCormick, who gained 160 yards on nine carries, John Stedtfeld, who gained 95 yards on eight carries, Orozco, who gained 60 yards on two carries and Silverthorn, who gained 59 yards on five carries. Top rushers for the Raiders were LaPlante, who gained 99 yards on 16 carries and Barnhart, who gained 64 yards on 12 carries.
“The game went very well,” Silverthorn said. “The offense was really, really clicking and the defense was lighting it up. In the first half we were a bit rusty, but in the second half, we got it together.”
The Tigers’ next game, another non-league game, is in Kettle Falls on Friday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m.
“I think as our non-league schedule progresses, our opponents are going to be stronger,” Hawkins said. “I think we’re up for any challenges that come our way. Kettle Falls has size and speed but I think we’ll be able to put a nice game together this week.”