In spite of the outcome, North Thurston football coach Rocky Patchin knows his team didn’t play its best Thursday night.
The Rams were plagued with penalties, dropped passes and sloppiness. It took their offense two quarters before getting in somewhat of a groove that eventually resulted in a 24-0 non-league win over Black Hills at South Sound Stadium.
For a team that put up 36 points in three quarters in its 36-21 season-opening victory over Steilacoom, the Rams found their running game to be conspicuously absent for most of the first half. It wasn’t until Brandon Belisario’s 49-yard run with less than 5 minutes remaining in the second quarter that North Thurston got untracked. Belisario’s run set up Mo Manning’s 1-yard TD two plays later that gave the Rams a 10-0 halftime lead.
From there, it was all about time of possession. North Thurston (2-0) used the clock to its advantage, and although its second touchdown – a 10-yard run by Belisario – didn’t come until 11:50 to go in the game, the Rams held Black Hills to two possessions in the third quarter .
Belisario finished with 116 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown. Quarterback Ryan Mets threw for 92 yards on 5-of-13 passing accuracy, and four of the completions went to Tru Hicks – all in the second half – for 75 yards.
“We shot ourselves in the foot several times in the first half, but we’re improving each week,” Patchin said.
Despite trailing by 10 at halftime, Black Hills (1-1) was still in the game, thanks to several big plays on defense. Through two quarters, the Wolves limited Belisario and Manning to nine runs of 5 yards of fewer.
But Black Hills totaled a lot of negative yards rushing, mostly on a pair of sacks and three bad snaps that went over quarterback Miles Smiley’s head.
“It could’ve easily been 14-10 at halftime,” Black Hills coach Jack Zilla said, “and the whole nature of the second half changes.”
Federal Way 43, at Emerald Ridge 7: The fourth-ranked Eagles scored two touchdowns in a 58-second span late in the first half to blow open a tight game, and cruise to an SPSL South victory at Sparks Stadium.
After D’Londo Tucker hauled in his second touchdown reception of the second quarter, a 15-yarder with 2:54 to go, the Jaguars fumbled the ensuing kickoff deep in its territory.
Two plays later, Chico McClatcher went off right tackle for an 8-yard scoring scamper, and Federal Way grabbed a 28-0 lead at the 1:52 mark.
After Tucker caught a 41-yard score with 9:43 to go in the first half putting Federal Way up 14-0, Emerald Ridge thought it had cut the lead in half when quarterback Kort Skoda faked out the Eagles’ defense and took off on a 45-yard run – but the play was ruled dead after a side judge blew his whistle.
Two minutes later, Federal Way’s Albert Havili blocked the Jaguars’ 32-yard field goal attempt.
At Auburn Mountainview 60, Mount Tahoma 6: Senior QB Domenic Rockey passed for 199 yards and a career-high five TDs, and the Lions rolled at Memorial Stadium.
The Lions scored on their first five drives of the game – four on Rockey passes (47, 3, 68 and 38 yards), and even Auburn Mountainview’s defense (27-yard interception return by cornerback Brandon Bodine) and special teams (Curtis Scott blocked punt and 3-yard return for a score) chipped in.
At Kentwood 45, Jefferson 6: The Conquerors’ defense forced four turnovers and sacked the Raiders seven times. Kentwood (2-0) took a 17-0 first-quarter lead against Jefferson (0-2).