What started out as a wild shootout, ended in a defensive struggle when an interception by defensive back Cameron Myers snuffed the Orting Cardinals’ late fourth quarter rally as the Franklin Pierce Cardinals won 42-37.
Both teams posted a combined 57 points in the first half. Franklin Pierce quarterback Willie Patterson threw for 390 yards for 431 total yards in the first half for a 36-23 advantage going into the locker room at the break.
With the win, Franklin Pierce (2-3, 2-1 2A SPSL) jumps ahead of Orting (3-2, 1-2) in the 2A South Puget Sound League standings.
Last week, Franklin Pierce picked up its first conference win in a high-scoring shootout, beating White River 62-48.
First-year coach Mickey Ahrens of Franklin Pierce said while his squad relished the big win last week, there was little celebration as the team quickly returned to concentrating on improving despite three non-conference setbacks earlier in the season.
“We’re getting better every week,” Ahrens said before the game.
Franklin Pierce has a young team and is having to learn on the fly. Ahrens said four players have never started a game before, so they may have been a little overwhelmed and just watched the action too much.
“They have to step up and play,” Ahrens said.
Also last week, Orting took its first loss, dropping to top-ranked River Ridge, 35-14.
Orting coach Marty Parkhurst said his running game fell asleep in that game.
“We had a hard time getting on track,” he said of playing the bigger and faster Hawks team.
He added that his team was not bothered by last week.
“They’re not shaken,” he said. “They’re over it and it’s time to go back to work.”
The second half was an entirely different game. Franklin Pierce racked up just under 100 yards — mostly in rushing the ball. Sophomore running back Stoney Shafer lead Franklin Pierce’s rushing attack with 31 yards on 14 carries.
Orting cut Franklin Pierce’s lead to 36-30 on senior running back Joseph Yoro’s 22-yard scamper with a little more than nine minutes remaining in the game.
After a short punt from Franklin Pierce, Erik Jacobson scooped up the ball and ran it back 34 yards for the score, giving Orting a 37-36 lead.
Willie Patterson’s 14-yard touchdown to Emmanuel Thornton gave Franklin Pierce the lead back, 42-37, with just under 3 minutes to play.
Orting, which had 328 total rushing yards, seemed to be rallying back when Gavin Vradenburg threw his third interception of the night.
Orting’s slim hopes disappeared after Franklin Pierce converted on 4th-and-2, effectively ending the game.