By Jeremy McDonald
SHERIDAN, Ore.– No fear. All courage, the show of heart and the will not to lose.
Gervais removed all doubt of the sour taste that was 2015 was in the past.
Down 19-6 at halftime, the Cougars, behind replacement Quarterback River Moss, roared to life in the second half to help support their defensive stand.
They got a defensive stand to start the half as Moss took the field, replacing Nate Corpuuz who left the game with an injury at the half, and drove Gervais down the field that resulted in a Moss to Kona Black touchdown.
Add a two-point conversion, it’s 19-14 in favor of the Spartans.
Sheridan would answer only to be met by the no-huddle, three-headed monster running game of the Cougs:
Dyontae Navarrete, Black and Peter McKinley all contribute to the ground game.
That was, before the athleticism and arm of Moss added a new faucet, a new wrinkle to the offense of Gervais.
“It was pretty important,” said Moss. “I kept it going, stay positive through everything and we tried to keep everybody going.”
Even Head Coach Josh Crawford was surprised with Moss’ performance.
“He changed the dynamics of the game when he came in because he can run the ball,” said Crawford. “He’s more physical, he’s not scared of getting hit. His arm is insane, it gets off there from his back foot farther than mine does when I’m standing with (a) good foot.”
The Cougars continued to battle, they answered back. The two-point conversion didn’t convert, 25-20 the Spartans.
“We never gave up, we always kept fighting,” said Navarrete on the offense.”We take it all the way, even in fourth and long when we have to kick it.”
Both team’s defense stayed stout, keeping the other off the board entering the fourth quarter. Both wanted this win.
Marching down the field, looking for their first lead of the season and of the game, Gervais was taking advantage of the fatigue of Sheridan on the gridiron from their No-Huddle offense.
That was, until a fumble allowed the Spartans to convert it into points a few plays later.
Down 11 with two minutes to go however, Gervais did not quit. They didn’t.
Back on defense, the Cougars forced a fourth down as McKinley made a crucial stop to give his offense the ball.
Soon enough, Gervais found the seam in the Sheridan defense with a Moss to Noel Vasquez touchdown reception, and with a made two-point conversion with 29.4 seconds left, the Cougars were down 31-28.
The attempted an onside kick to try to at least tie the game up, but it was not ment to be as the Spartans recovered the squib/onside kick attempt and kneeled to end the game.
Though the loss, Crawford is proud of his team.
“They fought the entire game from the beginning until the end. This is an entirely different team, last year we quit, this year we fought. We scored with 14 seconds on the clock and gave ourselves a chance to win a game.
“If we punch that first one in,” Crawford making a reference to the opening drive of the game. “It would’ve been a game changer right there. I love the fight.”
“All I can say is that we tried our hardest and it was a hard fight, they’re a good team,” added Navarrete. “There was just big mistakes.”
As they prepare for they’re next game, another road trip this time to Portland Christian, Crawford knows that his team needs to work on their assignments.
Crawford pointed to four plays that resulted around 60 or more yards, and had the defense took those away, the game would’ve been different.
“We missed the big plays that we gave up because of missed assignments,” Crawford said. “We didn’t go into the hole we were suppose to, or a gap we were suppose to and that was where they ran it. The play call was to put somebody there and it didn’t get executed so we have to execute better.”
UP NEXT-@Portland Christian/Columbia Christian 7p
Score By Quarter 1 2 3 4 – T
Cougars 0 6 14 8 – 28
Spartans 13 6 6 6 – 31
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PHOTOS BY JEREMY MCDONALD