By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– Forty-Five Seconds. Two-thirds of Fedricio Grass to travel and down seven points.
That was the predicament that Quinn Legner and his offense found themselves following yet another great defensive stand that saw a punt pin them deep in their territory with so little time and no timeouts in their disposal.
“I knew we had to punch one in and I knew the guys were going to step up,” said Legner walking out the field. “The only thing I was thinking was, “We got to do it jobs and work our down the field” and we did it.”
Legner connects to Elijah Nolan on a quick slant that turned into a big first down and a unfortunate injury on a Sisters player stopped the clock. Legner then connects on another pass to bring them down to into favorable territory with 32 seconds remaining in the game with the Outlaws calling time.
Coming out of the timeout, the play that will go down as the most clutch moment of the season perhaps when Legner connects to Kevin Kuenzi on the Sisters sideline to start.
Kuenzi cuts inside, seeing a possible lane towards the endzone instead of bouncing out to the sidelines to stop the clock after his reception. Kuenzi then continues to gain ground as he runs to the Cascade sideline, eventually finding that sliver of a hole that he took advantage of and drove into it and getting into the endzone with seconds remaining in the game.
“I don’t know, I kind of looked and seeing coming towards the endzone so I just kind of cut it back and scored,” said Kuenzi of the play.
The defense held true to their ground to force overtime in Cascade’s away game-turned-home-opener Friday night as the crowd cheering them on and Joel Negrete was probably just as loud as they were down on the sidelines.
Speaking of Negrete, the soccer-player-turned-gridiron-kicker had his moment in the sun as the Cougars moved just enough down to put his leg onto the biggest stage of his football career in a 32-yard Field Goal attempt.
He drains it with room for more, perhaps 40 even, to hand Cascade a 17-14 lead with their defense looking to finish it off.
“Oh it was sweet, you never going to get one of those again,” smiled Negrete on the kick. “In my mind, if I don’t make this, everyone’s going to hate me, so I got to make it.”
Negrete continued to be loud when his defense went out to finish the job, they were driven to get that Marshfield loss out of their mouths as they forced a fourth down and a mile for Sisters to continue this game.
As Christopher Luz peels back to the opposite side of the field, with the home crowd chanting, “I believe that we will win”, Marcos Reyes dragged down the senior quarterback to put the cherry on the figurative cake that was their first win of the season.
“I think it’s a huge testament to how hard they have worked over the whole season, overall the summer,” said Head Coach Brandon Bennett. “I mean these guys are just fighters and they have all the heart in the world. All the glory goes to them, that was a great way to finish a game.”
“I think that just shows the team we are. We know we’re not going to be the most athletic, we know we won’t be the biggest,” starts Legner. “But if we play with heart, we can put up points and win games just like that.”
Friday Night Lights. Anything is possible.
And with North Bend coming to town next Friday off their 55-7 win over Philomath Friday, it’ll be another tough test.
As they lined up for the Field Goal for the lead, Negrete threw the game ball off the field so it won’t be mixed up with the kicking ball and well…he too has a cannon. Maybe we’ll see the Negrete as a QB along with Legner?
“No,” smiled Negrete “He’s good at his job, I’m good at my job.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald