By Jeremy McDonald
BEND, Ore.– It wasn’t exactly how West Salem wanted their game to end, but the result was the same: A win. 46-28 to be exact over Mountain View.
The Titans opened with a 25-0 lead after Simon Thompson connected up with Anthony Gould for a 33-yard strike. That was before Jonas Larson proved why he’s one of the State’s best running backs by breaking the first half shutout with a 15-yard scamper with 9.6 second left in the first half.
25-7 seemed to be a manageable lead or deficit depending on how you look at it.
For the Cougars, they looked at it as a manageable hole to dig themselves out of and did just that.
Mountain View held a Titans offense that scored 19 points in the second quarter to a three-and-out and went 80-yards in one play thanks to a Forest Love catch and run along the home sideline to get within 11 of West Salem with 7:59 left in the third quarter.
That’s when penalties became a big issue for the Titans as their defensive stranglehold from the first half lessened as the Cougars got to within three of West Salem 25-22 with 2:59 left in the third quarter.
“I say it was all the personal fouls we had,” said Micah Pugh, who had eight catches for 214 yards and a touchdown to go with a few big defensive plays Friday. “I had one, I’m embarrassed about it. I mean it was stupid, I mean if we clean that up it’ll be a whole different game.
“Whenever you look up at that, you starting to think ‘ah man this is a one score-game’. But then you go out and play. There’s that one part where I caught three right down the middle. For me, that showed me how this game is going to be, if we keep doing that we’ll be fine.”
Pugh caught two seam passes that eventually set up a West Salem Titan touchdown as they began to settle back down.
Penalties have hurt the Titans in the past few weeks as Head Coach Shawn Stanley mentioned the Beaverton game two weeks ago that helped into the 35-33 defeat on the road, but it’s a good experience as they work through it with two more weeks left in the regular season.
“It’s always great. It’s always been a laboring issue, we just have to get it squared away for playoffs because that’s going to be a difference maker,” said Pugh on learning from the mistakes.
West Salem built another 11-point lead on Mountain View when Gould caught Thompson’s fifth passing touchdown from 33-yards out to push the Titans back out to 39-28 in the fourth quarter as the Cougs marched once more down field.
But, Stanley Green would disrupt that as the senior cornerback recovered a fumble that led to Gould’s third passing reception of the game to help ice the 46-28 win as Arian Jacobo recovered a fumble at the line of scrimmage as West milked out the rest of the clock on the road. Halting the Mountain View rally before the Cougars could do further damage
“We needed that, they were making play after play and we needed that energy. That one little boost to keep going and that was it right there,” said Green. “We just got to stay away from the penalties, play smart. Just stay away from the penalties because we’re doing good, just mental mistakes are costing us. As long as we fix those, we’re good.”
The Titans are at home Friday when they host McNary at 7:15pm.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald