By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– This game was what you would want entering league play next Friday:
A straight up dogfight to the end.
And as both North Marion and Cascade traded blows entering the second half with the Cougars leading 18-15 in their 32-29 victory Friday night, a game like this one helps as each squad enters their rivalry game in Week 4.
“Having these hard mental games, straight dogfights, are just going to make us stronger for league,” said the Huskies David Page. “Honestly with how they were running the ball, I feel like this was going to be the biggest dogfight of the year because every play was a straight battle.”
It was the air raid, no huddle offense of North Marion going up against the tradition of smash mouth football of the Scio’s in the world in the Double Wing-T of Cascade. For the Cougars, the offense in front of them will be eerie similar to the one they’ll face in Stayton in Stayton next Friday.
“We’re going to work on outside contain on the quarterback because (Ben Rash) is fast. So we’re going to work on that this week and running the whole offense pretty much,” said Cascade’s Blake Lewis.
If Huey Lewis had the news, it would have been about Blake Lewis. Lewis, built like a tank and only a sophomore, had wheeled off a five-yard run right before halftime behind a line that doesn’t have a lineman weighing more than 180 pounds before taking a 22-yard dash to push the Cougars lead to 24-15.
The 22-yard run was only outdone by Joe Baxter’s 51-yard run in the first half.
But for what it’s worth, no lead was comfortable in this game as North Marion took over following the score. Duel threat quarterback Sergio Jimenez helped guide the Huskie offense down the field, overcoming three penalites in the drive, to see Jimenez connect to Tanner Saucedo for 15-yards to pull to within three of Cascade.
“I felt like if we kept on pushing towards the end, I felt like we could have came out on top,” said Saucedo. “But we all have to be together to have that happen. We’re going to learn from our mistakes for sure, we’re going to get it together as a team because we’ve been in two dogifghts already.
“The next one that comes around, we’re going to know how to react to it and we’re going to do good in it.”
Saucedo had four second half catches for 47 yards as him and his squad prepares for Woodburn to close out September.
The Cougar defense clamped down on North Marion following the score, forcing stops as their offense converted a big third and 10 to start the fourth quarter to set up Lewis’ third touchdown of the game from two-yards out with Cascade leading 32-21 early in the fourth quarter.
But just as the Huskies offense halted, the North Marion defense stepped up to give their offense those opportunities to try to make it close. With time winding down into the late September night, Jimenez dumped it off to Brady Hansen who took it 70-yards to make it interesting with 26 seconds left in the game.
Two point conversion was good, but the Cougars hands team made sure that the win remained entering league play.
“They really opened our eyes a lot,” said Cascade’s Elijah Nolan. “They have some athlete’s that we struggled against, but we’ll watch the film and we’ll see what we need to work on and we’ll come ready for next week.”