By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– If the last two weeks were any sign, then next Friday’s game against McNary in Keizer will be the ultimate test if the West Salem has truly turned the corner after their tough preseason schedule.
The Titans followed up their 36-14 6A Special District 6 -opening win over South Salem last Friday with a 29-14 win over Mountain View Friday behind Jackson Lowery’s four passing touchdown performance in the rain.
“It’s awesome, I think we’re hitting our stride at the right time and got to give credit to all the guys up front, they’re blocking their asses off,” said Lowery. “We’re clicking on all phases of the game. Special teams, defense, offense and can’t wait to get after them next week.”
Lowery was 9-for-17 for 267 yards with three carries for 23 yards on the ground. Marshall Bray had two touchdowns, Nick Paslay and Nathan Garcia each had one. Each touchdown pass was of at least 16-yards (to Bray on that play) and the longest being 69-yards to Garcia off a backfield wheel route.
Garcia’s had 79 yards on 14 carries for West Salem helped set up for Lowery’s big day in the pocket to go hand-and-hand with how well the offensive line performed on this wet and slick day.
“Again the lineman…they control the game. You win upfront in the game, that’s how it goes. It was awesome to see,” said Lowery.
Just as important to their success Friday in their offense, was their defense. After surrendering a Keenan Harople 21-yard strike with 6:18 left in the first quarter that put West Salem down 7-3, the Titans defense stepped up big with two fourth down stop sacks from Benjamin Nagle and a Jack Bennett/Kaden Reidhead combo sack.
West Salem also got a fumble recovery on defense and another on Special Teams as the Titans held the Harople-led Cougars offense to that one big run on the ground until the fourth. West also challenging Jakoby Moss to 3-for-11 passing for 54 yards.
That visualization through practice worked Friday, and with Erik Barker and Junior Walling next Friday across the way from them on offense, this next week will be no different.
“Just showing up to work every single day at practice and watching flim, it felt like we were already in that situation. We knew what was coming before we even played the game. So seeing it, we were ready,” said Bennett of Friday’s success. “Just building off from it. Playing with your brothers. Every good play, getting hyped up with your friends and it’s just fun just building off every play and getting better.”
Harople exploded for a 69-yard run as the Mountain View running back rushed for 212 yards on 29 carries. The Senior scored his second touchdown of the game in the closing two minutes of the game from five-yards out as the Cougars host Sprague next Friday back in Bend.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald