By Jeremy McDonald
AMITY, Ore.– With a team like Rainier or Amity, give then opportunities and they’ll take advantage of them.
Put the two against each other as they were in the 3A Quarterfinals, even one mistake could prove to be the difference maker.
The Warriors made two in the first half as the Columbians led 26-8 at half in their 50-22 win. A botched opening kickoff and Amity jumping on fourth down, both later resulting in scores in the opening half.
“That’s the big thing, we want to take advantage of the things that they give you. Score when they give you opportunities to that’s one of the things we like to focus on,” said David Keaton, who had three touchdowns Saturday. “We took a look at our last game against them and identified something things we needed to improve and we figured we could come out here and run our offense and get back to Rainier football and score a few touchdowns.”
Keaton caught one for 13-yards with 6:30 until halftime and rushed two in the second half from two-yards and 18-yards.
Rainier knew too, up 42-8, that the Warriors weren’t going down without a fight after those two touchdown strikes by Keaton to start the half.
Injuries hurt the Warriors in recent weeks. Josh Wart, their six-seven Tight End, suffered a season ending injury against Rainier earlier this season. Dylan Nyseth was playing out of position due to a injury he suffered, and to fill needs elsewhere due to the injury bug at other positions.
But the Warriors saw Cody Dyche follow up George Hatch’s 45-yard touchdown with a one-yard strike, his second. Keenan Graham got the onside kick recovery as Russel Brown cut the Columbians lead to 42-22 with 11:24 left in the game.
“It was great, no one thought we would make it this far so I’m just glad we all stepped up and at least made it to quarters. It would have been great to gone to semis, but it’s sad, I’ll never get to wear (the jersey) again,” said Brown. “Our younger guys stepped up. We had Josh (Wart) out, so Sergio (Alba) stepped up and did a great job.
“We just didn’t play physical enough, they came out and smacked us in the mouth…that’s how they got us.”
Dyche had two touchdown rushes, one from five and another from one, on 15 carries and 66 yards. Brown had 15 carries for 52 yards.
Kenney Tripp threw two touchdowns, one to Keaton and a 17-yard strike to Brandon Isaacson in the second quarter to go with rushing strike of one-yard and had a 60-yard scoop and score.
But the Columbians will be without Stone Ware, who had 113 yards on 13 carries, for their semi-final game against Hidden Valley. Ware broke his wrist with 8:45 left in the game on a long run and had to be taken in an ambulance during the game.
Nonetheless, it’ll be next man up for Rainier next Saturday in Grants Pass.
“Our thing has been next man up,” said Keaton. “We got a lot of guys who can play ball, he’s going to be missed for sure. But we’re going to have guys who are going to step up, we’re going to play good ball and keep doing what we do.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald