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Concrete no problem for undefeated Loggers
Turns out, nobody can stop the Darrington Loggers. At least, not yet. Darrington will enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed from the region thanks to an impressive Oct. 26 victory.
The Loggers blasted through the Concrete Lions behind the powerful running of Joe Dolph, winning 28-21 on a cold Homecoming night in Darrington.
The game seesawed back and forth as both teams had plenty of opportunities to win. But in the end, the Loggers made a final defensive stand to preserve their perfect 9-0 mark.
The first quarter featured no scoring as the teams battled evenly. Concrete did manage a more impressive drive in their first possession, marching down the field to the Darrington 20-yard line before being stopped. Chris Vargas came up with a tackle for loss on first down and Joshua Metzger combined with Justin ODell to force the Concrete quarterback out-of-bounds on a fourth-and-12 attempt.
Darrington took over and moved quickly the other way, bolstered by a 25-yard ODell run. ODell cut outside on a delayed handoff and burst through a seam. He raced out to the 50-yard line before being collared by Concretes secondary. Two plays later Joe Dolph went straight ahead through the line for 18 yards down to the Concrete 30-yard line. Mark Jones capped off the drive with a quick slant pass to Derrick Green, who took the ball into the end-zone on a 30-yard score. After missing the extra point Darrington led 6-0.
Just before halftime Concrete answered with a long pass play down to the Darrington 2-yard line. The pass set up a short touchdown run and the extra point gave Concrete a 7-6 lead going into the break.
Concrete took the opening drive of the second half and went 75 yards for another score. They benefited from an extremely close call on a fourth-and-one play at midfield. The Logger defense thought they had stopped Concrete short but when the officials measured the spot of the ball, the Lions had made a first down by less than an inch. Concrete seized on the momentum and drove down into Logger territory, capping the drive with a short run for a touchdown.
Trailing 14-6, it looked like it wasnt going to be Darringtons night. They couldnt generate any offense on their next drive and Concrete partially blocked Mark Jones punt. But Darringtons defense dug in, fought back and won a quick three-and-out to give the ball back to their offense. This time, Darrington made Concrete pay.
Nine straight running plays, highlighted by a 23-yard sweep by ODell and a 13-yard run from Dolph put the Loggers down on the Concrete 2-yard line. A Jones sneak made the score 14-12 and ODell made a terrific catch in the corner of the end-zone for the two-point conversion.
Then Concrete made a costly mistake. They fumbled the ensuing kickoff and an opportunistic Kolton Palmer pounced on it. Palmer held onto the ball beneath a scrum of players at the Concrete 25-yard line. His play proved to be the break Darrington was looking for as Dolph carried four straight times down to the goal line. A second effort by ODell on a third down dive play put Darrington up 20-14 and this time they cleanly kicked the extra point to lead 21-14.
Despite the big blunder, Concrete wasnt finished. They scored on their next possession on a 10-yard slant pass to tie the game 21-21 with four minutes remaining.
After the kickoff, Darrington found themselves at their own 20-yard line. Two Dolph dives up the middle went for 12 yards. Then, as the Lion defense crashed inside to stop Dolph, a pitch to Mike Parris went outside for the Loggers. Parris turned the corner and broke up field. One last Lion defender tried to corral him by the jersey but Parris broke the tackle on his way up the sideline. It became a footrace and Parris won, scoring on a 65-yard touchdown to put Darrington back in front. The extra point made it 28-21 with 2:37 left in the game.
Concrete was far from dead. With one minute remaining they reached the Darrington 3-yard line thanks to a series of pass plays. Only a game saving sack from Jones and ODell on the right sideline pushed them back. On fourth down and goal from the 20-yard line, they threw an incompletion. It was finally over.
Im in a fog, said Coach Emerson following the game. We had it, then we didnt have it, then we had it again. It was like ping-pong out there in the second half. It seemed like whomever had the ball last was going to win.
It wasnt lost on Emerson the fact that the Loggers did not win a league game last year.
That makes it absolutely more special, said the coach. The seniors have been super. Every game we have different guys stepping up and making big plays.
We played with our hearts, said quarterback Mark Jones. I expect nothing less than the State semis, minimum, for this team.
We knew what had to get done, said lineman Nick Olson. We all stepped it up in the second half.
The combination of running backs Dolph, ODell, and Parris should carry this team a long way.
We can go as far as we want to go, said running back Mike Parris. The lineman do an incredible job for our team.
No one can stop us, said Justin ODell. We can move the ball on anybody. It feels great to do this, but we are capable of doing more.