KEYSTONE HEIGHTS The Umatilla Bulldogs made the 80 mile trek through to Keystone Heights, just to have the host Indians welcome them with a second shutout victory in a row with a 35-0 drubbing of the …
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS The Umatilla Bulldogs made the 80 mile trek through to Keystone Heights, just to have the host Indians welcome them with a second shutout victory in a row with a 35-0 drubbing of the visitors Friday night.
The Indians' defense picked off five passes, showed some air game, and then backed up with a tank-like ground assault.
“It’s the game experience you just can’t make up,” said Keystone Heights head football coach Chuck Dickinson, now 2-1. “Playing games is the best conditioning these kids can get. That was Umatilla’s first game. That was our advantage. I tell my kids, every drive, we don’t need to score, but we have to get at least three or four first downs. We do that and tire the other teams out, that is when we have the advantage.
Dickinson’s Indians stayed with his script as they took the opening kickoff and jammed the ball down the Bulldogs throat. Just as the momentum train was building speed, Umatilla said not so fast, blitzing the weak side defensive end, and punching the ball out to cause the first turnover. The Bulldogs used a fake punt to keep their drive alive, just to have Keystone Heights defensive back Ryan Jones pick off the Bulldogs with 4:59 left in the first.
From the 40, Indians' quarterback Gage Stevens went to the air, finding running back Colton Tibbitts for a 12-yard gain.
“Coach opened the playbook a little deeper for me,” said Stevens. “I was so glad for the opportunity to show we can go to the air and get that done.”
The Bulldogs continued pushing until Stevens was sacked for a seven yard loss.
On a fourth and 11 punt, the Bulldogs waited on a booming Ian Schofield punt, heard the Indians in his face, and dropped the ball. The Indians recovered and were back in business.
Tibbetts finished the job with two in-your-face runs up the middle, jamming the ball in for the first score at 11:33 in the second quarter. Schofield’s foot was perfect on point after kicks all night, putting his team up 7-0.
The Bulldogs would get thwarted again and have to punt.
On the first offensive Indian play, Tibbitts found another gaping hole in the line to dart through, and go 65 yards for paydirt, 14-0.
On the ensuing Bulldog drive, Indian linebacker Bryson Channell had pick number two, setting up the Indians on their own 40.
The Keystone Heights front line made Mack Truck sized holes to allow Tyler Jenkins, and Dalton Hollingsworth to move the ball 35 yards in five plays.
On a first and 15, Hollingsworth used another cavernous hole to go 35 yards, putting his team out front 21-0.
Just before half, Umatilla had just over a minute to try and get on the board. Their late season start showed as Umatilla had no hurry-up offense and wasted precious seconds. The Bulldogs would drive inside the Keystone 10 where they were thwarted once again by Hollingsworth, open field tackling a receiver short of the endzone as the clock ran out, keeping the shutout alive.
The Bulldogs received to start the third, only to get intercepted by Hollingsworth.
With a 26-yard runback of the third team pick, the Indians were driving again. With a fourth and goal at the 14, Schofield went out for a field goal and had plenty of leg, but drifted wide right. The drive wore tons of time off the clock, just like Dickinson planned, but didn’t produce any points. The letdown didn’t last long as Keystone Heights only needed two plays for Hollingsworth’s second pick, and fourth for the team.
“While this wasn’t a career night for me, it was a team night for everyone” said Hollingsworth. “Our tackles got in their Quarterback’s face all night. He had to make decisions. Lucky for me they were bad ones. I had the opportunity to pull them in and just took them.”
The Indians drove to a first and goal when another mistake yet again cost the team. The turnover handed the ball back to the Bulldogs just as the Indians were ready to firmly put Umatilla away.
“We have to eliminate the stupid penalties and mistakes,” said Dickinson. “We are getting better every week and have to continue to build on that.”
The drive was killed when John David Schenck broke up a third down pass, forcing Umatilla to punt. The kick only made it out to the Bulldogs 42. Keystone Heights pounded the Bulldogs to their 44 to move the game into the fourth.
On first and 10, Tyler Jenkins took it all 44 yards to go up 28-0.
Umatilla had a great drive moving when Keystone said not so fast and took the ball back on their 26, over on downs. Keystone Heights continued rotating weapons in the backfield to get the ball to the one yard line. With less than four minutes to play, Stevens followed his bulldozers up front and notched the score to 35-0. Umatilla, trying to save face, was driving once again when Logan Williams snagged Keystone Heights' pickoff number five. Keystone Heights ran the last minute with some team seconds to get them their second victory in a row.
Dickinson’s primary concern, “We can’t have turnovers and mistakes like we had tonight against a really good team. We’ll not get away with that.”
Keystone Heights hosts the 2A-St. Joseph’s Academy (1-2) Friday night as they try to make it three in a row.