“Whoa Boy...We found out why they call it the Dufur Classic!” Lyle Schools Supt. Martin Huffman wrote in his Friday morning bulletin. “What a game. The Lyle/Wishram Cougars won in overtime 36-30. We had a tough fought contest with some shining moments.”
And so it went for the Cougars, who scratched out a season-opening victory over the host Dufur (Ore.) Rangers in the first game of last weekend’s annual Oregon 8-Man Classic.
Lyle/Wishram won it on its third offensive play in overtime (a series preceded by the Cougars’ four-play defensive stand): A “quarterback follow” play that had first-year quarterback Florian Forsthuber trail a wave of blockers to the short side of the field and into the end zone.
“It was a fun game to coach and watch. Each team had their share of experienced players and inexperienced players,” said Cougars Coach Don Smith.
The results, he said, were sometimes conflicting. “In the first half they couldn’t stop our running game and we couldn’t stop their passes.”
When the first half ended, Lyle/Wishram and Dufur stood tied, 24-24, thanks to a touchdown run and kickoff return for TD by Alan Matai, and rushing touchdowns by Henry Matai and Forsthuber, an exchange student from Germany. The Cougars might even have eked out a small lead had they executed their 2-point tries after touchdown better.
“That seemed to be the theme of the night for us. We missed every 2-PAT,” Smith said. “We had to score six touchdowns to their four.”
Dufur managed just one score after the halftime intermission, as did Lyle/Wishram, as the game turned into a struggle.
“The second half went better for us. We were able to stop their passing game better, but we shot ourselves in the foot with some bad and mishandled snaps,” Smith said.
Still, when the third quarter ended, a stalemate existed between the non-league opponents. In the fourth, it took some outstanding defensive play by the Cougars to get the game to overtime.
“Cody Carlsen made some nice defensive-back plays, knocking down some long Dufur passes,” Smith noted. “And Nolan Smith recovered a Dufur fumble, forced by Alan Matai, inside our territory with about three minutes to go in the fourth quarter that was a real key for us.”
In overtime, Smith and defensive coordinator David Barthlow got their wish when the Cougars started out on defense. They forced the Rangers to turn the ball over on downs without allowing a first down.
“Our defense played solid the last quarter and in OT. People were flowing to the ball and everyone played their role almost perfectly,” Smith said.
Henry Matai led the defense with 14 tackles, Nolan Smith made 10 stops, Keale Wiseman had nine, and Trey Kitchens and Alan Matai each had seven.
The Cougars’ offense, for its part, averaged nearly 10 yards per play from scrimmage in racking up 400 total yards (378 on the ground).
Henry Matai led the offense with 171 yards rushing, while Alan Matai gained 151 and Forsthuber ran for 60 and completed 1 of 4 passes for 22 to Carlsen.
Next up: Lyle/Wishram (1-0) hosts South Wasco County (0-1) of Maupin, Ore., tomorrow night.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. The Redsides opened their 2009 season with a 68-0 loss to the Triad School at the Dufur Classic.
Cougars 12 12 6 0 6 — 36
Rangers 8 16 6 0 0 — 30
DU—Touchdown (2-pt. PAT good). Dufur 8, L/W 0.
L/W—Alan Matai 70 kickoff return (2-pt. PAT failed). Dufur 8, L/W 6.
L/W—Henry Matai 14 run (2 pt. PAT failed). L/W 12, Dufur 8.
DU—Touchdown (2-pt. PAT good). Dufur 16, L/W 12.
L/W—Florian Forsthuber 44 run (2-pt. PAT failed). L/W 18, Dufur 16.
DU—Touchdown (2-pt. PAT good). Dufur 24, L/W 18.
L/W—A. Matai run (2-pt. PAT failed). L/W 24, Dufur 24.
DU—Touchdown (2-pt. PAT failed). Dufur 30, L/W 24.
L/W—A. Matai run (2-pt. PAT failed). L/W 30, Dufur 30.
L/W—Forsthuber run. L/W 36, Dufur 30.
Rushing: Henry Matai 15-171-TD, Alan Matai 17-151-2 TDs, Florian Forsthuber 5-60-2 TDs, Nolan Smith 1-(-4).
Passing: Forsthuber 1-4-0-22.
Receiving: Cody Carlsen 1-22.
Tackling: H. Matai 14, Smith 10, Keale Wiseman 9, A. Matai 7, Trey Kitchens 7, Dillon Huffman 6, Forsthuber 3, Carlsen 3.
Fumble Recovery: Smith.