The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jaryd Cline
Sports editor 

Cougars host playoff game two years after making jump to 11-man football

 

November 1, 2017

Jaryd Cline

Cougars' junior Jarren Leslie catches a screen pass and looks upfield during the team's win at Goldendale on Sept. 18.

Lyle-Wishram-Klickitat football head coach Antoine Montoya and the rest of the Cougars didn't forget last year's 48-20 home loss to Mabton in which the Vikings attempted onside kicks and threw deep balls late in the fourth quarter with the game already decided.

The Cougars used that game as motivation to fuel last Friday's 68-22 stomping of the Vikings in their Eastern Washington Athletic Conference finale, capping a brilliant regular season for a team that has played with as few as 13 players in a game.

The win vaulted the Cougars into second place in the EWAC standings, and the team that just made the jump to 11-man football last season after a decade of eight-man, is headed for the postseason.

They host a home playoff game against Oroville on Friday at 7 p.m. at Lyle High School. The Hornets, out of the Central Washington Football League, finished 5-4 overall and 5-3 in conference play. Of teams with winning records in the CWFL, Oroville allowed the most points (184) and also scored the most (257).

The Cougars finished as the highest scoring team in the EWAC, compiling 280 points during league competition.

Aside from their usual offensive explosion, it was a tightened up Cougar defense that adjusted very early after allowing the Vikings to jump out to an 8-0 lead in the game's first two minutes that propelled the Cougs.

Senior lineman Elijah McCullough wrecked the Vikings' offensive line, finishing with 5.5 of the team's eight combined sacks, and the Cougs also added a pair of interceptions that helped shut Mabton Down.

The Vikings took the opening kickoff and shredded the Cougar zone defense with some nice passing and a two-point conversion that put the home team up 8-0 after just two minutes of play.

"Seemed like right away our team was a little shocked and confused how quick that was," Montoya said in an email. "After a quick huddle and some advice to let it go, we set up for kickoff return."

Thinking back to last year's game against Mabton, Montoya told his team to be prepared for the onside kick, thinking they wouldn't boot it deep to dangerous playmaker Brandon Montoya.

"Well I was wrong on both!" Antoine Montoya said. "Not only did they kick it deep, they kicked it to Brandon and he made them pay for it."

Brandon Montoya took the kickoff 76 yards to the house and in just a matter of seconds the Cougs were on the board, trailing 8-6 after a failed two-point attempt.

After a few traded possessions, LWK took its first lead after Montoya broke through for a six yard rushing touchdown followed by a two-point conversion pass from senior quarterback Jeramiah Osterander to junior Hunter Dawson, putting the Cougs up 14-8 with 2:40 left in the opening quarter.

However, the Vikings struck back quickly with their passing attack, driving the field and scoring eight more points in just 2:01 to go on top 16-14 heading into the second quarter.

With the Vikings up on the scoreboard, the tide started to turn.

"We tightened up our defense by switching to man-to-man and started to shut down everything the Vikings tried to do on offense," Antoine Montoya said.

From then on it was all Cougars. They outscored the Vikings 46-0 over the second and third quarters, and at one point led 68-16 before the Vikings added another score as time expired in the fourth quarter.

Brandon Montoya ran for a touchdown and two-point conversion to give the Cougs the lead for good at 6:04 in the second and the rout was on.

Senior Reco Quintero forced a fumble which later led to an Osterander touchdown strike to junior DaSean Leslie, and the Cougs' defense later forced a safety after an intentional grounding call on Mabton in its own endzone. LWK tacked on one more touchdown before the break, scoring on an Osterander pass that was tipped by junior Sam McCullough into the arms of senior Quincy McConville, who then took it in for a touchdown, giving the Cougars a 28-16 halftime advantage.

Kicking off to start the third quarter, the Vikings didn't want to put the ball into Montoya's hands again, and squib kicked it, which didn't go the way they thought it would. Sam McCullough scooped up the kick and made a few cuts before taking it 65 yards to the endzone.

Montoya added another rushing touchdown from 62 yards out and Osterander later found Quintero for a 31 yard score through the air that put the Cougs up 60-16.

With the game well in hand, LWK swapped in some younger players and rotated players to different positions.

Sophomore Braedon Hovinghoff picked off a pass, and Leslie, who subbed in under center, ran for a 40 yard score, and hit McConville for the two-point conversion, to cap the Cougars' scoring on the night.

Osterander finished 12-21 through the air for 132 yards with three touchdowns, and added 42 yards on the ground for the Cougs. Montoya also rushed for 127 yards and three scores, adding two catches for 14 yards along with 10 tackles and a sack defensively.

Leslie did damage on the ground and catching passes, rushing for 53 yards and a touchdown while also catching three passes for 30 yards and another touchdown.

Sam McCullough finished with nine tackles and an interception and Hovinghoff had four tackles, half a sack, and the interception.

 

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