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By Jaryd Cline
Sports editor 

Cougs bound for state after 32-22 win over Oroville

 

November 8, 2017

Jaryd Cline

Quarterback Jeramiah Osterander, left, takes the ball upfield while Sam McCullough looks to make a block on Friday.

The amazing season for the Lyle-Wishram-Klickitat gridders continues after last Friday's dominant defensive performance against the Oroville Hornets in the district crossover game, and now the Cougars are headed for the state tournament.

A flat-out dominant effort from the Cougars' defensive front, an unstoppable run game, and a pair of crazy plays that you had to see to believe propelled the host Cougars to a 32-22 win over Oroville on a cool Friday night in Lyle.

The Cougars advanced to the opening round of the state tournament, but will have their work cut out for them against the 10-0 and No. 3 ranked Class 2B (according to Maxpreps.com) Liberty Lancers on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Liberty High School in Spangle.

"We're on cloud No. 9 but we need to fix some stuff if we want to go farther," head coach Antoine Montoya said after Friday's game.

The Cougars held the Hornets to their lowest rushing total of the year but were susceptible to the Hornet's passing game, allowing a few big pass plays that kept the visiting team in the game in the second half.

However, with an unstoppable force on the ground in sophomore running back Brandon Montoya, the Cougs moved the ball at will on the ground that opened up the passing game for senior quarterback Jeramiah Osterander.

Osterander threw for three touchdowns and ran tough all night, and Montoya picked up chunk gains every time he touched the football while running for and catching a touchdown.

"Our line has been blocking great this year, Brandon's been running tough this year, and Jeremiah as the quarterback has settled down," Antoine Montoya said.

Osterander has come up big under center in recent weeks on the ground and through the air. His bruising runs wore down the Hornets defensive front, and when their defense focused in on him, Brandon Montoya would take a sweep play 20 yards or more within the blink of an eye.

"We know we have a powerful run game. There's no ifs, ands, buts about it," Antoine Montoya said. "And a lot of people like to key on Brandon so we like to go other routes with Jarren (Leslie) running. We have Jeremiah (Osterander) who can also run the ball."

The Cougars have talented skill players all across the field, and paired with a tough offensive line, they are hard to stop offensively.

The Cougs moved the ball right off the bat after forcing the Hornets to turn the ball over on downs during their first possession. Montoya gained 35 yards on his first two carries of the game, and looked to score the game's first touchdown after taking a screen pass 25 yards to the house. However, a holding penalty negated the score with just under 6 minutes left in the opening quarter.

After two incompletions brought up fourth and 20 from the Oroville 33 yard line, Osterander lofted a pass that looked like it might be picked. The ball was tipped backwards by a pair of defenders and landed into junior Sam McCullough's arms at the five yard line, who took it in to the endzone to put the Cougs up 8-0 after a successful two-point pass to senior receiver Reco Quintero.

McCullough then caught his second touchdown pass of the night a few minutes later after Osterander got surgical and dropped a dime right into McCullough's arms from 25 yards out, putting the home team up 16-0 late in the first after Osterander ran in the two-point conversion.

After a few traded possessions, Oroviille began to move the ball well with some short yardage passing, and moved the ball into the redzone with less than six minutes in the half.

At the Cougars' five, a quick snap caught the home team off guard as the Hornets rumbled the ball into the endzone with 5:15 to play in the half, cutting their deficit to 16-8.

One play after the Cougars turned the ball over on downs, freshman cornerback Robbie Dorr intercepted a pass at his team's 45 yard line. Montoya broke free with an outside run on the very next play, sprinting 55 yards for the score, with Osterander tacking on two more points with a successful two-point run, making it 24-8 Cougs with under three minutes to play in the half.

Oroville drove the field and ran the ball in from three yards out with 37 seconds left in the half, thinking they would enter halftime trailing by one possession at 24-16.

With 31 seconds left and at their 45 yard line, the Cougs had a few more shots to add another score before halftime.

Montoya went deep and Osterander fired a long ball in his direction, but the ball was tipped by an Oroville defender, and fell into Montoya's arms for another Immaculate-Reception like touchdown. The Cougs went on top 32-16 after Osterander punched the two-point conversion in with another hard run.

"Just the right place at the right time honestly," Antoine Montoya said. "Like I told these guys in the huddle 'Maybe that was the sign. Maybe somebody else wants us to win too.'"

Both teams traded possessions with a few turnovers in a scoreless third quarter, and Oroville scored the first points of the second half with 2:41 left in the fourth, but took a big blow after its two-point conversion came up unsuccessful, the Cougs leading 32-22.

The Hornets couldn't recover their onside kick attempt, and the Cougs ran out the clock for the 32-22 win.

The Cougs invested a lot of time into studying their opponent, and all their time in the film room paid off.

"At the beginning of (last) week, we had three films on Oroville and we just studied, studied, studied," Montoya said. "They liked to go right up the gut. No. 84 (running back Zane Scott) was their main guy so we knew if we could slow him down, shut him down ... we could take away one of their weapons one at a time.

"And No. 84 had to work for his yards (Friday)," Montoya added.

Scott had ran for over 100 yards in each of his previous three games, averaging over six yards per carry in each contest along with six combined touchdowns, but a stout Cougar defensive front gave up little running room for the senior.

He did run for two short touchdowns, but Scott managed just 37 yards on the ground on 13 carries, and was the Hornets leading rusher on the night.

The Cougars also held the Hornets to just 98 yards on the ground. The same Hornets team that had rushed for over 300 yards five times this season.

Jaryd Cline

Senior Quincy McConville tries to reach the edge during the team's win against Oroville last Friday in Lyle.

Senior lineman Elijah McCullough anchored the powerful Cougar defensive front along with Osterander, junior Gerry Kindrick, and seniors Troy Spino, Phoenix Dorsey, and Mason Goolsby. The defensive front allowed the cougar backers to fly around the field and make plays, with Montoya and Sam McCullough both finishing with double digit tackles and one sack each. Elijah McCullough and junior DaSean Leslie also added sacks for the Cougs.

Montoya finished the night with 216 rushing yards and 55 receiving yards, averaging just under 20 yards every time he ran the ball. Sam McCullough had 58 yards on two receptions, scoring a touchdown each time he caught a pass. Osterander completed seven of his 14 attempts for 141 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, and also added 80 yards on the ground.

 

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