The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Andrew Christiansen

Timberwolf season ends at Royal for fourth time in five years


Andrew Christiansen

PRESSURE DEFENSE: Jordan Foley sacks Royal’s Alex Myrick during the cross-over game at Royal City. The Timberwolf defense dominated the game through the first three quarters.

For the fourth time in five years, The Goldendale Timberwolves’ football season has come to an end at the hands of the Royal Knights. Each loss has been disappointing, but last Friday’s 14-7 loss was the hardest because the game belonged to Goldendale and the Wolves couldn’t help but feel that opportunity had slipped through their fingers.

Royal has a long history of playing deep into the playoffs, which can make playing in Royal City an intimidating experience. That intimidation was apparent in the first trip in 2007 which resulted in a 41-8 loss. It wasn’t much better in 2008 with Royal romping to a 49-7 win, but the 2009 game was in doubt until half way through the fourth quarter when Royal pulled away with a 32-13 win. There was no intimidation in that game and the Wolves came away knowing they could play ball with the Knights.

Friday was a golden opportunity to knock off the highly regarded Knights. 2011 wasn’t their best year and it was clear from the early going that something significant had changed. Goldendale was the bigger and faster team on the field.

From the opening 12 play drive that culminated with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Lucas Denney to Ethan Enstad, Goldendale dominated the game. Goldendale out-gained Royal 145 to 54 in the first half and but for a holding call on a Denney run inside the Royal 10-yard line, the Wolves could have been up by two touchdowns. The holding call came on a second down run, the 13th play of a drive that had generated four first downs. A 5-yard pass to Elias Briseno got a few of the yards back, but a pass to Michael Folkner in the endzone didn’t connect and the Wolves were forced to try a field goal, which was wide left.

Credit Royal for making half-time adjustments that cooled Goldendale’s running game. The Wolves’ three third quarter possessions failed to make a first down and penalties became a factor. The second possession of the quarter started with a procedure penalty and ended with a bad snap to Braydon Ross on the punt attempt. Ross tried to run the ball, but was stopped for a yard, turning the ball over to Royal at the Goldendale 42 yard line.

But, Royal had yet to solve Goldendale’s defense. The Knights put together one of their better drives of the game following the turn over in Goldendale territory when they benefitted from a pass interference against the Wolves. But their drive was pushed back with a sack by Nolin Bare and Ben Cochran and the Wolves got the ball back at their own 30-yard line.

Goldendale got out of the hole on a 26-yard run by Ross, but the Knights stopped the drive at the Wolves’ 42-yard line. Ross hit a booming punt that went into the end zone for a touchback and Royal couldn’t get anywhere on the subsequent drive.

Royal gained 46 yards in the third quarter and turned the ball over on a fumble caused by Briseno and recovered by Kurt Wilkins.

It looked like Goldendale would get another drive going in the fourth quarter when a Royal pass-interference call put the ball at Goldendale’s 40-yard line. Three runs put the ball on the Goldendale 49-yard line and the Wolves went with their standard short yardage play, a sneak by Denney. The play hadn’t failed all year, but this time Royal was ready and stuffed the play for no gain, turning the ball over to the Knights.

With eight-minutes left in the game, Royal found a play that would work. After completing just five of 15 passes for 59 yards, Alex Myrick hit Johnny Villenueva for 16 yards and got another 15 yards to boot on an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for hitting Villenueva out of bounds. Myrick ran the ball to the 10-yard line and on third and six, Myrick got five yards, but Goldendale was called for a facemask and Royal had first and goal at the 2-yard line. Damien Delarosa scored and the kick was good to tie the game with less than six minutes left.

Again, Goldendale seemed able to move the ball on the Knight defense. Ross picked up 16 yards on a late option pitch and a shovel pass to Wade Gaston gained 12 more yards. Another late pitch on an option didn’t connect, however, and Royal pounced on the ball with 4:10 on the clock.

Myricks now had the hot hand and the hot play with roll-outs to his right and side line passes that connected, first to Ricky Ramirez for 20 yards, then to Villenueva for 15 and back again to Ramirez for 12 more, down to the Goldendale 5-yard line. Myrick punched it in on two runs and Royal had the 14-7 lead with 1:04 on the clock.

Denney marched the Wolves down field with a crossing pass to Isaac Messenger and underneath passes to Enstad and Briseno to get to the Royal 36-yard line with 23.7 seconds left. Five seconds ran off the clock on an incompletion to Messenger and another 11 slipped away on a 3-yard pass play to Briseno. A final, gadget play, a pitch to Enstad and pass down the sidelines was picked off by Myrick to end the game.

Kurt Wilkins led the defensive effort with five tackles along with Nolin Bare, Jordan Foley and Braydon Ross, each with 4.5. The Wolves will lose 13 players to graduation, including four of their five starting offensive linemen and two of their starting receivers and the middle of their defense.

Andrew Christiansen

OPEN FIELD: Wade Gaston breaks into the secondary on a 16-yard run during Goldendale’s first quarter scoring drive.

Goldendale 7 – 0 – 0 – 0 7

Royal 0 – 0 – 0 – 14 14

Rushing: Goldendale – Denney 16-72, Gaston 14-64, Ross 8-44, Foley 4-28. Royal – Alex Ramirez 14-44, Myrick 13-1-1TD, Christian Guerrero 2-3, Delarosa 3-9-1TD.

Passing: Goldendale – Denney 7-14-53-0Int-1TD, Enstad 0-1-0. Royal – Myrick 7-18-87-1Int, Daniel Vermeer 0-1-0, Brady Dixon 1-1-15.

Receiving: Goldendale – Briseno 3-12, Messenger 2-22, Enstad 2-19-1TD. Royal – Villenueva 3-49, Vermeer 2-23, Ricky Ramirez 2-22, Freddie Ramirez 1-8.


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