Longfellow gnaws on Cougars for three scores
It may have been a big win for the Pirates Saturday, starting off the season with a 4-0 record, but Neah-Kah-Nie coach Chris Bennett still sees the need for a lot of improvement after dominating Gervais, 44-12.
By Brad Mosher
Quarterback Josh Longfellow tore through the Cougars’ defenses for three touchdowns and passed for two more as the Pirates made themselves at home with Tillamook’s Doc Adams Field for their first “home” game of the season. When Neah-Kah-Nie hosts Knappa on Oct. 6, it is planned to be the re-opening of the newly renovated track at the Rockaway Beach campus.
The Pirates scored first with 3:46 on the clock in the first quarter on a short dive by Longfellow into the end zone.
He did it again, but from much further away in the second quarter as the junior ran 77 yards for a score that helped the Pirates take a 12-0 lead into the half.
Longfellow struck again in the third quarter on another long run, pushing the lead to 22-0.
The the Pirates went into aerial mode for their scores, with Longfellow hitting senior receiver Bryce Bridge twice for touchdowns.
The first came on a 29-yard pass with 3:46 left in the third quarter. The second was a nine-yard catch with 7:59 left in the game.
Between the two scores Gervais got on the scoreboard when Chazz Fobert caught a seven-yard pass from Dyontae Navarette with 1:40 left in the third quarter, cutting Neah-Kah-Nie’s lead to 30-6 at the time.
The Pirates got another score after the two Bridge receptions when Tristan Bennett puched the the heart of the Cougars’ goal-line defenses for a two-yard score with just over five minutes left in the game.
“I was very pleased with our effort tonight (Saturday), offensively and defensively. Defensively, we made some changes to solidify the line a bit. The defense came up really big for u. We got some big sacks in late in the second quarter and started really backing them up.
“I was really, really happy with our line play on defense. The linebackers played really well. The whole team played well tonight,” the coach said.
If there was a down side to the win, it was the number of penalties called on the Pirates, Bennett added. “Penalties are really going to hurt us down the stretch. We can not play Knappa with the amount of penalties that we are having. The last two games have really been penalty-ridden football games. We have to clean that up,” he said.
The strong defense helped end the threat of one of the Cougars’ biggest weapons when running back Kaneali’i Kawamura was injured early in the second quarter. He left the game with a shoulder injury after a large gain.
The Pirates have a bye week, which gives the coaches some time to stress penalty-free football. The team has to come out for its biggest test of the year (Knappa) without making all those mistakes, he added.
Several of the team’s penalties killed drives and scoring chances Saturday and some helped get Gervais into the end zone.
Still, Bennett and the team have a goal for the season. “We want a league title this year. That is our goal.”
Knappa also improved to 4-0 for the season Friday, beating Regis by a 40-13.
In other non-league action, Vernonia lost to Central Linn by a 34-22 margin, while Warrenton edged Nestucca in a 41-35 offensive donnybrook in Cloverdale. Gaston picked up its first win of the season Friday with a 46-0 decision over Waldport.
Knappa’s victory over Regis jumped the Loggers up to fifth in the OSAA’s 2A football poll, while the Pirates stayed at number 12.
Vernonia is ranked at number 19, followed right behind by Nestucca and Gaston in the next two spots.