Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
CENTRAL POINT — The Oregon City football team was riding an emotional high late Friday night.
Meanwhile, Crater was down in the dumps.
The Comets struggled to execute in a 30-14 nonleague loss to the Pioneers at Dutch Meyer Field.
The aggravating loss was marred by mental errors and miscommunication, and the state of disarray left Crater head coach John Beck frustrated with himself.
"I just did a really poor coaching job," Beck said. "I'm just really disappointed. We've got a lot better talent than how we are playing. The undisciplined mistakes we are making are the result of poor coaching on my part and we've got to find a way to clean that up and give ourselves a better chance."
The road doesn't get any easier for Crater, now 0-2 after falling to Tualatin 12-8 last Friday. The Comets next host Roseburg.
And, in the meantime, Crater will have plenty to think about.
The Comets had a touchdown reception and a big fourth-down gain called back because of illegal procedure infractions in the first half, when Crater committed 13 penalties and trailed 10-0 by intermission.
The Comets were called for pass interference in their end zone on a fourth-and-four pass by Jacob Tipton in the third quarter, and the quarterback then found Matthew Oades for a 5-yard touchdown strike. The Pioneers led 17-7 at that point.
About four minutes later, Oregon City running back Mitchell Thompson — who torched Crater with 34 carries for 222 yards and two scores — sprinted in a 49-yard touchdown without a defensive back in sight.
In short, Beck said, the "overall execution isn't where it should be at this point."
Conversely, Oregon City walked off the field proud. The Pioneers lost to Camas, Wash., 63-20 last week and, for a second straight game, were playing without two suspended starting defenders.
"We didn't do anything right against Camas," said Oregon City head coach Kevin Strasser, whose birthday was Friday. "We turned the ball over six times and allowed them to run and throw all over us. Our teams didn't play well and it was a complete 180 tonight."
Crater quarterback Ty Fox, who replaced starter Chase Mackey to start the second quarter and was later swapped out for Mackey late in the third, threw a 16-yard TD pass to Taylor Peterson in the first drive of the third quarter. That grab made it a three-point game, with the Pioneers ahead 10-7.
Oregon City responded quickly by cashing in on the aforementioned pass interference infraction.
Mackey made a splash upon his re-entry into the contest, orchestrating a four-play, 70-yard drive — which included a 27-yard keeper and a 32-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Turituri — to trim the deficit to 10 points with just a few seconds left in the third.
But there would be no rally in the fourth quarter. The Comets eventually faded off into the shadows of the stadium and into the locker room.
Peterson had a TD grab wiped away in the second period after Crater was flagged for illegal procedure. To make matters worse, the Comets ended the drive with a missed field goal.
"We made some not-so-good decisions on offense and defense and kinda lost it," Peterson said.
Mackey finished 13-for-25 for 135 yards and he rushed for 51 yards on seven carries. Fox was 7-for-14 for 103 yards.
Kory Bennett had four catches for 69 yards and RJ Morgan, who recorded an interception, finished with six catches for 62 yards.
Oades made seven receptions for 58 yards and two scores for the Pioneers, who finished with 14 penalties for 125 yards.
Oregon City beat Crater 45-22 in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs last year.
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email firstname.lastname@example.org