Cavalry runs over Heat
CENTRAL POINT - This season for the Southern Oregon Heat, it's been one step forward and then immediately two steps back.
Southern Oregon (1-6) took a step forward on offense Thursday night at the Inferno, putting a season-high 45 points on the board against the Wyoming Cavalry.
Then there were the two steps back, including allowing a season-high 69 points and several backbreaking miscues that led to a non-conference loss in National Indoor Football League action.
Wyoming (5-2) tore into the Heat's 24-20 lead in the second quarter with touchdowns on three straight series to take a 41-24 halftime lead in front of an on-hand crowd of about 1,800.
"We were playing tough and had the momentum, and then we just made too many mistakes and let it slip away," said Heat co-head coach Eric VanderWegen. "After that we couldn't get it back. They got that 17-point margin, and we just couldn't break it back down."
Cavalry quarterback Richard Fuentes connected with Duane Monlux for a 25-yard touchdown pass, and then Steve Taylor stepped in front of a Ryan McNiven pass to give the ball back to Wyoming. Fuentes followed with three straight completions, the last going for a 14-yard TD to Monlux as he outdueled Mackey Deloney for the ball in the end zone.
After another Taylor interception stopped the Heat's ensuing drive inside the 10, Fuentes connected with Aldwin Lance for a 21-yard TD with nine seconds to go in the first half.
Fuentes was 6-for-11 for 65 yards and three TDs in the first half, compared to an 0-for-3 effort with an interception by Heat starter Andy Hixson and a 5-for-9 outing with two interceptions and one TD by McNiven.
"We tried to force the ball a couple times when we probably shouldn't have," said Heat co-head coach Larry Jobe.
McNiven finished his Heat debut by connecting on 15 of 30 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns. He was only 2 of 9 in the last nine minutes of the game, however, after the Heat trimmed Wyoming's lead to 62-45.
And with McNiven's late slump, so went the Heat.
"That's a product of five starting quarterbacks in seven weeks," said VanderWegen. "We have to find someone who can consistently throw the ball with accuracy. That's something we need to address. (McNiven) came out blazing but then he struggled after that."
With new linemen Robert Sykes and Jason White joining Jered Gail to pave the way, Heat running back Gary Clemens had his best night with 53 yards and three TDs on 17 carries. The Portland State product also caught three passes for 22 yards.
"Our offensive line was opening up some big holes in there and I was real pleased with the guys we brought in," said Jobe.
Jobe's defensive additions had less-than-stellar nights, however, as Wyoming routinely sliced up the Heat. Lance used his deft cutback abilities to avoid overpursuing Heat players, with the running back rushing 18 times for 97 yards and four TDs.
"Our defense was a little tired tonight and didn't make some plays we normally expect them to make," said VanderWegen.
Southern Oregon finally had its special teams step up when Dexter Daniels returned a kickoff 50 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Daniels' return was the Heat's first special teams score of the season and helped offset a 50-yard kickoff return by Wyoming's Darcel Sharp immediately following Southern Oregon's first TD by Clemens.
Despite the 24-point loss, Jobe said he still sees Southern Oregon moving in the right direction.
"I thought (Eric) did a good job of calling plays tonight and got the ball moving," he said. "We're making progress. It's a little bit at a time. We're still missing some elements."
At the Inferno
Wyoming Cavalry1328721- 69
Southern Oregon Heat1014714- 45
SO - Clemens — run (Theolo kick)
W - Sharp 50 kickoff return (Doyle kick)
W - Lance — run (kick failed)
SO - Theolo FG 33
SO - Clemens 14 run (Theolo kick)
W - Lance — run (Doyle kick)
SO - Morrell 14 pass from McNiven (Theolo kick)
W - Monlux 25 pass from Fuentes (Doyle kick)
W - Monlux 14 pass from Fuentes (Doyle kick)
W - Lance 21 pass from Fuentes (Doyle kick)
W - Lance 2 run (Doyle kick)
SO - Patterson 12 pass from McNiven (Theolo kick)
W - Wilson — run (Doyle kick)
SO - D. Daniels 50 kickoff return (Theolo kick)
W - Lance 25 run (Doyle kick)
SO - Clemens — run (Theolo kick)
W - Monlux 9 pass from Clements (Doyle kick)
Wyoming - Lance 18-97, Fuentes 2-(minus-11), Wilson 2-3, Clements 1-(minus-2).
Southern Oregon - Clemens 17-53, Morrell 1-1, Hixson 1-11, D. Daniels 1-1, McNiven 2-6.
Wyoming - Fuentes 7-15-1 for 101, Clements 1-2-0 for 9.
Southern Oregon - Hixson 0-3-1 for 0, McNiven 15-30-2 for 155.
Wyoming - Monlux 4-64, Sharp 2-19, Thomas 1-6, Lance 1-21.
Southern Oregon - Patterson 4-42, Morrell 3-24, Douglas 3-51, D. Daniels 1-14, Gail 1-2, Clemens 3-22.