Crusaders hit the ground running
In watching his team get wins in the first two weeks of the season, St. Mary’s head coach Jamie Young has been most impressed with how the Crusaders have simply taken care of business.
It was no different in Week 3.
Seven different St. Mary’s players scored first-half touchdowns — including four TD passes and another rushing from quarterback Tyson Delplanche — as the Crusaders posted a season-high point total before halftime en route to a 56-16 win over Phoenix in Far West League action at Lithia & Driveway Fields on Friday night.
It’s the first time that the Crusaders (3-0, 3-0 FWL) have started the season with three straight wins at least since Young took over as head coach in 2010.
“Overall, we didn’t know what to expect because we hadn’t played (Phoenix) before,” said Young. “Our kids just had a great week of preparation and I think they were ready to play tonight on both sides of the ball. We got out fast and we were on the board fast, we played fast defense and really they got a couple of touchdowns at the end when we had our younger kids in there, but it was a pretty complete performance from our starters.”
St. Mary’s — which received votes in this week’s Class 3A football coaches’ poll — scored on each of its seven offensive possessions in the first half. The Crusaders also got a 75-yard interception return from Bradley Patten with less than four minutes to go in the first quarter.
Delplanche continued his impressive start to the season after having never played quarterback before this year, throwing a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jaden Foster before running it in from 11 yards out to give St. Mary’s a 14-0 lead less than seven minutes into the game.
With his defensive touchdown already in his back pocket, Patten added a 37-yard TD pass from Delplanche to put the Crusaders ahead 28-0 less than two minutes into the second half.
Following a Phoenix fumble, TJ Flowers pushed the Crusaders’ lead to 35-0 with a 38-yard TD run.
Delplanche also threw first-half touchdown passes to Heemir Patel and Spencer Patten.
Indiana Olson, the Crusaders’ offensive leader in their win over North Valley, rounded out the first-half onslaught with a 32-yard run to paydirt.
“Last we played a 3 p.m. game in Sutherlin and it was tough — we went into half there leading 7-6 and really weren’t getting started,” said Young. “We really made an effort this week to talk to our kids about how important it is to come out from first play on and really be strong and they definitely took that to heart and came out swinging.”
Delplanche, who like many of St. Mary’s top starters didn’t play in the second half, finished 6-of-8 for 93 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. He added 33 yards on the ground and a TD.
Flowers finished with 97 yards on just eight carries, while Olson carried the ball five times for 67 yards.
Patten added a second interception late in the second half.
“It shows that we have multiple kids where we can do a lot of different things on the ground and in the air,” said Young. “It was nice to mix that up tonight and to see the things that we’ve been working on are applied in the game. We were pretty mistake-free in the game, but in the heart in the game we protected the ball and didn’t create a lot of penalties. I’m really pleased with the composure they kept.”
It was a completely different story in the first half for Phoenix (0-3, 0-3), which entered the night with just one touchdown through the first two weeks of the season.
In their first seven possessions of the game, the Pirates went three-and-out three times, turned it over twice and turned it over on downs another two times.
The Pirates were able to get on the scoreboard with 1:36 to go in the first half when quarterback Hunter Everhart connected with receiver Jackson Selden on a 38-yard touchdown pass.
Cody Martin, a freshman, scored the lone points by either team in the second half — which was played under a running clock — on a 17-yard touchdown run.
Martin and Jair Ramirez finished with 38 and 37 yards on the ground, respectively, while Selden had three catches for 66 yards.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys who have a lot of heart and a lot of promise,” said Phoenix head coach Mike Robinson. “A huge strength of our team is sophomores and freshmen. When you’re trying to facilitate a varsity team when a lot of your guys are younger, you’re going to have some hard knocks. But these guys aren’t folding and they’re coming together quick.
“Would you like to see the scoreboard look a little better? Of course. But the biggest part is constantly finding the good nuggets and trying to build off of that.”
St. Mary’s puts its unbeaten record on the line next Friday when it faces Lakeview. Phoenix will be back at home at P-T Rising Field when it hosts Douglas.
“It’s another real important week, another big road trip,” said Young. “We’re excited about how we finished this week and we’ll get back to work Monday and do our thing.”
SM — Foster 24 pass from Delplanche (Friesen kick)
SM — Delplanche 11 run (Friesen kick)
SM — B. Patten 75 interception return (Friesen kick)
SM — B. Patten 37 pass from Delplanche (Friesen kick)
SM — Flowers 38 run (Friesen kick)
SM — Patel 8 pass from Delplanche (Friesen kick)
SM — S. Patten 4 pass from Delplanche (Friesen kick)
SM — Olson 32 run (Friesen kick)
P — Selden 38 pass from Everhart (Hicks run)
P — Martin 17 run (Ramirez run)
Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.