TOUCHET - It wasn’t what Gary Dorman had hoped for.
But it might have been what he feared.
"I knew, based on what Ione had coming back, that we were going to have our hands full," said Dorman, Touchet’s first-year head football coach in the moments following Friday afternoon’s season-opening 48-22 loss to the visiting Cardinals.
"Especially having so many kids playing new positions," Dorman added. "We had trouble executing. Our timing was a step off. Angles were just not right on our blocks. And the penalties (nine for 77 yards) were a sign of immaturity. Growing pains."
Touchet entered the game with eight seniors on its roster, three more than Ione, but it was clear from the outset that the Cardinals were the more veteran team. The Indians could not slow down Ione’s determined running attack, and poor tackling by Touchet was one of the reasons why.
"We are going to need to go back to the basics with our tackling fundamentals," said Dorman, who spent the last 28 seasons as the Indians’ defensive coordinator under longtime Touchet head coach Wayne Dickey, who resigned after the 2008 season after 30 years in charge of the program. "We changed defenses after the first quarter and it was a little better."
Nevertheless, the Cardinals rolled up 408 yards of rushing in the non-league game, led by the trio of senior Gunner Jessen, junior Alex Rietmann and sophomore Micah Stillman. Rietmann garnered 108 net yards on 11 carries, Jessen picked up 105 yards on 10 carries and Stillman collected 98 yards on 14 attempts.
All told, 10 different Cardinals carried the ball at least once in the game, including 255-pound junior Christian Cederquist, who moved from the line to the backfield in the final minute of the game and lugged the ball 5 yards into the end zone — with several would-be Touchet tacklers wrapped around him — for Ione’s final touchdown of the day.
"They had some big guys," Dorman said of the Cardinals. "And some pretty athletic guys, too."
Jessen scored the Cardinals’ first two touchdowns on runs of 5 and 2 yards, Stillman found the end zone on a 1-yard run and Rietmann scored the next three on runs of 4, 39 and 1 yards.
Junior quarterback Jake Hodnefield was responsible for most of the Indians’ offense. Hodnefield ran the ball 20 times from shot gun formation for 86 yards and scored the Indians’ first two TDs on runs of 11 and 8 yards. He only threw the ball three times and completed them all for 57 yards.
"Jake has the option to run or pass," Dorman explained of the Indians’ new spread offensive philosophy. "But he doesn’t have a lot of experience at quarterback, and right now he’s more comfortable running than he is passing."
Not so Touchet’s other two QBs, junior Matt Kates and freshman Ocatvio Preciado.
Kates played two offensive series in the second half and attempted five passes, missing on all of them. Preciado got his chance on the Indians’ final possession and hooked up with fellow freshman Vincent Flores for 46 yards on his first varsity snap and then for 28 yards and a touchdown on his second as the Indians concluded the day’s scoring with 9.9 seconds remaining in the game.
Dorman will try again for his first head coaching victory Friday when the Indians entertain Condon in another non-league game against an Oregon opponent.
"We’re going to get better," Dorman said. "The good thing is, it’s not about how you are playing in September."
Ione 8 20 14 6 — 48
Touchet 0 8 0 14 — 22
Ione — Jessen 5 run (Stillman run).
Ione — Jessen 2 run (run failed).
Tou — Hodnefield 11 run (Rodriguez run).
Ione — A. Rietmann 4 run (A. Rietman run).
Ione — Stillman 1 run (run failed).
Ione — A. Rietman 39 run (Hams pass from Ramos).
Ione — Rietman 1 run (pass failed).
Tou — Hodnefield 8 run (run failed).
Ione — Cedarquist 5 run (run failed).
Tou — Flores 28 pass from Preciado (Matinez run).
First downs 21 12
Rushes/yards 50-408 34-121
Passing yards 41 131
Passes (att-comp-int) 7-2-0 10-5-0
Punts 1-33 3-34
Fumbles-lost 3-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 5-35 9-77
RUSHING — Ione: Stillman 14-98, M. Juarez 4-45, T. Rietman 2-20, Ramos 6-12, Jessen 11-108, A. Rietmann 10-105, Oremn 1-11, E. Rietmann 2-8, Hams 1-(-4), Cedarquist 1-5; Touchet: Hodnefield 20-86, Goble 6-19, J. Contreras 5-6, O’Brien 1-(-5), E. Contreras 1-8, Rodriguez 1-7.
PASSING — Ione: Ramos 1-5-0, 33 yards; T. Rietmann 0-1-0; A. Rietmann 1-1-0, 4 yards. Touchet: Hodneifled 3-3-0, 57 yards; Kates 0-5-0; Preciado 2-2-0, 74 yards, 1 touchdown.
RECEIVING — Ione: E. Rietmann 1-33-0, Orem 1-8-0; Touchet: Byerley 1-58-0, J. Contreras 1-0-0, Kates 1-(-1)-0, Flores 2-64-1.