TOUCHET - Like so many season-opening football games, Touchet's non-leaguer here against Condon-Wheeler of Oregon's Class 1A Special District 3 was somewhat ragged around the edges.
There were the usual missed assignments on both sides; five Condon-Wheeler fumbles, two of which the Knights lost and the Indians converted into touchdowns; five Touchet penalties that cost the Indians 48 yards and one touchdown; and one memory lapse by the home team's head coach.
But on closer inspection, the coach, Gary Dorman, and his Touchet players should have come away from the 50-8 victory - a game stopped 33 seconds and one play into the fourth quarter on the new 40-point mercy rule - feeling pretty good about themselves.
"I think what I was most pleased about was how much more physical we were at the point of attack than we have been in the past," said Dorman, who is beginning his third season in charge of the Touchet program. "I thought our kids blocked a lot better. We are a pretty veteran group at the guards and ends."
That veteran group is led by a trio of seniors - Matt Shute, Ty Garbe and Dan Can - who have all paid their dues as underclassmen when they were a lot smaller. Garbe now tips the scale at 190 pounds, Shute is 185 and Can 180.
Shute even got into the scoring act in the second quarter when he blasted through the Condon-Wheeler offensive line, wrestled the ball away from Knights quarterback Cole Thomas and ran 12 yards into the end zone for a touchdown and a 38-0 Indians lead.
Scoring was never a problem for the Indians on this toasty afternoon. At least not when the first string was on the field.
After senior Eric Hines recovered a Knights fumble on the game's first play from scrimmage and returned it 10 yards to the Condon-Wheeler 2-yard line, the Indians scored their first TD of the season on the very next play as sophomore Elias Martinez slipped into the end zone. Martinez also ran for the two-point conversion and the Indians were off and running.
Martinez and junior Ocatavio Preciado split the quarterback duties Friday in competition for the starting position that remains wide open, Dorman said.
"It's not a set deal," Dorman said. "The only difference right now is that Ocatavio is so valuable as a running back that I kind of hate to waste him at quarterback."
Preciado carried the ball four times for 73 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. But he also completed both of his passes on the day, a 77-yard touchdown strike to junior speedster Vicente Flores and a 32-yard scoring connection to Hines.
While Martinez's numbers weren't quite that impressive, they weren't exactly shabby, either. He rushed the ball five times for 37 yards and the game's first score, and he completed both of his passes for 32 yards.
Flores, the undisputed No. 1 weapon in the Indians' offensive arsenal, also found the end zone twice on the day and had a third touchdown nullified by an illegal block penalty. Flores scored his second TD on a 54-yard run and saw a 72-yard gallop nullified.
The Indians defense, meanwhile, limited Condon-Wheeler to 101 yards on the ground and 23 via the pass. The Knights' lone touchdown came against Touchet reserves when 200-pound junior fullback Justin Irzyk blasted for 26 of his game-high 87 yards rushing and into the end zone to narrow the Indians' lead to 38-8 at the intermission.
Leading by 30 points at the break, Dorman was determined to continue a long-standing Touchet tradition of not invoking the mercy rule. But he forgot that the rule had been changed from 45 to 40 points, and when sophomore Edgar Rincon scored on a 13-yard run on the first play of the fourth period, the Indians' lead expanded to 42 points and the game was called.
"I knew the new rule was in place," Dorman said. "I had just taken the test a couple of days ago. But after 32 years of the 45-point rule, it just slipped my mind."
Call it first-game jitters.
Touchet 50, Condon-Wheeler 8
Condon-Wheeler 0 8 0 0 - 8
Touchet 24 14 6 6 - 50
Tou - E. Martinez 2 run (E. Martinez run).
Tou - Flores 77 pass from Preciado (Goble run).
Tou - Flores 54 run (Goble run).
Tou - Hines 32 pass from Preciado (pass failed).
Tou - Shute 12 fumble recovery return (E. Martinez run).
Con - J. Irzyk 26 run (J. Irzyk run).
Tou - Preciado 61 run (pass failed).
Tou - Rincon 13 run (PAT not attempted).
First downs 9 6
Rushes/yards 35-101 22-204
Passing yards 23 141
Passes (att-comp-int) 7-2-1 4-4-0
Punts 3-29.5 0-0
Fumbles-lost 5-2 1-1
Penalties-yards 3-15 5-48
RUSHING - Condon: Shaffer 11-15, C. Thomas 5-(-22), J. Irzyk 9-87, Camargo 8-17, James 1-3, Hunt 1-1; Touchet: E. Martinez 5-37, Flores 2-51, Preciado 4-73, Col. McKeown 2-16, Goble 6-16, Rincon 3-11.
PASSING - Condon: C. Thomas 2-6-1, 23 yards; Camargo 0-1-0. Touchet: E. Martinez 2-2--, 32 yards; Preciado 2-2-0, 109 yards, 2 touchdowns.
RECEIVING - Condon: Shaffer 1-(-6)-0, Hassing 1-29-0; Touchet: Flores 1-77-1, Hines 1-32-1, Butler 1-6-0, Dowsett 1-26-0.