For about one quarter, it appeared that the Rainier football team’s momentum from its season-opening win at Wahkiakum would carry over into its second game against Toledo.
But in the final three quarters of the Sept. 8 non-league contest, the Mountaineers are back to the drawing board. The Riverhawks ran away with the game, rattling off 46 unanswered points to beat the Mountaineers, 54-12, at Toledo High School.
The Mountaineers scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, one a rushing score by sophomore wide receiver Jordan Pringle and the other a receiving touchdown by junior wide receiver Hunter Howell. After trailing 12-8 through the first quarter, the Riverhawks used their running game to gash the Mountaineers’ defense, totaling 454 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Offensively, the Mountaineers failed to capitalize on drives into opponent territory in the second half.
“We were really competitive in the early stages of the game,” head coach Andy Bartell said. “And then if you look at the rest of the game, we had some drives where we got to their 20 and we just didn’t execute. Defensively, we lost focus and allowed some big plays to happen.”
Sophomore quarterback Jake Meldrum finished with 197 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions — one returned 99 yards for a touchdown. Howell shined again offensively with 76 receiving yards and a touchdown on five receptions to go along with 38 rushing yards on 12 carries.
Junior wide receiver Joshua Meldrum led the team with 77 receiving yards on three receptions, and sophomore linebacker Dorien Cano recorded a team-best 10 tackles in the loss.
The Mountaineers now turn their attention to the Onalaska Loggers in a non-conference road game at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15. Bartell’s players have held each other accountable in the days following the loss, making the head coach optimistic that the Mountaineers will bounce back.
“The big difference is that in the hallways at school, I’ve already had some of the team leaders come up to me and say ‘Our linebackers weren’t doing this, or our offensive linemen didn’t do this,’ ” he said. “So, the whole offseason of changing the mentality and changing the atmosphere of our team with more discipline and a better culture is already wearing off on the leaders of the team.
“It comes down to how hard they want to come together and not tear at each other for being self accountable,” he continued. “As long as we don’t let that tear us down and we learn and build from that, I think that’s how you keep the losses from stacking up.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here