CLARKSTON, Wash. – The game could not have started better for the visiting Bulldogs, as Grangeville’s Dane Lindsley retrieved the opening kickoff from the chaos that followed an early bobble by the host Bantams last Friday night, Sept. 13. But, in a foretelling of the rest of Grangeville’s night, the Clarkston defense gave no ground despite the turnover, and the Bantams went on to win 40-0.
After an early exchange of punts, the Bulldog football boys put together one of their night’s better drives: GHS moved from its own 37 across midfield, taking advantage of penalties and connecting on a long pass from Tescher Harris to Kyle Frei, which was ruled incomplete out of bounds.
Clarkston fair-caught the ensuing punt at its own 16 and scored seven plays later, converting a third-and-long by way of a pass interference penalty, then striking deep from Kaeden Frazier to Tru Allen. Steve Baiye went on to kick the extra point; Allen went on to catch a total of three touchdown strikes from Frazier. Baiye went on to score on two other passes from Fraizer, before Clarkston sent in the reserves late in the contest.
“My kids never quit,” Bulldogs head coach Jeff Adams told the Free Press Monday, Sept. 16. “I thought we made it pretty hard. I thought with any kind of offensive output, we could have been in that game at halftime, maybe even leading. They committed some turnovers. Our defense got a lot better. They wore us down as the game went, of course, but that’s a pretty talented team, just like Moscow. I thought our defense did pretty good, but offensively we were just outmatched, outgunned…. We had a game plan going into it, but my tailback broke team rules. We found out about that Friday morning and the whole game plan went out the window. … These kids showed a lot of gumption. We’re tough, especially defensively.”
The Bulldogs’ defense generated several scoring chances.
After Clarkston botched a snap while leading 14-0 during the second quarter, Grangeville’s Bladen Farmer recovered, setting up first-and-10 for Grangeville at the Bantams 30. A third-and-long completion from Harris to Frei made it first-and-10 at the 11, and a pass interference penalty brought the Bulldogs within six yards of the endzone. Two passes fell incomplete; on fourth down, a completion from Harris to Lindsley was both short of the gain-line and under penalty; Clarkston declined, and took over on downs at its own two-yard hashmark.
A couple of runs led to a first down, and that first down led to another touchdown – Frazier to Baiye – for a 21-0 Bantams lead, which they carried to halftime.
The second half saw Grangeville’s first series end in a punt, saw Clarkston boot a field goal kick wide right, saw the Bulldogs turn it over on downs after a fake punt, and, ultimately, saw the Bantams widen their lead.
One of Grangeville’s best offensive gains of the night came as a handoff to Nelson Bruzas, who advanced it 13 yards late in the third quarter. During the fourth quarter, GHS notched multiple first downs against Clarkston’s backups, chiefly on runs by Ashton Beeson.
Coming – Grangeville (1-2) is set to host powerhouse McCall on Friday night, Sept. 20. The Vandals have topped the idahosports.com 2A coaches poll since the start of the season; they beat Dayton-Waitsburg (Wash.) 68-0 last Friday night.
“They’re aggressive defensively,” Adams explained. “They’ll throw a bunch of formations at you offensively. They’re a good football team. … They’ve got a ton of kids, and they pin their ears back every play defensively. … I think it’s going to come down to who is the tougher team.”