TENINO — The Beavers got off to a hot start here on Friday before the sun went down but when the lights came on, it was Rochester who stole the show at the Scatter Creek Showdown with a 34-20 win in non-league football action.
Tenino took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter on a 32-yard pass from Aiden Wright to Paxton Russell and reclaimed the lead again momentarily in the second quarter when Wright found the end zone himself at the end of a two-yard bootleg run. In between those plays the Warriors found paydirt for themselves when Daniel May connected with a streaking Talon Betts for a 51-yard touchdown strike through the air.
Things would never be as sweet for the Beavers as they were with 9:24 remaining in the first half when they held that 14-7 advantage. That’s because Rochester went on to score four straight touchdowns to rudely slam the door on Tenino’s aspirations of claiming a victory in the rivalry game.
“We had flashes of greatness on certain drives and certain plays but we were inconsistent. We were just more consistent than they were,” said Rochester coach John Moorhead.
However, that assessment was highly contingent upon the shortcomings of their buck toothed foes as opposed to their own proficiencies. For instance, although his defensive backs pulled down three interceptions on the day Moorhead was far from satisfied with their coverage at the game’s conclusion.
“We whiffed on a tackle here to give up a 45-yard touchdown and there were probably three other picks we should have had,” Moorhread noted. “We’re holding them to a high standard and they know that. They are aware right now that we have a lot of room that we need to improve.”
Still, there were plenty of positives for Rochester to reflect on as they begin to formulate a plan for next week. They outgained Tenino in yardage 330 to 247. They turned the ball over just once compared to four times for the Beavers, and they had about half as many penalty yards as their cross-freeway foes.
Talon Betts was the Warrior’s go-to receiver on the day with six catches for 103 yards and a touchdown.
“Daniel is an amazing quarterback. I couldn’t ask for a better quarterback this season,” said Betts of his signal caller who finished the day 13 of 22 passing for 188 yards. May also ran in a touchdown from ten yards out by flinging his body recklessly into the meat of the defense in order to break the plane for the score.
Moorhead said he was not surprised that Betts started off the season with a big game even though he is just a sophomore.
“Every one of our receivers has kind of a unique skill set. The game was set up for his position tonight to be successful and he came through,” Moorhead noted. “Life on the inside in the slot was a good night.”
Rochester’s win was also aided by touchdown runs from Tristen Johnson from five yards out and one yard out. Defensive lineman Caelan Johnson scored the Warriors final touchdown of the night when he pounced on a botched shotgun snap inside the Beavers’ end zone.
Although they had plenty of miscues in the game Tenino never seemed ready to simply fold up and run out the clock. Even facing a 34-14 deficit with under ten minutes left in the game the Beavers kept plugging away on offense until Wright found Abe Nelson in the seam for a 42-yard touchdown pass.
When the Beavers’ William Tennihill came up with an interception with about two minutes left in the game and his team trailing by two scores it seemed that the game was just one big play away from turning into a certified nailbiter. On the very next play from scrimmage, however, Rochester’s Daillin Schlect pulled down an interception of his own that essentially sealed the Beavers’ fate. Johnson and James Jimenez also hauled in interceptions on the day for Rochester.
Betts noted that there was a bit of chatter amongst Rochester players about how they were considered by some “experts” to be underdogs in the game even though they defeated Tenino handily last season.
“There was some talking about it that they were going to beat us 28-27 or something like that. In the end it’s always nice to win,” said Betts. “It’s always sweet to beat them on their home field.”
Tenino coach Cary Nagel said his team did a poor job of responding once things started to go sideways for them in front of their home fans.
“Lots of mistakes compiling. Some fumbled snaps, interceptions, making some untimely reads with things and defensively we’ve got to clean up some things,” said Nagel.
Still, it wasn’t all bad news for Tenino though as several players had strong showings. Shawn Nicholson rushed 15 times for 87 yards and Wright was able to pick up big yards on the ground numerous times when other options were covered up. Paxton Russell was Wright’s favorite target through the air with five catches for 69 yards.
“Wright is gonna be okay. It’s been awhile since he’s been back at it. This is his first live look for him besides the jamboree. It’s a learning experience,” said Tenino coach Cary Nagel of his quarterback who finished 9 of 20 passing for 102 yards with another 48 yards rushing. “Shawn Nicholson ran the ball hard, man. He’s a tough kid. Paxton Russell had some big time plays and Takari Hickle is a tough man to block. If we clean some things up we’re going to be okay.”
Next Friday Tenino (0-1) will play at Chimacum while Rochester (1-0) will host Elma.