Lebanon — I can truly say this game was one of the most crazy, bizarre games I’ve ever witnessed on television or in person, you certainly couldn’t write this game script up for a movie. After a seemingly calm first half, the second half provided many highlights, gaffes, bizarre sequences, and things that make sports what they are. Ultimately, just like with every game, there is a winner and a loser.
The Calm Before The Storm
The teams traded punts for the first few possessions of this one, with Lebanon coming through with first blood. On their second drive of the game, Cole Weber broke loose and took a run 70 yards to the end zone, providing a spark for the Warriors less than five minutes into the game and a 7-0 Lebanon lead. Silverton would provide a response, producing a drive that took over five minutes and ended with a one handed grab from Grant Bucheit in the left corner of the end zone for six, tying the match at 7-7 after a quarter of play. Midway through the second quarter, after the teams traded punts for over six minutes, Silverton forced a fumble and recovered it in Lebanon territory in a tied match. However, the Foxes squandered the opportunity with a punt, and Keith Brown made them pay with a touchdown catch from a few yards out to hand Lebanon the lead 14-7 at the half.
Lebanon Triggers Chaos To Open The Second Half
Opening the second half with the ball and momentum, Lebanon triggered what turned out to be a bizarre five second sequence to open the second half. After Silverton booted the kick into a corner near the goal line, Lebanon panicked when it didn’t go out of bounds as expected, touching the ball and sending it through the back of the end zone. Since Lebanon touched it, the officials ruled it a fumble and a subsequent safety, making it a 14-9 game without a single second coming off the clock. As an encore, the Warriors attempted an onside kick that was recovered by Silverton, setting the Foxes up in Lebanon territory after the safety and capping a bizarre sequence to open the second half.
Hayden Roth, who had already punished the Warriors on the ground, punched in a touchdown from 16 yards out to put Silverton in front 15-14 after the failed two point conversion. On the subsequent possession, Lebanon marched down to the Silverton 30 with built momentum, but the Foxes held them on downs and received the ball again with the monster defensive stop. However, just like the fumble recovery earlier, Silverton’s next possession ended in a punt.
Silverton Picks Up The Chaos To Open The Fourth Quarter
After another punt, Roth punched Lebanon in the gut quite literally, running it straight up the middle 62 yards and extended the advantage to 22-14 with 2:01 left in the third quarter. Opening the fourth quarter with the ball, Lebanon threw it up the right sideline to Keith Brown who took it in for six, setting up the Warriors to tie this game up with a right side end zone throw to Kyle Haley and it suddenly turned into a 22-22 game early in the fourth quarter. Arguing with the officials, combined with a roughing the passer penalty, Silverton triggered both roughing the passer and unsportsmanlike flags, resulting in massive penalty yardage that setup a kickoff from the Silverton 20 yard line.
The ensuing kickoff turned into another onside kick by Lebanon, but with actual success in the form of a recovery inside the Foxes red zone, flipping the game on top of its head. Silverton’s defense responded with force, knocking Lebanon back literally and the Warriors shot themselves in the foot with penalties, forcing the Warriors to settle for a field goal and a 25-22 lead with 11:10 left in the game. Silverton and Lebanon would trade possessions until the Foxes came through in the clutch late in this one.
Hayden Roth, who already had two touchdowns already in the game, made it a hat trick with his third TD and giving Silverton the 29-25 lead with 3:00 left in the game. On the ensuing Lebanon possession, the Foxes were pushed back defensively into their own territory, but Vandon Fessler came through with a clutch interception on an overthrown pass to seal the deal for Silverton, who ran out the clock and took home the match 29-25 over Lebanon.
Catching Up With Hayden Roth and Vandon Fessler
After a fired up, emotional postgame speech from Silverton Head Coach Josh Craig, I tracked down Vandon Fessler and Hayden Roth to talk about the crazy victory for the Foxes, who are looking to take a crack at top ranked Thurston for a state championship this season.
Vandon Fessler on how he saw the match play out, “It started as a tough battle, we didn’t score for a while but we came back. Then they kicked off from the 20 and that kind of rattled us all, and then they recovered it which was rough. We held them out of the end zone, the intensity picked up on the sideline, and our running backs closed it out for us.” Fessler on keeping up the momentum, “Keep working hard, keep doing what we’re doing, and take it one day at a time.”
Hayden Roth on his performance, “I felt like I did pretty good. In the first half I felt like I was just doing OK, so I wanted to step it up, and I finally started getting the ball and making moves on defense. It worked out well at the end of the day.” Roth on keeping the momentum, “We’ve just got to keep our heads up, keep it one level all the way through, and just keep grinding it out.”
Silverton (3-0) hosts North Salem next Friday, Lebanon (2-1) visits McKay next Friday.