Tigers start campaign with a bang
NHS decimates North Salem 32-7 Friday, preps for Clackamas
During the past two seasons, Newberg has often been its own worst enemy, shooting itself in the foot with penalties and turnovers.
In the season opener versus North Salem Friday night, the Tigers were determined to not sabotage themselves with mental mistakes, to play with character and start anew.
Newberg had its share of errors on the night, but it was how head coach T.J. Tomlins team responded to them, especially on defense, that prevented the Vikings from clawing their way back into the game.
The Tigers repeatedly turned away the North Salem offense and, instead of waiting for the game to come to them, seized control of the contest late in the third quarter to pull away for a decisive 32-7 victory at Loran Douglas Field.
Our kids really responded well, Tomlin said. Im pleased at how we continued to keep going. Besides the last 15 seconds, we did an excellent job on defense. Im really happy with the kids.
Newberg dealt itself a difficult hand to begin the game after mishandling the opening kickoff, which put the Tigers at their own 4-yard line on their first possession.
Refusing to be rattled, the home side put together a 16-play, 96-yard scoring drive that culminated with a 4-yard James Conrad touchdown run and drained 7:51 off the clock.
Newberg forced and recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, but turned the ball over, missing an opportunity to put North Salem on its heels early.
The defense, however, quickly forced a punt and the offense followed through this time, with fullback Matthew McCarthy plunging into the endzone from one yard out to complete an eight-play, 67-yard drive and put his team up 14-0 less than two minutes into the second quarter.
The Tigers forced a turnover on downs on the Vikings next possession and with Conrad breaking into the secondary, appeared on the verge of blowing the game open, only to see a North Salem defender force a fumble with a heavy blind-sided hit.
Newberg settled for the two touchdown lead at the break, but broke the game open late in the third quarter.
Adjusting to isolate the two North Salem linebackers that had been containing the Tigers inside running game, the line opened a massive hole for McCarthy, who broke free for his first big run of the game, then scored his second touchdown of the game a few plays later to make it 20-0 with 4:39 to play in the third.
Seizing on the opportunity to put the game away, Tomlin called for an onside kick that Newberg recovered. McCarthy followed with a 19-yard run to put his team at the Vikings 27 yard line and one play later, tailback Andy Tautfest went untouched from 27 yards out to make it 26-0 just 20 seconds after McCarthys score.
The Tigers closed out the scoring in the fourth quarter on a heads-up defensive play by reserve defensive lineman Evan Smith. Pitching the ball on a sweep to the left, the North Salem quarterback missed his target, but before he could gather the ball, Smith leveled the Vikings running back. Jack Kerwin promptly scooped up the ball and scored from 17 yards out to complete the scoring.
We just cant beat ourselves, senior lineman and captain Dakota Church said. We get tons of penalties and most of the time its us beating Newberg, not the other team. If we dont beat ourselves, the sky is the limit.
Looking to avenge last years loss to Clackamas, Newberg will host the Cavaliers at 7 p.m. Friday.