ROCK CREEK — Motivation.
It came easy for the Sherwood High School football team.
All the Bowmen had to do was think back a year ago — and they were more than ready to go.
The motivated Sherwood squad, which fell 27-21 at home to Westview in overtime to start the 2016 season, got a big measure of revenge, as it rolled to a 34-12 victory over the Wildcats in a non-league season-opener played Friday at Westview High School.
"It was good to get them back," said Sherwood senior running back/safety Zach Jenkins, who had both a touchdown run and an interception in Friday's opener. "Yeah, that was motivation. We lost to them last year, and we didn't want it to happen again."
"It was big motivation," Sherwood senior lineman Nic Garrison said. "Since they came to our house, and beat us there last year to start the season, we wanted to return the favor. Ever since last year, we just really wanted to beat them."
With the victory, the Bowmen got their season off to a 1-0 start, which, they say, is a lot better than last year, when Sherwood got off to a 0-3 start to the season.
"Our main goal was to go 1-0," Jenkins said.
"This was really important," Garrison said. "This gives us momentum for the next game, and for the rest of the season."
"Getting this first win was important," said Sherwood senior tight end Sterling Goldstein, who had three catches for 42 yards. "I think we're a really good team this year, and we're all close — all the classes."
The young Westview squad, while getting off to a 0-1 start to the season, is looking to benefit from Friday's contest.
"Obviously, we wanted to win," said Westview senior linebacker Jhamante Woods, who had a quarterback sack and a forced fumble in the game. "But our guys played with a lot of heart. We're going to learn from this game, work hard and bounce back strong."
"For a first game, I think it went pretty good," said Westview junior quarterback Cielo Del Rosario, who ran for a touchdown and threw a touchdown pass in Friday's game. We knew that Sherwood was going to come out hard, but we didn't give up — my team doesn't give up. We got those first-inning jitters out of the way, and I think we'll be fine."
The Bowmen got off to a fast start in Friday's game, scoring on their first offensive possession. Senior Rustin Williams capped off a five-play, 56-yard drive with a 33-yard touchdown run up the middle. Sophomore Kaden Steindorf add the first of his four extra-point kicks on the night, giving Sherwood a 7-0 lead with 7 minutes and 37 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
Westview was able to answer back early in the second quarter. A 16-yard pass fro Del Rosario to senior receiver Matthew Imper helped set up a 12-yard touchdown strike from Del Rosario to junior Ben Keeney, who was open in the left side of the end zone.
The extra-point pass failed, leaving Sherwood with a 7-6 lead with 11:16 remaining before halftime.
The Wildcats, on their next possession, had a chance to claim the lead, as they moved the ball to the Sherwood 29-yard line. But the Bowmen got a fourth-down quarterback sack by junior Carter Atkins to regain the ball — and regain momentum.
And Sherwood ran with it. The Bowmen moved the ball all the way to the Westview one-yard line, where they faced fourth and goal.
Jenkins, getting the ball on a double handoff, sprinted untouched to the right side of the end zone for a touchdown, giving Sherwood a 14-6 lead with 1:11 left in the second quarter.
"It worked for us earlier in the game," Jenkins said of the play. "So we went back to it."
The score stayed at 14-6 throughout the third quarter, but, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Sherwood senior fullback Carsen Christensen rushed 11 yards up the middle for a touchdown, giving the Bowmen a 21-6 advantage.
Westview came fighting back. Del Rosario capped off an 80-yard drive, which included a 27-yard pass to Imper, who made a diving catch at the Sherwood one-yard line, with a 3-yard touchdown run on a scramble, cutting the Bowmen lead to 21-12 with 8:38 left to play in the contest.
But the Wildcats couldn't get any closer.
The Bowmen answered right back. Goldstein had a key play on the ensuing Sherwood scoring drive with a spectacular high-leaping catch — as he was getting hit from behind — for a 13-yard game.
"It was up there," Goldstein said with a smile. "Last year, against Camas (Wash.), I had a play just like that, but I dropped the ball when I got hit. I said, 'that's not happening again. I got it, and I'm not letting go.'"
Goldstein's catch set up a 2-yard touchdown blast by junior Ian Stormont. Then, after Bowmen senior Mitchell Leach recovered a Westview fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Stormont scored again. This time, he reached the end zone from 30 yards out, carrying a handful of Westview defenders with him to the goal line, capping off the scoring in the Bowmen's 34-12 victory.
"It was our offensive line, and our entire defense," Goldstein said of the key to victory.
"We made some mistakes, but we're happy," Jenkins said. "We really wanted to win this game."
"This was a lot of fun," Garrison said.
The Bowmen, behind the offensive line of senior Spencer Shadbolt, junior Jackson Barton, sophomore Nick Severson, Garrison and senior Griffen Stevens, among others, rushed for 217 yards on 47 carries.
Stormont, who didn't get a carry until the fourth quarter, led all rushers in the game with 66 yards on five carries. Williams ran for 47 yards on four carries and Jenkins had 32 yards on six carries.
Wyatt Zettlemoyer, making his debut at starting quarterback for the Bowmen, completed eight of 11 pass attempts for 104 yards.
For the Sherwood defense, Atkins had two tackles for losses to go with his quarterback sack. Jenkins and junior Ben Baxter each had an interception and Severson, Barton, Garrison and junior Jakob McCreery each had a tackle for a loss.
"We were just flying around on defense," Garrison said. "That's how our defense works."
For Westview, Del Rosario completed 16 of 31 pass attempts for 209 yards.
"I have to give a lot of credit to our line," he said. "It was a heck of a job by our line. We had a bunch of champions playing out there tonight. We played with a lot of heart."
Junior Michael Even Williamson had five catches for 54 yards for the Wildcats. Imper had four receptions for 75 yards and Keeney had four catches for 47 yards.
Senior Arturo Gutierrez led Westview in rushing with 52 yards on 15 carries.
Woods had a big game for the Westview defense, with a quarterback sack, a forced fumble and a tackle for a loss.
"We have to be more physical," he said. "They came out and played physical. We have to match that. It was definitely intense out there, especially after last year. We're going to come back strong."
Also for the Westview defense, senior defensive back Gavin Lloyd had an interception and a tackle for a loss. Sophomore Harrison Green had a fumble recovery.
Both teams will be back in action next Friday. Sherwood will host Camas, Wash., and Westview will play at Jefferson. Both of those non-league games are set to start at 7 p.m.