Falcons fall in opener

Michael Lodell, a junior linebacker who led South Whidbey Saturday with 110 yards of rushing, breaks loose early against Port Townsend. - Jennifer Conway
Michael Lodell, a junior linebacker who led South Whidbey Saturday with 110 yards of rushing, breaks loose early against Port Townsend.
— image credit: Jennifer Conway

Timing. It's about timing.

Opening their season with a daytime game Saturday, timing was what the South Whidbey Falcon football team was trying to find on its passing plays.

Though first-time starter and senior quarterback Travis Tornga was not shy about airing the ball out in the Falcons 36-6 loss to Port Townsend at Waterman Field, not much was connecting downfield. Though bolstered by 110 yards of rushing and a touchdown courtesy of junior Michael Lodell, the Falcons fell the way of their passes as only two of 19 balls connected for a short 17 yards.

"It's just a timing thing," said Falcon head coach Mark Hodson this week, after reviewing tapes of the game with his players Monday.

Hodson said there was a lot to like about Saturday's game, outside of a second quarter in which Port Townsend piled on more than 20 points. Giving his team credit for playing solid football in the other three quarters, he said his players learned quite a bit about their strengths and weaknesses before going into this Friday's North Cascades Conference opener against Blaine.

They also learned about Port Townsend's strengths.

"They were very much better than us in the second quarter," he said.

Noting that the Falcon defense was inconsistent throughout the game, Hodson nonetheless gave credit to double duty player Lodell for making a strip and fumble recovery on defense, and to junior defensive lineman Sheridan Catlin. Catlin's ability to get into Port Townsend's offensive backfield was key on a number of plays, he said.

Equally matched in size with Port Townsend, the Falcons didn't take a physical beating Saturday. Their offensive line protected Tornga well, allowing him to be sacked just twice.

To prepare for this weeks game, the Falcons will be working on syncing up their passer and receivers. It's only a small adjustment that's needed, Hodson said, since the team's receivers had no trouble getting open against Port Townsend.

The Falcons beat Blaine last year 46-16 for their only victory against a northern NCC team. Friday night's game starts at 7:30 p.m. at Waterman Field.

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