Falcon football opens at a loss

So close and yet so far.

That was the case for the South Whidbey High School Falcons in the opening game of the 2004 football season against the Port Townsend Redskins. In Saturday’s 38-14 loss at Port Townsend, the Falcons were on the verge of scoring against the Redskins four times when they drove the football within Port Townsend’s 20-yard line. But Port Townsend’s defense stopped them from crossing into the end zone to end the scoring threats.

The loss overshadowed good performances from the two senior rushers. Runningback Michael Lodell ran for 147 yards on 23 carries. A big chunk of that yardage yards came on a 35-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Adding more ground yardage was Lodell’s classmate, senior fullback Dane Guetlin, who rambled to 67 yards on 17 carries in the season’s only afternoon game.

Guetlin also played well on defense, leading the team in tackles while playing linebacker, said Falcon head coach Mark Hodson. Hodson also noted that senior Sheridan Catlin was dominant at defensive tackle position, causing problems for Port Townsend’s blocking unit.

“I thought we ran the ball well,” said Hodson. “The kids played hard and moved the ball effectively.”

In the passing game, senior Matt Parrick — who played in his first game as the Falcons’ starting quarterback — completed six of nine passes for 75 yards and rushed for 15 additional yards.

In the air, 15 of those yards spelled “touchdown” when Parrick struck senior wide receiver Michael McNanney in South Whidbey’s first offensive series of the season. The touchdown capped an 80-yard drive and came right after Port Townsend scored a touchdown on its opening drive. On their initial score, the Falcons could only pull within one point when their extra point attempt failed.

South Whidbey never came any closer as Port Townsend took advantage of the defensive struggles. The Redskins scored the next 31 points, before Lodell’s touchdown run brought the game back a bit in the fourth quarter.

The Falcons then finished the day’s scoring when sophomore quarterback Danny Parra, who replaced Parrick in the fourth quarter, connected with Guetlin for a two-point conversion.

Hodson said the Falcons are going to practice offensive plays designed for use inside the 20-yard line, a spot known as “the red zone.”

Looking at the game from a player’s perspective, Guetlin said the Falcons had opportunities, but things didn’t go their way.

“The score didn’t really show how close the game was,” he said.

Guetlin added that this year’s team is much better than the 2003 team, which went 2-8.

The inability to score within the red zone — including two failed attempts with fourth down and inches — and one interception made Port Towmsend’s job easier, said Hodson said.

South Whidbey stays on the road this week, with a 7:30 p.m game at Sedro-Woolley Friday.

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