Redskins tackle Falcons in non-conference match-up

Keith Ryder of the South Whidbey Falcons runs through an attempted toe tackle while racking up yards for the Falcons’ ground game against the Redskins. - Brian Kelly
Keith Ryder of the South Whidbey Falcons runs through an attempted toe tackle while racking up yards for the Falcons’ ground game against the Redskins.
— image credit: Brian Kelly

Strong Falcon defense and individual heroics couldn’t stop the Port Townsend Redskins from shutting out South Whidbey High School 21-0 Saturday afternoon in the first game of the season.

“We were pretty pumped up the first half,” Falcon quarterback Danny Parra recalled.

“I think we just got tired, especially after that first Redskin touchdown,” he said.

Both teams maintained a predictable ground attack the first quarter as if the coaches wanted to ensure all the cobwebs were cleared from the off-season.

And there were cobwebs — the Redskins dropped a punt on the 48 yard-line, recovered by outside linebacker Keith Ryder in a sharp heads-up play — and Falcon fullback James Mitchell fumbled away a fourth-down opportunity as the first period ended. Neither team cashed in as defense ruled Waterman Field.

A spark of excitement rustled the 85 or so fans on hand in the second play of the second quarter as Parra found tight end Tyler Kinser for a first down. A Redskin face mask penalty added 10 yards and it looked as if the Falcon offense might score.

But it was not to be. Parra’s unexpected throw on fourth and short with 8:10 left failed to connect and Port Townsend took over. Nathan Frei’s open field tackle on Redskin Sloan Gutierrez helped keep the Redskins in check, as did Parra’s airborne sideways shoulder tackle.

Parra noted later, “It was like I thought it would be, the defense played well through the third quarter. I have to admit, I’m a little sore today.”

Following Coach Mark Hodson’s smash-and-grab game plan, the Falcon offense managed four first downs in a row. But with 2:47 left in the third, Parra charged the Redskin left once too often, lost the ball and two plays later, Gutierrez broke free for 70 yards and the touchdown.

“We had a good drive going,” Ryder said. “But once that ended we didn’t hold together as a team.”

“At first, you think with one TD you can get it back,” Parra said. “But with their second we lost the drive needed to do it.”

Port Townsend took advantage, gaining a second touchdown with 8:15 left and a third plus a two-point conversion as the game ended.

Other than Kinser’s fine quarterback sack in the middle of the fourth, the Falcons’ lack of intensity finally took its toll on the South Whidbey defense.

“We could get it into the red zone but not the end zone,” Ryder said. “The coach told us after the game, ‘Of the three years we’ve played Port Townsend, this was our best showing.’”

Friday night, the Falcons welcome the Sedro-Woolley Cubs, 7:30 p.m. at Waterman Field.

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