Mapleton d Yoncalla
Oct. 16, 2019 — Almost four minutes had passed in the first quarter of Mapleton last home football game of the season, and the mood was tense.
The score was 0-0, an oddity for the Sailors which had become accustomed to exploding out of the gate under the Friday night lights with touchdowns 14 seconds into the game.
“We had kids in different spots,” Coach Jeff Green said. “We were trying to get everything out to the edge because I knew they were going to try and stop JJ [Neece]. I wanted to get some bubble routes going to get that defense spread out. They were all in the box loaded up.”
Greene wanted to send a message to Yoncalla — “We don’t just have JJ. We have a lot of weapons we could use,” Greene said.
Four minutes into the game, Justyce Wierichs ran an option for 50 yards, scoring the first touchdown of the game. After that, everything started to pick up. After a few stuffs and a recovered onside kick, the score was 20-0. By the end of the night, the Sailors took it 48-14, marking the sixth straight win for the Sailors, which maintain their perfect run for the year.
“When you play good teams, you’re not going to score in 14 seconds,” Greene said. “It’s going to be harder to score. That was the best team we’ve played so far. It just gets tougher and tougher.”
One of the biggest highlights of the evening was that the Sailors walked away without any big injuries, an issue that has been plaguing the team the past few weeks.
“That’s huge. We don’t have a whole lot of kids, and when you come away healthy and you beat a physical team like that, it’s something to be proud of,” Greene said. “I thought we played tough.”
Neece dominated the offense with 23 rushes for 201 yards, 122 yards passing and two touchdowns.
Greene pointed out freshman Cody Wierichs as a standout, zeroing in on defense and doing “an amazing job on offense. I thought he did a phenomenal job.” He also gave a shout-out to Philip Burnett on defense, “stuffing and stopping them doing a really great job.”
This Friday, the Sailor’s will be playing at Lowell to determine who they’ll face in the playoffs.
“We got the showdown this week,” Greene said. “We’re playing for the number one seed this week. The road goes to Lowell, and that’s who we’ve got to beat this Friday.
“It’s probably going to be the game of the week.”
Kick-off for Frida’s game is set for 7 p.m.
(Note: Friday was also Mapleton’s Homecoming, during which seniors Trinity Holmes and Cody Soverns were crowned queen and king. Look for a collection of photos and a full listing of the 2019 Homecoming Court in this Saturday’s edition (Oct. 19)