(Photo by Mark Brennan/Siuslaw News)
N. Douglas: 36
It was only a week ago that the Mapleton Sailors football team suffered a 94-44 loss to Yoncalla.
But what a difference a week can make.
Coming into last Friday’s homecoming game against North Douglas, the Sailors were the underdogs against a team that has been steamrolling opponents in the preseason.
“We talked a lot about believing in ourselves, each other and coaches,” said Mapleton head coach Jeff Greene. “We also talked about the incredible community support we’ve received.”
It obviously had an impact.
As Greene and his coaches climbed the hill behind the locker room toward the practice field to get the team to warm up before Friday’s game, they were met with something they’d never seen before.
“The team was already up there, warming up and getting ready without us,” said Greene. “I knew right then that this group was ready to do something special.”
Before the night was over, the Sailors would rush for 532 yards, including 8 touchdowns and 4 conversions.
“A big part of our success was our offensive line, which just got better and better as the night went on,” Greene said. “Dylan Rogers, Tanner Wilson, Nate Neece and JJ Neece kept making holes in the defense all night and created scoring opportunities.”
Senior Dominic Wells at quarterback claimed 162 yards on 16 carries, including 3 touchdowns and a pair of conversions. Junior wide receiver Evan Moso had 290 yards on 16 carries for 3 TDs and a conversion, and freshman wide receiver JJ Neece had 80 yards, including 1 touchdown rushing and 1 TD receiving.
Meanwhile, on the defensive end, the Sailors were able to hold North Douglas scoreless in the red zone on three occasions.
“That was huge for us,” said Greene.
Key to that defensive performance was Wells, who had 18 tackles on the night, along with a deflection and caused-fumble.
“He was an animal on defense,” Greene said of Wells.
Freshman Trysten Wagner had 5 tackles, along with 6 tackles from Moso, 7 from Wilson and 9 from Nate Neece.
“Football is 80 percent emotional, with 20 percent technique — and the team played both at a level they’d never played before,” said Greene.
Mapleton was up 30-14 at the half, and though North Douglas was able to rally within 6 points in the second half, “Our kids found another gear and just shut the rally down,” Greene said. “They finished strong and left no doubts.”
It was also Mapleton’s homecoming night, with princesses and princes gathering at halftime for the crowning of king and queen.
The Mapleton 2017 Homecoming Court included:
Princess Trinity Peterson and Prince Jeremy Bender
Princess Trinity Holmes and Prince Nathaniel Neece
Princess Brittany Wilson and Prince Evan Moso
Princess Erin Michael and Prince Tanner Wilson
Queen Alexis Gierke and King Dominic Wells
Friday, the Sailors will host Siletz Valley, beginning at 7 p.m.