Sandy's football team proved it can score with anyone - including ambassadors of a highly regarded Metro League - but the Pioneers could not stop Sunset's running attack, losing 49-36 Friday night.
Senior running back Tim Molloy, a 6-0, 197 pound bruiser for the Apollos, scored 4 touchdowns, including a 48-yard back-breaker in the fourth quarter that seemed to officially knock the wind out of the Pioneers.
Molloy's backfield mate Kevin Petermeyer added a little lightning to Molloy's thunder, with 2 touchdowns of his own - one on the ground and one through the air.
'Those backs are good,' Sandy coach Todd Quinsey said. 'Both of those backs. We didn't tackle well, we didn't wrap up.'
Sandy's problems were probably bigger than just Molloy and Petermeyer, though.
'Our lack of depth hurt us tonight,' Quinsey said. 'We had guys in our lineup that were playing in our JV game yesterday.'
Not helping matters was the absence of starting right guard Kevin Warren - who also plays on the Pioneers' defensive line - and fullback Chris Houle, who provides defensive line depth.
Both players were suspended for the Sunset game due to team violations.
'I'm not taking anything away from (Sunset),' Quinsey said. 'But at the same time, it hurt our depth.'
Offensively, Sandy carried over some of the firepower it displayed in its season opening win against McNary.
Junior quarterback A.J. Schnell completed 12-of-22 passes for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns. Schnell also kicked a 19-yard field goal and had a 6-yard touchdown run.
But Schnell, who seemed to be playing every position on the field except long snapper, didn't have a mistake-free night.
On third and 12 from his own 32 in the second quarter, he fired an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Sunset's Matt Frutiger.
Schnell also had another pick on the previous possession, when a pass intended for senior wideout Eugene Wright was intercepted by Sunset linebacker Kyle Shiffler.
'I think as well as we played offensively, our offense also let us down,' Quinsey said, alluding to a series in the first half that resulted in three points instead of six, and an eight-minute drive in the second half that resulted in nothing.
Schnell, though, engineered an impressive fourth quarter rally in which Sandy gnawed away at Sunset's lead (the Apollos led by as much as 15 at one point).
Schnell had a 6-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter and also fired a 60-yard bomb to junior receiver Blake Bithell that made the score Sunset 35, Sandy 29.
But then Molloy offered up his best Mike Alstott impression.
The Apollo running back rambled 48 yards for a morale-crushing touchdown that put Sunset ahead 42-29. Molloy also plowed in from four yards out a few moments later to give Sunset a 49-29 lead.
'Those backs were a load,' Quinsey said. 'They did a good job.'
Quinsey couldn't hide his disappointment after the game.
'We tried to guard against it all week, a letdown from McNary,' he said. 'That's my fault as a coach. I thought we were prepared.
'We knew what was coming, we just didn't stop them.'
The Pioneers will attempt to get back on track when Mount Hood Conference play begins vs. Barlow at Mount Hood Community College, Friday, Sept. 22.