Whether they won or lost, teams find lessons in first football games

There were lessons to be learned Friday night for the local football teams, some were more costly than others.

The St. Helens Lions picked up a win in their first game against a Cleveland team that was maybe notby: SELF-PORTRAIT - Sports Editor John Brewington the best team ever seen on the Lions’ field.

Still, Cleveland had some weapons and surely weren’t to be taken lightly.

The Lions’ defense fired up the team with a blocked punt and a recovery in the end zone for the first touchdown. The Lions’ offense went to work and scored 22 first-half points for a 29-0 lead at halftime. They added another touchdown in the second half and led 36-0.

With a young, mostly inexperienced team Coach John England rightly wanted to get in some additional players for experience. Trouble was, after his starters, the ranks are pretty young and some hadn’t even seen a lot of jayvee action.

England said he expected Cleveland to score in the late going, but thought they make take a drive to do it and eat up a lot of clock. He didn’t expect several quick plays for scores and the game to all of a sudden be in reach for Cleveland.

Before the Lions knew what hit them, the Warriors were within two touchdowns. That made England a little antsy and back in went the first string. That quickly put an end to things.

The Lions learned what they already knew—they don’t have a lot of depth. They had a small turnout. While the starters had a good game and did some good things, the reserve defense wasn’t quite up to speed just yet.

The Lions also learned that you don’t always celebrate when you clobber a running back in the end zone. Particularly when you knock off his helmet and he appears to be at the least dazed, and maybe unconscious. He was okay, but a little woozy and unsteady on his feet. He returned to the game a bit later. It was another lesson learned: take a look before you celebrate.

St. Helens has a tough opponent this Friday in Wilsonville. It may be a little out of their reach, but the team can take a little confidence from their last game and an upset wouldn’t be beyond comprehension.

The Scappoose Indians proved quick studies Friday in their game with Roosevelt, just not quick enough.

Coach Sean McNabb readily acknowledges the team made some fundamental mistakes along the way. They weren’t quick enough on the corners, there were some turnovers, some missed tackles and missed blocks. The Indians found themselves up against a really quick, athletic team and they struggled in the first half of the game.

Roosevelt has come a long way in the last few years. Just last year they were playing an independent schedule in the 4A ranks. They are back to 5A this year, and are much improved from past teams. It’s been a community effort, and the hard work is paying off.

Later in the year, the Indians might have been able to stop the bleeding sooner and pull off a win. Friday it was just a bit too big a step.

Scappoose did learn some things and got themselves in a position to pull off a win.

The game was fairly close in the first half but with a couple minutes before the halftime break, Roosevelt quickly scored twice and the Indians found themselves down by three touchdowns. At one point, they trailed 42-14.

The Tribe came fighting back in the second half and got within one score. They had a chance to tie or go ahead, too.

It was a good lesson in character for the Tribe and they showed quite a bit. They adapted and made a game out of what could have been an embarrassing loss. It was anything but that.

The Indians also showed they have some talented people, but just need a bit more seasoning.

The game pointed out to McNabb areas where the Tribe needs to improve. It’s a good object lesson and gives Scappoose a gauge on where they are and where they want to be.

They’ll face a different type of team this week. Not a quick scrambling team, but a smash-mouth team that wants to jam the ball down their throats. It will be a chance to gain some experience in a different way. The Indians are progressing and unlike St. Helens, they get some pre-league games to work things out. If they stay healthy and start firing on all cylinders they could go quite a way.

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