Pioneers drop another close game, still winless

by: KRISTOPHER ANDERSON - After a close week-one loss to Hood RIver, Sandys first game at its new field was spoiled in a 28-14 defeat to Wilson.

If Sandy's ability to compete and nearly complete a comeback last week was a step forward for the program, then this week was a step back.

While the Pioneers got better with every quarter during their opening week loss to Hood River, this Friday against the Wilson Trojans featured a slow decline from start to finish.

Sandy surrendered its second half momentum, blew a third-quarter lead and lost its second close game of season, 28-14, at Sandy High School.

The game was in the Pioneers' favor after scoring on their first possession of the second half. But in one play the life was sucked from their sideline.

Crafton Chamberlin, Sandy's highly-touted offensive lineman who's starting at center as only a freshman, injured his knee midway through the third quarter, and without speculating too much, it appeared to be severe.

After several minutes, he was finally helped to the sideline, and from that point forward, Sandy (0-2), concerned over the health of an important player, was never the same.

The Pioneers punted just a few plays later, and Wilson (1-1) proceeded to put together an 80-yard touchdown drive to take a 21-14 lead.

Sandy's offense became stagnant, failing to create any type of continuity. The defense was browbeaten, worked into subm.ission by Wilson's offense, which was the more energized bunch

Missing desire, will and fight, this team didn't seem as far removed from last season as many might have believed.

Wilson put the game out of reach midway through the fourth quarter with a 42-yard touchdown run by tailback Cory Hincks.


Wilson took advantage of Sandy's tackling issues early. Going for it on four-and-4 on Sandy's 30-yard line, the Trojans handed the ball to their speedy tailback, Hincks, who made his way through a gapping hole at the line, cutback, broke a couple tackles and scampered into end zone.

That gave Wilson a 7-0 lead with eight minutes left in the first quarter.

That was pretty much the story of the night.

Whether it was wide receivers in the secondary or running backs coming off the line, the Pioneers struggled to wrap guys up.

Even on Hincks 42-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, he broke two tackles before breaking away from everyone.


In the locker room at halftime, coaches talked about a possible mismatch between wide receiver Karsten Short and his assigned cornerback. When Sandy tried to exploit it in the second half, the coaches turned out to be right.

On their first possession of the third quarter, the Pioneers went 64 yard on six plays, and Short was the star of the drive.

He hauled in four receptions for 59 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown catch, which gave Sandy a 14-7 lead, its first of the game.

But on each of Sandy's ensuing drives, Short was rarely targeted again. The Pioneers didn't call plays that went in his direction, and he became a forgotten weapon at a time when the offense was desperate for playmakers.

After the game, head coach Greg Barton said that was an issue he noticed and he'll discus it with the coaching staff this week.


Sandy lost its grasp on an early scoring opportunity in the first quarter, which would have tied the game.

The Pioneers gained possession inside Wilson territory after the Trojans fumbled a punt. On third down deep in Wilson's end, Sandy's quarterback Justin Adams completed a pass to wide receiver Josh Visan. But free safety Tyler Lunceford forced a fumble with a hit just after the reception, which Wilson recovered on its own eight-yard line.


An offense that had slowly been gaining momentum with each possession, completed a drive with help from tremendous field position in the second quarter.

A muffed punt gave Sandy the ball on Wilson's 23-yard line. The drive opened with an important 11-yard run by Jeremy Funk.

A few plays later and looking to pound the ball, the Pioneers gave it to their toughest runner to tackle, Adams, who powered his way into the end zone on a 4-yard run, which tied the game at 7-7 midway through the second quarter.


One of the questions for Sandy entering the second half: would Adams and his receivers get in sync? That was one of the issues holding back the Pioneers' offense in the first half, as every deep throw landed a couple feet in front of the receiver.

The Pioneers took over on their own 40-yard line with 40 seconds left until halftime. They aired it out on the first play, and wide receiver Karsten Short had his defender beat by a couple steps. If it was completed, most likely it'd be a touchdown. But the throw was too long for the speedy Short.

Both teams would go into halftime tied at 7-7.

On the other side of halftime, Adams and his receivers found some chemistry at times, but, in only the second game of the season, it was clear this group still needed a little more time to gel.


Sandy's already thin offensive line took a big hit with the loss of freshman center Crafton Chamberlin. Chamberlin left the game late in the third quarter with an apparent knee injury.

Chamberlin's exit showed how little depth Sandy has at the line.

Kevin TenEyck, who converted to the offensive line just this off-season, moved to center, and Peter Limbaugh, a sophomore, came off the bench and entered at left tackle.

The Pioneers showed improvement in their ability to protect their quarterback on Friday. After being pushed around by Hood River, the line was a little more solid, and the frequent blitzes didn't reach Adams as much as they did in week one.

Barton was pleased with the line's performance.

"The offensive line played well," he said. "They did enough to give us a chance to win."


Wyatt Edwards, who hopes to earn all-league honors in football and soccer during the fall season, was a perfect 2-for-2 on extra point attempts and also had two touchbacks.

He's now 6-for-6 on extra points through two games this season.

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