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Lions top Sandy for second win

St. Helens picks up a NWOC victory, and readies for Scappoose
by: Kristopher M. Anderson DOWNFIELD—St. Helens’ Dallas Thompson rolls out for a pass during Friday’s game with Sandy. The Lions took the lead in the first quarter and never trailed in the contest, winning 21-12.

The St. Helens Lions emerged from a physical game at Sandy on Friday night with their second win of the season and their first league win.

'It was a very physical game,' St. Helens coach John England said of the 21-12 win. 'We didn't move the ball offensively like we have, but a lot of that had to do with the Sandy defense. They had a lot of veterans on the defensive line.'

The Lions never trailed in the game and were first on board with a first-quarter, 85-yard pass play from quarterback Dallas Thompson to Jesse Wright.'

'It was play action,' England said. 'We faked a run and they brought everybody up. Jesse caught it in stride about 30 yards down the field and ran it in the last 50.'

With Eldon Ralls' kick, the Lions led 7-0, and that score stood through halftime.

The Lions rushed for just 106 yards in the contest on 34 carries. Dumitri Malnasi had 84 of those yards on 19 carries.

While the Lions weren't blistering the field in scoring, they were putting up a stingy defense that left Sandy with just 99 yards on 31 carries.

'The kids were forced to compete really hard and we did,' England added. 'We were really good on special teams. We had zero turnovers and they had four.'

Sandy closed in on St. Helens in the third quarter with a 15-yard run for a score. Sophomore Cory West blocked the extra point kick and the Lions stayed up by one.

Just a bit later in the quarter, Wright forced a fumble and recovered it himself, giving the Lions good field position at the Sandy 30. They punched the ball towards the goal line and Malnasi took it over from five yards out. Ralls connected again and the Lions led 14-6.

Zak Blackburn, a senior, helped put the capper on the game for the Lions. He picked off a Sandy pass at the 17 and returned it for a touchdown.

Sandy responded by driving the field and scoring.

'They went for two and our defense stopped them,' England said. 'Sandy tried an onsides kick, but Jesse Wright got on the ball. We milked the clock out after that.'

England said Malnasi had 84 yards rushing in the game, 'and every one of those was tough. There were not a lot of holes. Dallas Thompson was 3 of 8 for 97 yards. Our offensive line has some work to do, but we did enough, played smart, and held onto the ball.'

The win moved the Lions to 2-0 on the season and 1-0 in the Northwest Oregon Conference. It also put St. Helens in the top 10 in the Oregon School Activities Association rankings in a tie with Woodburn for ninth.

The Lions travel to Scappoose for a revival of their traditional rivalry this Friday. The two teams last played in 1999.

SCORING

St. Helens 7 0 7 7-21

Sandy 0 0 6 6-12

SH-Jesse Wright 85 yard pass from Dallas Thompson (Eldon Ralls kick)

Sa-Dustin Spencer 15 yard run (kick blocked)

SH-Dumitri Malnasi 5 yard run (Ralls kick)

SH-Zak Blackburn 17 yard interception return (Ralls kick)

Sa-Kyle Bateman 16 yard run (run failed)

Next Up

Opponent: Scappoose Indians

Record: 2-0

Last Opponent: Beat North Marion, 51-12

Ranking: T-9th

Offense: Spread Offense

Defense: 3-4

Notable: Scappoose has scored 89 points in their first two games.

Quote:

'They have a lot of weapons and look pretty quick on tape. They like to spread out the ball and their quarterback is a playmaker who runs things pretty well.'

-John England