Roosevelt rolls to fourth win
- Matt Kuball
- Portland Tribune - Sports
Roosevelt High showed some guts at home, successfully defending its new, snazzy-looking turf against Franklin 30-8 on Friday.
As the resident underdog and lone Class 4A team in the PIL, the Roughriders came into the nonleague game motivated to prove themselves. Now with a record of 4-2, Roosevelt has shown it can battle. The Riders dominated Friday on both sides of the football, putting together five touchdown drives on offense, while causing four turnovers on defense.
'I'm proud of them,' Riders coach Christian Swain said of his club, which also has defeated Gladstone, Seaside and Sheridan, while losing to La Salle and Astoria. 'This is a good, solid win against a 5A team, and I think we're starting to prove where we are. This team really has a chip on its shoulder. They don't really feel like they get a lot of respect.'
Speedster running back Isiah Jones, a 5-7, 170-pound senior, led Roosevelt, as usual. He entered the game averaging 10 yards per carry and rushed 21 times for 98 yards and two scores on the artificial surface with the Nike logo.
'We really depend on him,' Swain said. 'Franklin did the best job of any team we've played this year keeping him in check, but he still played a really strong game. He does a great job for us.'
Jones was the difference early. On Roosevelt's first possession, he danced through the heart of the Quakers defense, carrying eight straight times for 47 yards and ending the drive with a 4-yard score. Jones gashed the opposition on the next series, too, high-stepping into the end zone from 17 yards.
Riders senior quarterback Juan Montoya also made his mark in the first half, tossing two touchdown passes. The first went to co-captain Alejandro Vance. Faced with a fourth-and-long, Montoya found Vance over the middle for an 86-yard foot race to the end zone. Just before the end of the first half, Montoya went to Antonio Bella, who plucked the football away from a sea of defenders and scored from the 12-yard line.
For the game, Montoya was 6 of 15 passing for 158 yards.
'(Jones) and Juan Montoya worked harder than anyone on this team in the offseason,' Swain said. 'You can see how it's translated onto the field.'
The Quakers (1-5) were able to move the ball in spurts. The game plan focused on throwing the ball, and quarterback Josh Nine connected on 18 of 40 pass attempts for 200 yards. Nine was usually looking for his favorite wide receiver, fellow senior Damian Woods, who grabbed 10 balls for 112 yards.
Franklin's only touchdown, which came in fourth quarter, was fueled by a couple costly Roughriders penalties. Those helped to set up a 7-yard rumble up the middle by 210-pound junior Joe Aguilar.
Aguilar totaled 72 yards on 13 carries.
Penalties had a tremendous impact on the game. Each team surrendered more than 100 yards, drawing several personal fouls in the battle of Portland Interscholastic League schools.
'We got a little chippy,' Swain said. 'I didn't like that. That's not something we take pride in.'
Franklin coach Richard Lex echoed Swain's disappointment with the amount of penalties and lack of discipline.
'Penalties have killed us all year,' Lex said. 'We have focus problems, discipline problems, and finish problems.'
Before the game, Swain said things were changing for Roosevelt. As the assistant athletic director, he not only has improved the football program but also has helped transform the attitudes and academic habits of his athletes.
'It's everything about this school - community support, parent involvement, the attitudes of our kids, the importance they place on academics now, and the value they see in getting a high school diploma,' Swan said. 'These are all things that are changing. When you do those things, it translates to wins on the field because the kids have the character to be winners, and that's starting to happen.'