Braves still finding their stride
Banks offense sputters, but still does enough to procure a 27-13 non-league win against visiting Sweet Home
Banks is still working out some kinks, especially on the offensive side of the football, but two clutch special teams plays helped the Braves build an early lead against Sweet Home Friday night, and Banks held on in the second half to even its early-season record with a 27-13 non-league win.
Banks (1-1) struggled to run the football for the second straight week, getting dominated in total yards and time of possession by the visiting Huskies, but a pair of timely special teams plays helped the Braves build a 14-0 first-quarter lead that ultimately proved to be the difference in the game.
Senior Graysen Partain fielded the games opening kickoff at his own 8-yard line, found a seam in the defense and raced 92 yards for a touchdown that gave Banks a quick 7-0 lead.
After forcing Sweet Home (0-2) to punt on its opening possession, Banks junior Garrett Markham alertly scooped up a live ball and returned it inside the red zone, setting up an 11-yard touchdown run by Dakota Kemper.
That gave Banks a 14-0 lead after running just one offensive play.
It was kind of a funky deal. I think we only ran 12 offensive plays in the first half, Banks head coach Ben Buchanan said. I think we made some big strides, but its a hard game to judge because we just didnt have the ball that much.
The teams traded touchdowns the rest of the way, with Banks maintaining its lead on a pair of short touchdown receptions by senior Zach Olsen. The first came in the third quarter, a 3-yard pass from Partain that put the Braves ahead 20-7, and the second came early in the fourth quarter, a 1-yard strike from Partain that made it 27-7.
Partain completed 6-of-9 passes for 60 yards, including the two touchdowns to Olsen, and the senior quarterback added 149 return yards.
He had the one real nice return for the touchdown, and he probably should have returned another one, Buchanan said. He juked the kicker, but he kind of lost his momentum and got caught from behind.
All totaled, Banks had 161 yards of total offense to 242 for Sweet Home, and the Huskies also dominated the time of possession.
They were strictly a running team just pound, pound, pound, Buchanan said. I thought our defense played well. We did a pretty good job up front, especially with how much (Sweet Home) pounded the rock.
Banks will host a rebuilding Benson program this Friday before facing a big test on Sept. 21 against defending Class 4A state champion La Salle. One week after that, the Braves will open Cowapa League play against Scappoose.
Were still a work in progress. Were not clicking offensively, especially up front, Buchanan said. But were just a few little things away from being able the run the ball pretty well. The guys are getting there. We made some big improvements from week one to week two.
Weve just got to execute. Its all about getting these guys running efficiently and getting the running game going.