Braves outlast Cascade in opener
Sporting a new-look offense, Banks builds an early lead and hangs on for a 31-26 win over Cascade
Banks showed off its new spread offense and survived a spirited second-half surge from Cascade on Friday night to secure a 31-26 victory in nonleague football action, and avenge a loss to the Cougars in last years season opener.
Having lost multi-talented quarterback Graysen Partain and workhorse running back Dakota Kemper to graduation, Banks head coach Ben Buchanan elected to move away from his power running game this season, installing a spread attack that relies more heavily on speed and athleticism than sheer brute force.
Tasked with running that offense is senior Garrett Markham, and he didnt disappoint in Fridays opener.The younger brother of past Banks standouts Brad and Brock Markham, Garrett did his family name proud with 306 yards of total offense and four touchdowns three passing and one rushing.
Aaron Streblow added a 36-yard field goal in the third quarter and the Banks defense snuffed out a pair of two-point conversions in the fourth to hold off a last-gasp comeback attempt from the Cougars.
We played a pretty good first half considering it was a zero week game, Buchanan said. We caught them off guard in the first half and then in the second half we kind of ran out of steam.
It was a learning experience for the guys to play with a lead like that in the second half. Cascade is a good team they went to the (Class 4A) semifinals last year. They came after us in the second half and luckily we were able to do enough to hold on.
Banks built a 21-0 halftime lead behind Markhams three touchdown passes connections of 23 and 36 yards to senior Nolan Hill in the first quarter, followed by a 27-yard hook-up to senior Devin King in the second.
After Cascade briefly cut the lead to 21-6 in the third quarter, Markham produced one more touchdown, this one a 6-yard run that pushed the Braves lead back to four scores.
I thought Garrett played really well, especially for his first start, Buchanan said. He ran the ball well and threw the ball well, and we were efficient enough on offense.
Markhams last contribution was leading the Braves on a late third-quarter drive that culminated with Streblows 36-yard kick, giving Banks a 31-14 lead going into the fourth.
Cascade made things interesting, in part by converting a staggering 10-of-13 fourth-down opportunities, and the Cougars mounted two scoring drives in the fourth quarter to pull within four points.
But that was as close as Cascade would get, and Banks walked away with an important season-opening victory.
We didnt play a perfect game, Buchanan said. We didnt block particularly well, but we were still able to run the ball and Garrett threw the ball pretty well.
There are still some things we need to clean up, but you always see the most growth between the first game and the second game.
Markham completed 15-of-23 passes for 235 yards and also ran for 71 yards on 16 carries. Andrew Santa Maria caught five passes for 67 yards, senior Joey Bonin had three catches for 40 yards, and Hill and King had two receptions apiece.
Senior running backs Mykah Rosa and Jerod Barger combined for 50 yards on the ground as Banks continues to work on its blocking schemes in the new spread offense.
In years past weve been a power-type team, running a lot of two tight end sets, Buchanan said. This year well be more of a spread team. Were working on some inside and outside zone stuff and were taking our chances down the field with the passing game.
Weve run some of it in the past, so its not totally new to us, but it will take some time to get everything running smoothly.
The Braves will hit the road this Friday for a date against Sweet Home (1-0), a 34-24 winner over Redmond last week. Fridays game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Forest Grove 35, Benson 6
Forest Grove notched a breezy victory in its football opener on Friday, getting two touchdown passes from sophomore quarterback Taylor Jensen, plus 130 rushing yards and a score from senior Gio Tayetto in a 35-6 win over Benson.
Jensen hooked up with senior Ethan Thursam for touchdown passes of 6 and 10 yards in the first quarter, and senior Zac Collins ran in a 4-yard score to make it 21-0 at halftime.
Cody Fletcher had a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown and Tayetto added a 1-yard scoring plunge in the third quarter to make it 35-0.
Gaston 20, Toledo 13
Gaston opened its 2013 football season with a win on Saturday, going on the road and beating Toledo, 20-13.
The Greyhounds trailed 7-0 at halftime, but Austin Morey scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the third quarter and Ian Mann punched into the end zone with about a minute left to lift Gaston to the win.