Lions let game with Rex Putnam slip away
St. Helens leads midway through the fourth, but falters at end
Despite the rain, a slippery ball, and some inconsistency the St. Helens Lions stayed with Rex Putnam almost to the end on Friday night.
The Lions fought their way back from an 18-6 halftime deficit in the contest, to pull within two points in the third quarter. Joey Beggio picked off a screen pass to end a Putnam threat and returned it 85 yards for a go-ahead touchdown.
The kids played hard, St. Helens Coach John England said. It would have been a great win for us, particularly since they out gained us by a 2-1 ratio.
Both teams had trouble hanging onto the ball in a steady rain, the first in the area for the last three months.
The Lions were first on board in the contest with a six-yard run from Tanner Long. Putnam would score the next three touchdownsa 43-yard run, a 13-yard fumble recovery, and a 55-yard punt return.
The Lions got back in the game early in the second half. Quarterback Gage Bumgardner found Long on a 69-yard pass play. Nathan Reed added the PAT kick and the Lions trailed by just six.
The Lions were kicking away from Deshawn Stephens and they got a break with a fumbled onsides kick. They punched the ball down to the Putnam 23 and Reed was good on a 38-yard field goal. It was just a two-point game.
The teams bogged down into the fourth quarter and then the Kingsmen started a drive. They got to the Lions 15 when Joey Beggio picked off a pass and then outran Putnam for a score.
Hes a defensive end and its not like a zone blitz play, England said. He doesnt rush but stays on the line and looks for a screen pass. We call it Goggles. I give him credit for making the call, reading it. He almost made that catch against Hood River. I think he just willed himself into the end zone.
England said Beggio played very well.
What a great game Joey Beggio had. He had 10 tackles, 4-5 assists, six tackles for losses and two sacks. He had the interception return for a touchdown, and then picked up 23 yards. Not bad for a senior on Senior Night, England said.
The Lions had the lead with 6:15 remaining in the game. Putnam would take the kickoff and drive the ball down the field. Just seven plays later they were back in the end zone, scoring from the eight with 3:51 left in the game. It was just a 25-22 lead, though.
A penalty on the kickoff, a fumble, one completed pass, and another dropped pass would turn the ball right back to Putnam deep in St. Helens territory. The Kingsmen sealed the deal with a short drive for the insurance score.
We had numerous fumbled snaps (under center) in the game, England said. Thats why we went away from that to the shot gun. Gage through the ball pretty well, but 4-5 passes were just dropped. With the quarterback exchange not getting done, it slowed down the timing in the veer offense. We tried snapping the ball to the running back, but our timing was off. We were not sustaining blocks as well as we should have.
The loss dropped St. Helens down to 30th in the OSAA power rankings. The Lions need to be 24th to make the play-in round.
The club faces Parkrose (0-5, 2-5) this week. Their wins came in the first two games against PIL teams, Franklin and Madison.
Weve watched them on film and their doing a lot of different things (on offense). Theyre struggling a bit, England said.
We have to get this win and take it week by week, England added. The system is new to us. You can lose to a good team and rise in the rankings and beat another team and fall. Supposedly it all works out by the end of the season. Right now were concerned about getting the team to play better against Parkrose.
Putnam 6 12 0 1432
St. Helens 6 0 10 622
SHTanner Long 6-yard run (kick failed)
RPTucker Fleischmann 43-yard run (kick failed)
RPDeshawn Stephens 13-yard run (run failed)
RPStephens 55-yard punt return (run failed)
SHLong 69-yard pass from Gage Bumgardner (Nathan Reed kick)
SHReed 38-yard field goal
SHJoey Beggio 85-yard interception return (pass failed)
RPMax Bailey 6-yard run (Annabella Geist kick)
RPBailey 3-yard run (Geist kick)