Despite missing key pieces on both offense and defense, Indians have more than enough to blow past Astoria

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Jonathan Tardiff (15) saw a solid chunk of time at linebacker on Friday, with several key members of the defense sidelined for the night. Tardiff was able to pick off Astoria quarterback Dyllan Sollars late in the fourth quarter. The Indians might have been sporting a number of unfamiliar faces, but none of that mattered. Depth and an ability to step up when the team calls, as head coach Sean McNabb has preached all season, made a huge impact on Friday night. Behind a big game from backup quarterback Joey Krupsky, No. 3 Scappoose (7-2, 6-1 Cowapa) ran over Astoria (2-7, 1-4 Cowapa) by a score of 43-20 in their season finale.

More importantly, the Indians were able to hold on to their place in the rankings. Because Scappoose finished as the highest-ranked team to finish second in their league, they will host a first-round playoff game on Friday, Nov. 8 against a winner from the play-in round. No. 6 Banks, the only Cowapa League team to defeat the Indians, will also host a first-round playoff game.

The bye week gives Scappoose an all-important extra week of rest, something they greatly need after a rough regular-season run left the Tribe banged up all across their roster. In addition to starting quarterback Taylor Loss, who sustained a sprained ankle on Oct. 18, Scappoose was also without linebackers Lionel Sandoval and Owen Fortney. A number of other players have missed time due to injury and sickness in the last several games, but McNabb had his players prepared well.

“I’m really proud of them [and] impressed with the way they stepped up,” he said. “It’s not always easy to get thrown into the mix. You don’t have a lot of time to get yourself ready. You don’t get a lot of reps all season long with your number ones, but I was really happy with the way those guys stepped up.”

Defensively, the Indians put on a show. After struggling to slow Astoria in the early going, Scappoose was able to wear the offensive line down, pressuring Fisherman quarterback Dyllan Sollars into two second-half interceptions.

Tribe junior Jonathan Tardiff was one of the players called to fill in for Sandoval, who has been one of the team’s best in the pass rush all season. In the fourth quarter, Tardiff had several consecutive plays where he found his way into the backfield, with no one between him and Sollars. At that point, he says, there isn’t much going through his head.

“Get him,” said Tardiff. “I see red and I just want to get it."

Tardiff also came up with an interception in the fourth quarter with just a few minutes remaining, effectively sealing the game for Scappoose.

“That ball, as it was thrown up - I saw the defender, he didn’t even see me creeping up on him - he jumped too early,” he said. “I had perfect timing, jumped right over him and got it.

The other big play on defense belonged to Krupsky. It was an impressive performance for Krupsky, who threw for a pair of touchdowns and rushed for two more. Also getting the start on defense, Krupsky made a diving interception in the third quarter to set up the Indians’ final touchdown.

“They threw the pass, and the defender didn’t even see it,” said Krupsky. “I just jumped higher and made the grab.”

It was the first start at quarterback for Krupsky, who was called upon just before halftime during the game against Seaside to take over for Loss. Though Loss is slated to return for the Indians’ playoff game, Krupsky was proud to have the trust of the coaches.

“It feels great knowing that the coaches rely on me and trust me like that with the team,” he said. “Not letting them down and getting a big win like this feels great.”

McNabb plans to use the bye week to rest up and tune up before hitting the gridiron once again in two weeks. There were some areas of concern for the Indians, despite the 23-point victory and a line up littered with backups. Scappoose struggled with their extra point tries, with their first two being blocked.

“We’ve got to fine tune some things. We’ve got to work on our special teams. Our (point after touchdowns), we’ve got to perfect that,” he said. “It’s a nice opportunity, if you get the bye, you can spend some time working on the fundamentals that you don’t have time to work on during the thick of things.”

The added rest time will greatly benefit the Indians, who had Loss return to practice on Monday afternoon, following a week of rest. In addition, senior playmaker Justice Oman wasn’t quite a 100 percent for the Tribe’s win over Astoria, adding to the list of bumps and bruises the Indians’ have sustained as the season draws to a close.

The Indians’ first-round opponent will be decided on Saturday, Nov. 2.

Scappoose 12 - 6 - 12 - 13 -- 43

Astoria 6 - 7 - 7 - 0 -- 20

1st Quarter

SCP - 10:16 Joey Krupsky 22 run (Ben Gadbois kick blocked)

AST - 4:24 Nick Strange 12 pass from Dyllan Sollars (run failed)

SCP - 4:10 Justice Oman 85 kick return (Eleanor Jones kick blocked)

2nd Quarter

SCP - 11:28 Nick Rust 15 pass from Krupsky (pass failed)

AST - 3:59 Strange 5 run (Michael Johansen kick)

3rd Quarter

SCP - 10:06 Carson Davison 16 run (pass failed)

SCP - 3:06 Davison 8 run (pass failed)

AST - :31 Brandon Winters 4 run (Jonahsen kick)

4th Quarter

SCP - 11:42 Krupsky 4 run (Gadbois kick failed)

SCP - Oman 48 pass from Krupsky (Jones kick)

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