Indians' Hail Mary falls short in Cottage Grove
Lions bat down Toman's last-second heave, survive 24-21
The Indians were a second and 36 yards from a win.
"It's all over," chanted the ill-advised Cottage Grove's student section, even with the Tribe deep in its territory.
Jerad Toman launched a Hail Mary with Nate Rieman, Michael Gift and Tevin Jeannis down the left seam as time expired on Friday, Sept. 16, at Don King Field in Cottage Grove, but 5-foot, 8-inch Cottage Grove senior defensive back Kory Parent batted it down at the 6-yard line and the Lions survived 24-21.
Nearly 45 traveling fans watched their Tribe (1-2 overall) intercept 6-foot, 3-inch all-Sky-Em League senior quarterback Blake Sentman three times, but sophomore wide receiver Erick Giffen's 26-yard field goal with 45 seconds left put the Lions (3-0) over the top.
The Tribe could not complete the comeback on the very field it beat North Bend in the state semifinals for its first championship appearance in 13 years.
"Right now we all need to come together and play better in our games, and that starts in practice," said Toman, a junior. "We have to be focused and finish plays. This preseason has been tough, but we have to get past that and look forward now, and that's league, so we are taking it one game at a time."
Gift returned the opening kickoff to the Indians 45, and Toman hit Jeannis left and Gift right for screens, but the 4th-and-8 pass to Gift fell incomplete at the Lions 9 with 7:17 left in the first quarter.
Jimmy Jones got a hand on Cottage Grove's punt and sent it fluttering from the Lions 9 to the Lions 25. He ran through three Cottage Grove tacklers for a 5-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead with 5:25 left in the first quarter.
The Indians sprang an onside kick on the Lions to keep Sentman off the field and recovered it at the Cottage Grove 43, but the Lions stopped Toman's 4th-and-8 scramble short at the Lions 6.
Jones picked a Sentman pass over the middle at the Indians 38 but could not pick up a first down up the middle on 4th-and-3 at the Scappoose 45.
Parent's 34-yard wide receiver pass to Giffen caught the aggressive Indians defense off-guard and put Cottage Grove ahead 7-6 with :55 left.
Sentman struck again on a 30-yard fake reverse pass and pushed the lead to 14-5 with 10:04 in the second.
Gift returned the kickoff to the Lions 45, but Toman was caught and dragged down for a six-yard loss at the Lions 12 with 6:52 to halftime.
Sentman's 23-yard pass to Parent put his side in control at 21-6 with 5:17 to the break, but the Indians struck with Jeannis' 20-yard speed slant and trailed 21-13.
Rieman kept an eye out for the next fake reverse and picked Sentman over the middle to the Indians 35 with 1:10 to intermission.
Scappoose stopped senior running back Zane Levings short on a 4th-and-13 screen, but the Lions keyed in on Toman's read option and dropped him for a loss on 4th-and-18 at the Indians 28 with 7:20 left in the third.
Gift leaned back for a one-handed pick down the left sideline at the Scappoose 20, but Cottage Grove forced a punt and led 21-13 after three.
Nate Rieman caught a wide receiver screen and ran 20 yards down the left sideline for a score. Toman, after offsetting pass interference penalties, hit Jeannis on a two-point slant from the left and the Indians tied it at 21-21 with 7:45 left in the game.
Levings took a catch over the middle to his own 24 with the clock winding at 3:19. Sentman threw a 4th-and-12 pass across his body for 17 yards, but Margheim dragged Lions junior wide receiver Hayden Glenn down on a reverse with a minute to play. Jones laid a big hit as Sentman ran a keeper, but Giffen split the uprights on 4th-and-9 from the Indians 11 and Cottage Grove led 24-21 with 40 seconds left.
Gift returned the kickoff to the Indians 41 with 33 seconds, Rieman took a catch over the middle to the Cottage Grove 38 and Toman stopped the clock with a spike at 17 seconds.
Gift caught a pass over the middle and lateraled it, but the referees called it an illegal forward pass and put Scappoose back to the Lions 36 with a second to play.
Parent batted Toman's heave down the left seam as time expired and the Lions celebrated the win.
Sentman finished 17-of-28 passing for 205 yards, and the Indians ran for 130 yards in the first half.
Indians coach Sean McNabb demanded urgency of his Tribe and leadership from his seniors.
"We can't come in on Monday and expect it to be automatic against Seaside," McNabb said. "It takes a mindset when you touch that [Indians] sign and come out."
The Tribe can answer as it hits the road against the Seagulls (2-1) in its 7 p.m. Cowapa League opener on Sept. 23.
Cottage Grove 24, Scappoose 21
S 6 7 0 8 21
CG 7 14 0 3 24
SC Jimmy Jones 5-yard run (Benji Davidson PAT missed), 5:25
CG Erick Giffen 34-yard pass from Kory Parent (Giffen PAT good), :55
CG Blake Sentman 30-yard pass (Giffen PAT good), 10:04
CG Parent 23-yard pass from Sentman (PAT good), 5:17
Tevin Jeannis 20-yard pass from Jerad Toman, 1:45 (PAT good), 1:30
S Nate Rieman pass from Toman (Jeannis 2-point catch), 7:45
CG Giffen 26-yard field goal, :40