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Football team shuts out mistake-prone Mustangs

QB Spencer Barnett gains 144 yards rushing and score all three of Sandys touchdowns


by: SANDY POST: DAVID BALL - Sandy tackle Andrew Spencer lays down a block, while QB Spencer Barnett looks for an open receiver during Fridays 21-0 road win over Milwaukie. MILWAUKIE — Sandy’s football team got through a few hiccups Friday night, but never faced any real challenge during its 20-0 shutout over the host Mustangs.

“Obviously, it wasn’t as clean as we would have wanted, but it was good to get back on track with a win,” Sandy coach Joe Polamalu said.

Milwaukie’s night started like an exaggerated sports movie with its onsides kick attempt, sending spectators on the sideline ducking out of the way as the ball flew far out of bounds toward the bleachers.

Sandy took possession and quickly crossed midfield when QB Spencer Barnett took the snap and followed his blockers around the right side for a 5-yard gain on 4th-and-1. The Pioneers followed with a first-down catch, but a fumble on the play abruptly ended the drive.

Milwaukie’s only real scoring chance of the night ensued when running back Chris Besaw caught a 25-yard pass along the sideline to move the chains on 3rd-and-10. The Mustangs pushed the ball inside Sandy’s 20-yard line before facing a 4th-and-5.

Milwaukie’s Tyler Spencer dropped back and made a quick throw to the left side, but Sandy’s Zach Shields tipped the ball and teammate Austin Gorski came down with the interception.

After being stopped on its first two possessions, Sandy stayed on the ground and found the end zone late in the first quarter. A series of six straight running plays ended with Barnett breaking away 19 yards around the left side for the only points the Pioneers would need.

Milwaukie couldn’t keep its offense on the field the rest of the first half.

The team’s next play ended in a fumble when Sandy linebacker Garrett Rotzien put his helmet on the ball, and Tryston Closner recovered inside the Mustangs’ 20-yard line.

But Sandy couldn’t move the ball and a 34-yard field goal attempt got caught in a heavy headwind and fell short.

Milwaukie suffered another fumble moments later, and Sandy was on the move again. A pair of long first-down runs by C.J. McKinnis and Barnett moved the ball into Mustangs’ territory before the drive stalled.

Sandy punter Andrew Spencer sent a well-placed kick that was rolling to a stop inside the 10-yard line. Three Pioneers surrounded the ball simply waiting for it to roll to a stop when a Milwaukie player inexplicably rushed onto the scene and dived into the middle of the pile headfirst. The ball popped out of the crowd, and Sandy’s Rotzien recovered at the 2-yard line.

The Pioneers had no trouble covering the final few steps over the goal line when Barnett went around the left side on the next play to make it 13-0 with 6:11 left in the half.

Milwaukie gave the ball away again on its next play from scrimmage when a pitch-out in the backfield missed its target. Sandy’s Taylor Way took the ball away from a Milwaukie lineman in a pile-up on the turf, and the Pioneers took possession with a 1st-and-goal.

Putting points on the scoreboard wouldn’t be so easy this time.

After pushing the ball to the 2-yard line, a high snap sailed over Barnett’s head. He beat a pack of Mustangs to cover the ball, but the Pioneers found themselves facing a 3rd-and-33. An incomplete pass over the middle followed.

What once seemed like an easy touchdown or at the very least a short field goal, ended with a punt.

“I think it was just a loss of focus on our part at times,” Polamalu said. “That is on us as a coaching staff to prevent that from happening.”

Desperate to close the gap before heading to the locker room, Milwaukie put together a pair of sizeable runs to move the ball across midfield. But the drive ended when Rotzien blitzed in and sacked the QB on 3rd-and-10.

Sandy would tack on another touchdown on a 38-yard run by Spencer in the third quarter. He finished with 144 yards on 17 carries.

The Pioneers recorded their first shutout since beating Liberty 27-0 in 2008.

“A win is a win, which was our main focus, we have a long haul ahead,” Polamalu said.

Sandy (4-1) is in a four-way tie for second place in the NWOC, heading into Friday’s home game against St. Helens (2-3).

View a photo gallery from Friday's game at daveball.exposuremanager.com.