Huskies bring home a victory
Defense holds against Molalla, giving North Marion a shot at the league title
It has been nearly three weeks since the North Marion football team almost lost to La Salle after the Falcons mounted a furious second-half comeback only to lose by a point.
Since then, the Huskies have buckled down and played some serious defense.
North Marion held the visiting Molalla Indians scoreless in the final two quarters of Friday nights game to win 35-21 and remain undefeated through four contests in the Tri-Valley Conference.
Last weeks victory marks the second consecutive game in which the Huskies shut out an opponent over the final half of competition to pull away for a victory.
Against Molallas spread-option offense, North Marion countered the Indians fast-attack passing game by stacking the line with defenders to pressure quarterback Austin Alexander.
The tactic worked, as North Marion defenders Tyler Saucedo, Broek Dyer, Josh Krekos, Austin Weddle and Damian Chavez all recorded sacks and repeatedly put pressure on Alexander throughout the game.
When the Molalla quarterback wasnt on his back, he threw three interceptions, two of which were picked off by sophomore Josiah Ramon.
But perhaps the most exciting interception of the night came at the end of the first quarter when Alexander was hit during his release, popping the ball briefly into the air and right into the hands of defensive lineman Tristan Wampole.
With no one blocking his path, Wampole ran 57 yards untouched to score the Huskies second touchdown of the night to put the team up 14-7.
Offensively, the Huskies spread the ball around relying on its run-heavy offense to grind away at the Indians. Emry Patterson and Shane McKillip combined for 134 yards rushing, while Saucedo added 46 yards on 13 carries.
Ben Crumley connected with Kyle Williamson four times for 52 yards and two touchdowns, including a 31-yard score mid-way through the third quarter to put the Huskies on top for good.
The victory keeps North Marion (6-2, 4-0 Tri-Valley) tied atop the conference standings with rival Gladstone (6-2, 4-0).
The two teams play at Gladstone High School Friday for the conference championship and a first-round bye in the 4A playoffs.
While the Huskies have already secured their first playoff berth since 2009, the team needs a victory against the Gladiators this week to avoid the play-in round of the OSAA bracket and a more difficult trip through the playoffs.
If North Marion loses, the team would automatically play host in the play-in game against an undetermined third-place team.