Glencoe finding independent success, beat South Albany 42-20
Two years ago when Glencoe decided to turn their backs on the Metro League and play an independent schedule in effort to resuscitate their shriveling football program, this is what they envisioned.
The Tide won four games last season and are off to a 4-1 start this year, including last Friday night's 42-20 win over South Albany of the 5A's Mid-Willamette Conference at South Albany's Rebel Stadium. Glencoe scored in just about every imaginable way in the game — offensively, defensively and with special teams.
"We're scoring in a lot of different ways, which is good," said Glencoe head coach Mike Fanger. "Their first series we picked [the ball] off and went 65 yards for a touchdown. We got a punt return for touchdown and scored a couple offensively before the half, then ran the opening kickoff back for six.
"It's always good when the offense, defense and special teams all contribute."
Glencoe wasted little time jumping on the Rebels and for the most part dominated the game throughout. South did manage to move the ball a bit, tallying 352 yards of total offense. But quarterback Jake Costello struggled against a feisty Tide defense, completing just 15 of his 35 pass attempts for 235 yards, while throwing three costly interceptions.
"We're doing some good things," said Fanger. "We've built some excitement in these last couple of weeks and the guys are playing well."
And excitement is what they gave their coach and fans two weeks ago versus Dallas.
After digging themselves in a hole early, Glencoe scored shortly before halftime to cut into the lead and build a little momentum heading to the locker room. But the second half is where things went off the rails, including a Dallas onside kick attempt that was scooped up by the Tide and returned 50 yards for a touchdown.
"That was one of the weirdest plays I've ever seen," Fanger said. "To pick it up on two hops, then go the distance — that was crazy."
And it got crazier when the Dragons were driving, leading 35-33 and trying to put the game away in the final minutes. Choosing to pass from the two yard line, Dallas quarterback Jaret Stewart missed his intended target and threw it into the hands of an opportunistic Tide defender, who then went 98 yards for the go-ahead and ultimately winning score.
"The place went crazy," Fanger said in reference to the home Hare Field crowd. "Like they always do. Our fans are great."
Now Glencoe faces McKay of the Greater Valley Conference, a team they beat last season, but one that's improved since they met in the rain in Salem a year ago.
"They're better than they were last year but so are we," said Fanger. "They're big and athletic so they can beat us if we don't bring it, that's for sure."
And the Tide will have to take on the Royal Scots with an increasingly thin roster, as attrition continues to deplete an already limited number of Glencoe gridders. After losing a handful of players to catastrophic injuries earlier in the year, the Tide lost a couple more during last week's game, but thankfully they don't appear to be long-term.
"I think we'll get one, maybe two of those guys back this week," said the coach. "We had to pull a couple of our sophomores up today so we could practice, so we're a little light. But we want to make sure our best effort is Friday and not on a Tuesday night."
Glencoe's game against Mckay is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Hare Field.