Whiteaker’s varsity football team moved to 2-0 with a 14-6 victory over Walker on Wednesday, Sept. 19.
Head Coach Tom Larimer credited the defense for the win.
“We really were not very good on offense,” said Larimer, “But our defense owned the day.”
Whiteaker’s defense is led by coordinator Luke Atwood, an all state quarterback at McNary, one of the top D-III quarterbacks in the country at Willamette, coached with Tom Smythe for 13 years, including 10 years at McNary, and played professionally for seven years.
“I can’t describe how fortunate Keizer is to have him back coaching in our community again,” Larimer said.
Atwood’s defense smothered Walker the entire game.
Braiden Copeland led the way with 10 tackles and an interception, while Kyler Donahue, Jackson Alt, Hunter Ruberto, and Dominic Hughes each had five tackles.
Damon Thornton snuffed out Walker’s last gasp effort when he intercepted a pass in the final minute of the game.
“Kyler, Ty (Borde), and Damon really just shut down Walker’s passing game. They were stuck on those receivers all day,” said Larimer.
Whiteaker’s offense struggled, but did enough to win.
The Wolverines put 14 points on the board in the second quarter, and that was all the defense needed.
Copeland opened the scoring with a short touchdown run and connected with Jacob Hurst from 10 yards out just before half for what turned out to be the winning score.
Copeland led the team with 79 yards rushing on 11 carries, running primarily behind Will Green, Cristian Garcia, Hughes and Hurst.
The game was followed by a free post game BBQ for the players and fans.
“We have incredible sponsors,” said Larimer. “They provide anything and everything we need to build a positive experience for these kids. We served nearly 200 free meals after the game. I saw lots of smiling faces and happy families.”
Claggett wins big
Claggett Creek blew out Leslie 52-14 in its season opener on Sept. 19.
Jabol Balos rushed for two touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass to Osmid Cano Espinoza.
Julian Orta ran for a touchdown and took a kickoff back for another score.
John Carlos Vasquez ran a blocked punt back for a touchdown.
“Our defense played really well the whole game,” Panthers head coach Aaron Carr said.
“It was a good start to the season.”