Monument-Dayville-Mitchell struggles early in 24-6 loss

Monument-Dayville-Mitchell defensive end Doni Duncan (No. 25 ) and defensive back Dane Smith (No. 20) run down South Wasco County's Stephen Kresse. Despite losing the game 24-6, the Tigers played strong on defense and held the Redsides to 101 yards in total offense and zero yards rushing. The Eagle/TIM ADAMS

DAYVILLE - Nothing went right for the Monument-Dayville-Mitchell football team in the first two quarters of its non-league game against South Wasco County on Friday, Sept. 20.

A bad snap on a punt put the first score on the board and a safety made the score 10-0 at the end of the first 12 minutes of play.

South Wasco County tallied its second touchdown with 11:45 showing on the clock in the second quarter to up the lead to 18-0 but after that, the Tigers settled down and began playing some hard-nosed defense.

However, the Tigers were unable to recover from the early deficit and dropped a 24-6 decision to the previously winless Redsides.

The defeat dropped the Tigers' season record to 1-2.

"Our offense did a lot better in the second half, and we dominated on defense," Tigers' coach Skip Inscore said. "After the second quarter, we did a good job, and some really positive things came out."

Jared Brittain scored the first touchdown for South Wasco County after a bad snap on a punt attempt gave the Redsides the ball on the Tigers' five-yard line.

Jared Brittain punched the ball in the end zone from three yards out and then ran for the conversion and an 8-0 lead.

Later in the first quarter the Redsides drove the ball to the five-yard line before being stopped on fourth down, and once again the Tigers found themselves in a deep hole.

On the second play from scrimmage, quarterback Nathaniel Ashley was tackled in the end zone by Brittain to put the Redsides ahead 10-0.

Dustin Olson capped off a six-play drive hauling in a 45-yard scoring pass from Dylan Aschoff on the first play of the second quarter to increase the Redsides' lead to 18-0, but after that the Tigers started to go to work.

Ashley began picking apart the Redside secondary with passes and Mani Martin pounded the ball on the ground as the Tigers' offense began to gain momentum heading into halftime.

After the break, the Tigers continued to move the football on the ground but a fumble by Dane Smith bounced right into the hands of Brad Zizilas who returned the ball 65-yards for a touchdown to make the score 24-0 with 8:33 remaining in the third quarter.

The Tigers never quit and continued to battle, being rewarded when Doni Duncan hit Smith with a 25-yard scoring strike with 1:03 remaining in the final quarter.

The Tiger defense was a dominating force holding the Redsides to zero yards rushing and only 101 yards through the air, but turnovers proved to be the difference in the game.

"Today just shows that our offense is way behind our defense," Inscore commented. "We did a good job on defense playing three- and four-man fronts, and I thought Jason Mars and Carl Peterson, along with Nathaniel Ashley and Doni Duncan, all did well. We've known all along that our offense would take awhile seeing we are only able to practice together as a team one night a week. What we have to do to improve on offense is start doing a better job blocking and start throwing the ball better."

Martin gained 25 yards on 13 carries to lead the Tigers and Duncan passed for 55 yards.

Dustin Jewell caught three passes for 33 yards and Eric Lofton had two catches good for 20 yards.

Monument-Dayville-Mitchell hosts Burnt River on Friday, Sept. 27, at Monument for its first TriCo League game of the year.

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