Deer Park’s special teams lived up to its name in the Stags’ 37-19 win over Lakeside on Friday.
The unit was indeed special in contributing a kickoff return for a touchdown and a fumble recovery of a Lakeside kickoff return in the first half as well as bottling up the Lakeside attack in the second half. The Eagles (0-2) average start after Stag kickoffs in the second half was their own 16-yard line.
“It definitely controlled the field possession in the second half,” said Stag head coach Keith Stamps, who saw his team improve to 2-0 this fall.
Senior Jason Jorgensen got Deer Park’s special teams jump started on the first play of the game, an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
“There was a hole there and I just ran,” said Jorgensen, who went untouched for the final 60 yards after eluding the first wave of Eagle coverage defenders.
Leading 14-6 late in the first quarter, Deer Park’s Canyon Nielson recovered a Lakeside fumble on a kickoff. One play later Colton Mead connected with wide receiver Zach Mohr on a 23-yard scoring pass.
Mead, who gave way to backup QB Doug Deniston for most of the fourth quarter, finished 8 of 13 passing for122 yards.
While the Stags had a hard time generating much of an attack in the second quarter, they still took a 21-12 lead into intermission.
Deer Park left little doubt about the outcome on their first possession of the second half. The Stags needed only seven plays to cover 50 yards with Mead finishing the drive on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. It was his second rushing touchdown of the game.
Jorgensen added a 37-yard touchdown run as Deer Park built a 34-12 lead going into the fourth quarter. The senior tailback finished with a team-high 84 yards rushing on nine carries.
In addition to the offensive explosion for the second straight week, Stamps was impressed by the effort turned in by his defense.
A week earlier, the Stags surrendered 504 total yards in a 37-33 win over Chewelah. On Friday, the Stag defense limited the Eagles to 310 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers.
“We challenged the kids this week,” said Stamps, who had eight defenders playing a new position or starting for the first time against Lakeside. “It was a whole new crew out there.”
Lakeside’s Jimmy Day finished with a game-high 132 yards rushing on 20 carries while quarterback Zach Warlick kept the game close in the first half with a pair of scoring tosses.
Deer Park finishes its early season non-league schedule with a trip to Priest River at 7 p.m. on Friday. The Spartans (0-2) are coming off a 40-13 home loss to Newport last week.
The Stags open up Great Northern League play on Sept. 24 in Pullman.