The Deer Park Stags kept it simple and sweet in rolling over Chewelah 31-7 on Friday in the season opener for both schools.
The Stags, who won their seventh straight season opener (six of them against the Cougars), kept the ball on the ground, rushing 44 times for 218 yards. The Deer Park quarterback tandem of Nic Clough and Daniel Paulson needed to throw the ball only seven times in keeping the Chewelah defense on the field for the majority of the game.
“I thought we would eventually wear them down by running the ball,” said head coach Keith Stamps. “We really didn’t need to throw the ball.
The Stags unleashed their ground attack in the second quarter with a 15-play drive (13 of them running plays) after the Cougars had tied the score at 7-7.
Clough, a junior who took over the starting quarterback role midway through last season after Doug Deniston suffered a shoulder injury, capped the 65-yard march with a 1-yard quarterback sneak.
The Stags added a 32-yard field goal by Charlie Robbins just before halftime and put the game away with a pair of third quarter touchdowns, including a 32-yard bolt to the end zone by tailback Dakota Spindler. The senior’s touchdown run came one play after he bolted 50 yards through the Chewelah defense.
“We decided to run the ball, pound the ball, especially in the third quarter when we got the lead,” the Stag signal-caller explained.
Spindler’s fellow running mate, Theron Taylor, finished the scoring on a 4-yard touchdown run on the Stags’ second possession of the second half.
Taylor and Spindler combined for 149 yards rushing on 22 carries.
“We have a pretty good crew back there,” Stamps said.
The Stag head man (who is 7-3 in season openers) was also proud of his defense that limited the Cougars to three first downs in the second half along with forcing five turnovers (three interceptions and two fumble recoveries) in the game.
The Stag defense played a big role in Deer Park’s first touchdown. Taylor intercepted a McKenzie Miller pass on the third play of the game and returned it to the Cougar 5-yard line. One play later Taylor scored the first of his two touchdown runs.
Miller, who shared quarterbacking duties during the game with southpaw Blake Owens, tied the game 7-7 on a 2-yard run early in the second quarter.
The Cougars made only one more trip into Stag territory for the rest of the game. That dr
The Stags travel to Riverside 7 p.m. on Friday. The Rams opened their season last week with a 27-14 loss to Timberlake.