RON HARTMAN/CHRONICLE PHOTOA Coquille ballcarrier finds plenty of running room down the sideline during the first quarter of Friday’s game at Creswell.
CRESWELL – Connor Hanson inadvertently tried using a basketball move during a third-down run to keep a drive alive Friday night. Creswell’s sophomore quarterback, who also plays basketball, nearly fumbled, and as he tried to regain control with his right hand, he brought the ball all the way around his back to his left hand.
“Oh, I was kinda hoping nobody noticed that,” Hanson said on the sideline, moments after his behind-the-back play.
The Bulldogs could have used a few more tricks up their padded sleeves. For almost one half, Creswell played Coquille close, and trailed 14-7 with 3:00 before intermission.
Then the second half arrived, and what had been a good fight turned into a 62-7 knockout, as Red Devils junior running back Gunner Yates racked up five touchdowns.
“We were hanging with them, and we even got in the red zone without scoring pretty early in the game,” Creswell coach Scott Worsham said. “Our guys played hard, it was just one of those nights. They were more physical than us. And that No. 22 (Yates) for them, he’s the real deal, one of the best running backs in the state. I imagine he’ll be able to play at the collegiate level.”
Friday’s game marked the end of the Covid-shortened season. Although Creswell ended with a 3-3 record, considering all the challenges the players and coaches faced, Worsham said the season was a huge success.
“It was touch-and-go for a long time before we even knew we were going to have a season. The OSAA finally gave us the go-ahead on Feb. 8,” Worsham said. “Then, Feb. 15 was our first official practice, Feb. 27 was the jamboree and March 5 was our first game.
“We had a lot to do in a short amount of time, but our biggest concern was being in game shape. We had guys having a hard time, guys getting winded. … Just getting everybody together to get gear, when you can only have a few players there at a time, that was a challenge too.”
Hanson completed 8-of-16 passes for 70 yards, including a 5-yard TD to Jaydon Warthen, which was set up by Hanson’s 60-yard run.
Through it all, the Bulldogs persevered, improving dramatically since that opening game. The players have noticed it and so have the coaches.
“It’s great to see our kids get better and better,” Worsham said. “Those four touchdowns last week in that comeback win over Lowell … everything came together for us in that game.”
The Bulldogs lose only three seniors, including defensive ends Tyler Nicol (5½) and Tyler Atwood (4½), who combined for 10 tackles in their final high school game.
Normally, whenever a team loses by 50-plus points in its last game, it’s difficult to walk away feeling good about yourself.
Not so with this Creswell team.
“I’m so happy we were able to get the season in,” Worsham said. “It’s been great for the kids’ growth mentally and physically.
“I feel like our program is in a good place right now, and I’m looking forward to the fall.”