Raider Aiden McAuliffe pushes past Bulldogs defensive back Dalton Dewey (#2) to make a good first down attempt during the Lost River vs. Creswell match-up on Aug. 31. The Creswell Bulldogs lost in their opening game to the Lost River Raiders with a 0-44 shutout. CHRISTOPHER PALANUK/THE CRESWELL CHRONICLE
The Creswell Bulldogs varsity football team fell at home to the Lost River Raiders in a shutout 0-44 on Aug. 31. The young team and lack of players were just a couple of the many reasons defensive coach Bob Nicol cited for their troubling start.
”A lot of (it) goes back to you're only playing 13 to 14 guys so you get tired pretty easily,” Nicol said ”and you start losing the edge.”
This was apparent throughout the game. Though relatively uneventful at the start, Lost River suddenly broke out with a 50-plus yard run with 4:26 left in the first quarter. The resulting touchdown from the play and extra point set an aptly Raider's tone that permeated the rest of the game: Be swift and aggressive.
Even when Creswell did get the ball back, it was a mere three minutes later that the Raiders had held the Bulldogs to a turnover on downs. Before the quarter was even over, Lost River once again had possession, and kept the quick pace moving into the second quarter.
But their speed didn't mean they were invincible. Less than four minutes into the second quarter, the Raiders had made it to the one yard line and fumbled for a Bulldog turnover. However, the Raiders did recover from their mistakes.
As quickly as Creswell had recovered the ball, the Raiders had forced them to punt, scored another touchdown and gotten the extra point with almost five minutes left in the half. The rest was a Bulldog struggle to make headway. Ending the drive at the Raider's 18 yard line, the Bulldogs went into halftime with a 0-14 deficit.
”It's tough when you're in the trenches and you're giving up 30 to 40 pounds,” Nicol said about the size difference between the two teams. ”And it's not easy. The effort was there, I thought, but I just don't think we tackled well.”
That thought would plague the Bulldogs defense as the Raiders pushed through to gain an overwhelming foothold for the rest of the second half. Less than a minute into the third quarter, the Raiders had plundered another touchdown from the Bulldogs kennel. But that wasn't going to phase Creswell's head coach Scott Worsham.
”Put that one behind us,” he shouted to his team. Even after two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties called on Lost River, and some heated arguments on the field, Worsham kept his team focused. ”Keep your heads up; let's keep working.”
The sentiment brought some life back into the team, with the Bulldogs completing a 50-plus yard return in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. But it was a flash in the pan that the Raiders quickly nabbed. Before long, Lost River had made one more touchdown to close out the game.
At the end of the night, though, Nicol didn't seem too concerned. ”We're just going to have to get a little deeper and I think we're going to be there in a couple weeks,” he said. ”You gotta take your lumps before you get better. Hopefully this one leaves an impression and we can move on.”
The Creswell Bulldogs next home game will be against the Illinois Valley Cougars on Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.