Kettle’s offense rolls in rout of Tonasket

Kettle Falls High dominated across the board last Friday in an impressive 35-15 non-league football win over Tonasket. The Bulldogs (1-1) rushed for 256 yards and quarterback Conner McKern passed for another 118 yards (8 of 15) and two touchdowns. “The kids played really well,” figured KFHS head coach, Curtis Corvino. “Offensively, we set the pace of the game and were able to control the line of scrimmage.” It’s been a long time since a Kettle Falls offense ran 66 plays in a game. Reardan on Friday This week, Kettle Falls will take what looks to be a vastly improved offensive team into the first week of Northeast B play when the Bulldogs host Reardan (1-0). Game time is 7 p.m. The Indians are coming off a 48-6 win at home over Bridgeport last Friday night. In that game, Niko Knezovich was the key for RHS, at least early, scoring early on a two-yard run, then intercepting a pass and returning it 25 yards for a touchdown. Reardan led 34-0 at the half. Corvino expects to see heavy doses of the wishbone from the Indians, who like to pound the ball. “They are a power running team that likes to mix in some play action,” Corvino said. “Our defense will have to play solidly all the way across and force some turnovers. On offense, we need to continue to set the pace, be balanced and take what they give us. “We hope to keep building on what we did against Tonasket. We executed well and played well…it was a different feeling and one we hope to continue.” TONASKET RECAP Kettle, running this season out of more of a run and shoot configuration, upped the ante with their no-huddle offense last week. Corvino liked what he saw there. “We are responding well to it,” Corvino said of the no huddle. “We used it the first three quarters and it worked well. We were able to sustain drives and we played with a lot of confidence. The no huddle is a really good fit for these guys. And on defense, it was night and day between the first game (Omak loss) and this week.” Kettle scores on first drive of the game Kettle Falls scored on its opening drive of the game. Starting on its own 35-yard line, running back Austin Anderson capped the 11-play drive with a two-yard run. The PAT kick by Kyle Dodson was good and KFHS led 7-0. Key plays in the drive, which featured nine running plays, was a 17-yard run by Anderson and an 11-yard screen pass from McKern to Anderson on a third and four call. But the Bulldogs gave up a 90-yard kickoff return moments later. Mike Orozko found a seam and returned the ensuing kickoff to the KFHS five-yard line before he was caught by Brent McNeil. “We didn’t handle kickoffs well all night,” Corvino said. “We gave the momentum back right there.” On third down, Tonasket scored on play action and a quick out route to the end zone by Roberto Juarez. The PAT kick was good and it was 7-7 midway through the first quarter. Kettle took the ensuing kickoff and drove 61 yards before McKern threw his only interception of the game. The third down screen pass was intercepted and Tonasket had dodged a bullet. Brandon Thomas came up big on Tonasket’s next series, intercepting a pass and returning it 25 yards. KFHS took over at the THS 40, but a fourth and eight pass from McKern to Thomas came up just short, picking up seven yards. KFHS defense asserts itself From that point, Kettle’s improving defense picked it up and asserted itself. Tonasket went three and out on their next two series. With 4:03 left in the second quarter, KFHS capped a nine-play, 51-yard drive (all on the ground) when Thomas rolled in from four-yards out. The PAT kick was good and Kettle led 14-7. Kettle Falls got another defensive stop, keyed by linemen McNeil, Eddie Bitzen and Trey Tucker. A poor pitch on a fourth down play resulted in a nine-yard loss and Kettle Falls took over on downs at the Tonasket 45-yard line with about 2:30 left before halftime. “Our defensive line really did a great job in this game,” Corvino said. Kettle Falls made it 21-7 at half when McKern found Thomas on a post route. The pass and run play to a wide-open Thomas covered 36 yards and the Bulldogs had opened up a two touchdown lead. The PAT was good and the visitors led 21-7 with 1:11 left until halftime. McNeil continued to come up big on defense, covering a Tonasket fumble early in the third quarter and recording a sack on Tonasket’s next series. Kettle Falls made it 28-7 when Thomas hauled in a 19-yard pass from McKern on another post route. The drive covered 50 yards and took six plays. Another key play in the quick strike drive was a Thomas end-around that covered 17 yards. On the first play of the fourth quarter, on a nine play, clock-killing drive, Thomas scored on a four-yard run (11:55 of the fourth quarter). McKern had a 14-yard run in the drive. Thomas had runs of nine and 14 yards. The PAT kick made it 35-7. Tonasket tacked on a meaningless late touchdown. Tonasket managed only 158 yards rushing against Kettle Falls. They passed for another 19 yards. Defense dominant Through the first three quarters, Kettle’s defense held Tonasket to 80 yards rushing. “I can’t remember the last time we’ve held an opponent to numbers like that,” Corvino said. “We played their option really well.”