Day After Report: Ridgefield vs. Castle Rock
Ridgefield 23, Castle Rock 10
The only time you typically see the touchdown play Cade Morrill and Taylor Nolan pulled off with 2:40 left in the third quarter is when you’re playing Madden 2015 on your Xbox.
The play started at Ridgefield’s 24-yard line, third-and-6, with the Spudders leading 16-3 in their home opener.
Morrill, who’d been unspectacular so far in his first career start at quarterback, took the shotgun snap and immediately rolled left to escape pressure. He saw he was hemmed in and reversed course, almost going to one knee as he lost his balance. He used his left hand to steady himself on the turf, scrambled right and then threw what could only be called a wounded duck in Nolan’s direction.
Morrill’s first thought: “Oh-oh! That’s going to be intercepted.”
However, the Castle Rock defender made a worse read, mistiming his attempt at what would have been a pick-six. Eaton let the ball float into his arms, turned, and started downfield.
He picked up one downfield block, then another as he weaved through traffic, but still it looked like it would be just a first-down play, nothing more, until he got to the 30, when one last block sprung him free of the last defender who could have stopped him from scoring.
“I told Taylor, you made me look real good on that play,” Morrill said.
Morrill and fellow senior Jarrett Mocca vied for the starting job in the offseason, and while coach Dan Andersen said both were fairly equal in terms of passing ability, “Cade is probably the better runner, and on that long pass play, it was his scramble that set it up. It takes an athlete to do that.”
Morrill finished 4-of-13 for 110 yards, that touchdown pass and an interception, and also ran for 27 yards on seven carries.
“I hadn’t played quarterback for a number of years, and this was about getting that first game in,” Morrill said. “In the passing game, I just didn’t feel right, not as good as I’d hoped. I’ve just got to get more reps. I’ve got to be better.”
Mocca came on late in the third quarter after making an interception at cornerback, and he went 2-for-4 for 9 yards.
“I wanted to get Jarrett in the game to get him some time as well,” Andersen said. “Both of them made great progression throughout the summer, but neither of them had been behind center under the Friday lights.”
Morrill showed enough to earn the start next week against I-5 rival Kalama, said Anderson, who wasn’t as critical of his first-time starter’s performance.
“I thought Cade did a really good job,” Anderson said. “We didn’t throw much, but when he did, he put it on the money. We had some dropped balls that could have gone for big plays, some penalties that could have killed drives. Those are things we can fix.”
PENALTIES ON BLEMISH ON DEFENSE
Speaking of penalties, the Spudders finished with 14 for 120 yards, including five personal fouls and six that resulted in Rockets first downs.
That was about the only down note for a strong defensive effort, holding the visitors to 182
yards of total offense, forcing three turnovers, and earning a third-quarter safety after Ridgefield had fumbled on the goal line the previous play.
“We had a little trouble with our underneath coverages, but our run coverage was pretty good,” Andersen said after his team limited CR tailback Talib Meeks to 44 yards on 15 carries. “That big old No. 42 (Meeks) is athletic, tough to bring down, but that’s a tough front four that we’ve got.”
Junior Kevin Miser, making his first start at linebacker, led the Spudders with eight tackles and also scored his first career varsity touchdown on a 25-yard fumble return.
Morrill added six tackles at safety, senior defensive end Lane Andersen had five (1½ for loss), and Spencer Fix also had two tackles for loss and forced the fumble that Miser took to the house.
RIVALRY WITH KALAMA NEXT
Kalama may be 1A and no longer in the same league with Ridgefield, but that hasn’t diminished the rivalry between the nearby schools.
The Spudders also took notice of the Chinooks’ 20-14 upset of Woodland, typically one of the Greater St. Helens 2A League’s top teams.
“Kalama beating Woodland, that shows us something,” Morrill said. “Nobody is satisfied after this win. We’ll get after it this week in practice, and hopefully we’ll play better next week.”