South Fork won its season opener 16-13 over John Swett High School in Crockett on Friday night. Each team scored 2 touchdowns in the contest but it was South Fork’s two 2-point conversions that made the difference in the final score.
Swett got on the board first with a TD in the first quarter on a 35-yard pass play followed by a 1-point conversion.
The Cubs answered with a one-yard run into the end zone by senior quarterback Joey Wittlake that was set up by a 42-yard pass to junior wide receiver junior Troy Langley who was stopped inside the one yard line on a previous play. With the score 7-6, head coach Andy Olsen elected to run a two-point conversion play and it was Langley who made the three-yard run for the successful conversion.
The Cubs are missing their outstanding kicker from last year’s team, Levi Paine, who graduated in June and is kicking for Santa Rosa Junior College this year. But with a more mature offensive line and better blocking the Cubs may be making the 2-point play their regular game plan after TDs this season.
The Cubs scored again in the same quarter on a 74-yard run by Langley on a sweep play. Langley read the defense well early in the play, cutting inside to break several tackles and then turning on the afterburners to speed past the Swett backfield for the score. South Fork again utilized the 2-point conversion play, this time with junior Dylan Phelps-Harding getting the ball and getting into the end zone on a 3-yard sweep play.
Swett answered with a TD in the 3rd quarter but the Cubs blocked the extra point attempt.
There was a power outage at about 10 p.m. with 2 minutes left to play in the slow-moving game. It took 35 minutes to resume play and South Fork had to fend off a late surge from the Indians as time was running out. With 3 seconds left and the ball on South Fork’s 9-yard-line Swett threw a pass that looked like a game winner until Wittlake, playing the role of linebacker on defense, knocked the ball loose just as the receiver caught it.
"A lot of our guys played very well," said Olsen. "Danny Savoie had four catches on offense and on defense he had a fumble recovery and an interception. Langley had over 100 yards rushing. Our whole offensive line was outstanding." Juniors Garrhett Wiley, Cole Moody, Cole Jacinto, Jim Michael and Justice Sherman make up the line that will also pave the way for a formidable South Fork running game this year.
"Last year we were a passing offense probably 95% of the time," said Olsen. "This year we’ll be able to run the ball a lot. It’s great to have a multi-dimensional attack."
Next week the Cubs will hit the road again with a trip to Calistoga on Friday night. Calistoga humbled South Fork in Miranda last year 61-28 and is coming off a 42-13 win last week over Cloverdale. The Cubs will be looking to use their much more mature and versatile game plan to spoil Calistoga’s home opener.
Note: check out the 2013 Prep Preview inside today’s Redwood Times.