Lassen too much for Wheatland
Pirates' season falls short of section championship
Tied 14-14 at halftime, the Grizzlies outscore the Pirates 21-0 in the second half to defend their section title.
Wednesday night's Northern Section Division II championship game could have been billed as Lassen High's brawn versus Wheatland High's quickness.
All season long, the Pirates had used their overall team speed and relied on big plays to rack up 36.5 points per game and strike fear into opposing defenses. On this night, however, the big, explosive plays that came to define the team were hard to come by.
Playing against the defending section champions from Susanville, the Pirates never got their prolific offense rolling and fell to a physical Grizzlies team 35-14 at John Sohrakoff Jr. Field, denying Wheatland a chance for its first section championship since 1998.
This game was decided in the second half as the Grizzlies outscored Wheatland 21-0 after the intermission after a 14-14 tie at halftime.
Lassen (10-2) wasted little time getting started and scored on its first possession of the night by marching straight through the teeth of the Pirates' defense for a 48-yard touchdown drive. Trevor Baum did the scoring honors with a short 2-yard touchdown run and booted the point-after kick to give the Grizzlies a quick 7-0 lead.
Wheatland (10-2) answered back on its next series when quarterback John Millington found Tyler Kreditor for a 54-yard touchdown pass to knot the game at 7. It was a great individual effort by Millington, who avoided a fierce pass rush to find a streaking Kreditor down the middle in what would be the Pirates' biggest play of the game.
The contest didn't stayed tied for long as Lassen reclaimed the lead on a 30-yard touchdown run by Baum to make the score 14-7.
The Grizzlies then looked to add to their lead late in the second quarter by marching the ball deep into Wheatland territory. With 14 seconds remaining, Grizzlies' quarterback Richard Murphy dropped back to pass but was drilled by Tyler Larcom coming off the corner and coughed up the ball.
Derick Seward was on the spot, scooped up the ball and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown with just 2 seconds remaining in the half. Nolan West added the point-after and the teams ran into the locker room tied at 14.
But Lassen came out in the second half and took control of the game by playing good ol' fashioned smashmouth football.
The Grizzlies took the lead for good on a 35-yard scoring run by Cameron Medico to make it 21-14 and all but put the game out of reach when Baum picked up a fumble and returned it 31 yards for another score on the very next Wheatland possession.
Baum added a 19-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Pirates were unable to stop the Grizzlies' power running game down the stretch. Wheatland committed four turnovers in the game, including three in the second half when the game was decided.
Seward was held to 40 yards on 16 carries. In all, Lassen outgained Wheatland 397-185.