Halftime adjustments would be key in Friday’s contest at Wayne Gadberry field as the Huskies managed to shutdown the Pirates for a 21-0 victory.
“Our offense took a little while to get going, there’s definitely some things we’ll need to clean up moving forward,” Sutter head coach Ryan Reynolds said. “At halftime both the coaches and players made some suggestions and it paid off in the end as we were able to do a much better job of advancing the ball,” he added.
A special moment occurred before Friday’s game as both teams circled around the 50-yard line for a moment of silence honoring Wheatland High School student Leah Smith, who was killed in an auto accident earlier this week.
The first quarter was a hard fought battle by both teams as each sideline would play strategically for field position. Wheatland’s star running back Tariq Parker struggled to answer the Huskies defensive line early on.
“He’s a very good running back so I’m really proud of our D-line tonight. They never quit on us and they’re a huge reason we were able to put up a goose egg on the score board today,” Reynolds said.
After Wheatland was able to advance the ball across midfield, Sutter’s Jack Swartz swooped in on the next play for an interception to put Reynolds’ offense back on the gridiron.
“I saw the ball coming my way and all I could think is do whatever I need to do to hold on to this football, it was awesome,” Swartz said.
Sutter wouldn’t be able to get on the board just yet though, as Wheatland’s Christopher Soderlund would help lead the defense with tackles on running plays to the outside.
“I think our defense is something that really gets over looked, they’ve kept us in a lot of games. Plus, for them to hold an offense like Sutter to just seven in the first half, that says a lot,” Wheatland head coach Larry Hulen said.
Towards the end of the first quarter the Pirates’ offense attempted to try and pull a fake punt on the Huskies. While members on the sideline and fans in the stands may have been fooled, Sutter’s specials teams unit was not. The Huskies would take over with admirable field position.
After a late hit out of bounds by Wheatland on Sutter’s Cory McIntyre, the Huskies punched in the first half’s only touchdown when Jesse Juarez bounced it outside for a 4-yard score.
After a successful point after by McIntyre, both teams went into halftime with Sutter leading Wheatland, 7-0.
“We were a fake punt away from keeping this game zero-zero at half, I think that’s really a testament to how much we’ve progressed as a unit and will continue to progress moving forward,” Hulen said.
In the second half it was evident that the Huskies offense made a few adjustments. One being the ability to shift a few players around. Alec Bell, normally a defensive player, came in and provided a few long gains from the slot position.
McInyre was able to find some space and score a touchdown to give the Huskies a 14-0 lead before Bell scored the final touchdown of the game with just under seven minutes to go in regulation to make it 21-0.
“We have a few players banged up, so it’s nice to see some of these others guys really step up and show us that we do have the depth if we need it,” Reynolds said.
McInyre finished the game with 73 yards and one touchdown, while Colton Dillabo tallied 84 yards. The Wheatland defense was able to force one fumble, while the Sutter defense tallied two interceptions.
Wheatland (5-3) will host Oroville next week and Sutter (7-1) will travel to face off against Las Plumas.