Castle Rock toppled Mark Morris 30-20 Friday night after a game riddled with injuries and interceptions.
The teams had a little back-and-forth in the first half, but Castle Rock ended up running away with game.
“I’m very excited for these guys. They put in a lot of work and effort this entire week. These guys deserve it out here on the field. They did everything they could,” Castle Rock coach Aaron Gehring said.
Mark Morris started the game strong though, giving the Monarch fans some hope.
After a side pass from Mark Morris’s Cole Busch to Jaden Anderson the ball was brought down one yard from the end zone.
With two minutes left in the first quarter the Monarchs nabbed the first touchdown of the game and made the extra point.
The Rockets picked up the ball at their 35 yard line and had Wyatt Partridge dodge and weave through the Monarchs. He even dragged one with him to make it to the 50.
“It was a grind. The whole team played well. It was an all around thing. I think that was the best we could have performed,” Partridge said.
Chance Naugle also proved to be hard to take down. He was nearly downed by Anderson but stayed upright long enough to make it to Mark Morris’s 35 yard line and had to be stopped by seven Monarchs.
Castle Rock finally put up some numbers in the second quarter with their own touchdown by Naugle. But they didn’t make the extra point.
The Monarch took over at their 37 yard line. Busch threw a few incompletes, noe ending in a fumble and recover by Anderson.
Busch finally found Jack Shipley to land the ball, grabbing the Mark Morris’s second touchdown. The extra point also found its home between the posts.
Right after the Rockets got the ball back, Austin McQuiliams slips up, loses the ball and Mark Morris’s Miguel Parra picks it up for the interception.
Mark Morris didn’t do much with it before handing it back over to the Rockets, who didn’t count their guys and got an illegal procedure penalty.
Back in the hands of the Monarchs, the ball was quickly intercepted by Castle Rock’s Parker Watts with one second left in the first half.
After the second half started, the injury bug bit the Monarchs hard, and Castle Rock’s Partridge took off like, well, a rocket.
“Every time we give him the rock we always know there’s opportunity for a big play,” Gehring said.
Partridge zig-zagged the ball from the 40, blowing past MM’s Brayden Chapman and Stephen Rooklidge to make it to the 13 yard line.
With help from Naugle, Partridge takes it into the end zone from the one yard line for the touchdown. He then caught it for 2pt to tie up the game.
“They took the coaching well. Every guy did an amazing job,” Gehring said.
With the ball back in the Monarchs hands, the injury bug took its first bite. Timur Berishev went down for a little bit but got back up. Soon after MM’s Jamison Watson and CR’s McQuiliams both went down hurt.
That didn’t stop Shipley from running, leaping and twisting into the end zone for another MM touchdown.
CR claimed the ball back; Berishev went down again, and Busch followed shortly after him.
Partridge took advantage of the Monarchs loss and ran the ball in for yet another Rockets touchdown. McQuiliams followed Partridge’s lead and ran the ball in for two extra points.
Returning the ball to the Monarchs took three tries. Anderson picked it up at the 32 yard line and ran it to the 48. After nabbing a few first downs, MM’s Marco Valdivia-Aldana went down with an injury.
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Tim Sears followed behind Valdivia-Aldana with a leg injury.
After so many players limping off the field, MM’s Jarob Rulo said his teammates need to follow his anti-cramp secret.
“Everyone needs to drink more pickle juice and mustard,” Rulo said.
Injuries were one of Mark Morris head coach Shawn Perkins’ biggest worries for the season.
“We lost a couple offensive linemen, and that really hurt us. We lost guys throughout,” Perkins said.
CR’s Adam Partridge stifled a comeback attempt when he caught Busch’s pass for an interception that had the crowd on its feet.
“Adam came up with a huge interception for us. That really kind of propelled us to seal up that game,” Gehring said.
As CR continued its assault, MM’s Parra fell, joining the long list of injured players.
Wyatt Partridge still didn’t let that stop him. He grabbed yet another touchdown, brought in the extra 2 points and was the player to beat on the field according to MM”s Shipley
“He’s a hell of a player. He ran for quite a bit of yards. They just played better than us today,” Shipley said.
Even when the Monarchs finally got the ball back, they were riddled with incomplete passes and slippery fingers.
In a last attempt to keep the ball away from the Rockets, with just a few minutes left, they threw the ball around to three different guys. However their last throw was incomplete as MM’s Jaden Behrendson battled it out of Chapman’s reach.
Wyatt Patridge said the reason they had the upper hand tonight was due to knowing what to expect.
“We studied their plays well and I think it paid off. We needed that (win). That’ll lift our spirits. That’s for sure,” Wyatt Partridge said.
Gehring was really impressed with the plays and how well his players knew what was coming from the other side of the line, he said.
“I told them to play hard, to play as long as you can and we’ll get another guy in. They just kept going, kept fighting all four quarters,” Gehring said.
For Perkins, it was all about listening and having that drive to win. But the Monarchs didn’t have it Friday night, he said.
“We played well at times, but we didn’t execute like we are capable of. I think I have to tip my hat to Castle Rock. They just wanted it a little bit more than we did. We’ve got to have our seniors step up and start filling the leadership roles on the field,” Perkins said.
Shipley, who played most of the game, said he thinks the team has some improving to do, but is still proud of the fight the Monarchs put up.
“It’s a tough loss obviously. We have to work on tackling but other than that i think we played a really solid game,” Shipley said.
Even with having so many players injured and out, Perkins said that’s not an excuse.
“The injury bug really bit us tonight. We were really limited on what we could do. Other guys have got to step up and do the job,” Perkins said.
Castle Rock didn’t escape the bit either, they just had less of it. However, healing up is in their plans for preparing for their game next friday.
“Enjoying this win tonight, then healing up, icing and all that. Then we’ll move on and go back to work, keep building. That’s how you build a winning program, a winning culture and we’re moving in the right direction,” Gehring said.
Castle Rock plays at 7 p.m. at Tenino next week. Mark Morris plays at 7 p.m. at Stevenson.