Newport intercepts Red Wolves' chance for victory

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CARNATION- Junior quarterback Nick Rich brought Cedarcrest

to within six seconds and 10 yards of erasing the memory of last

year's winless season.

Trailing by a touchdown with less than a minute to play in the first

half, Rich completed three consecutive passes and had his Red Wolves

poised to tie the score with a first down on the Newport 10 yard line, with

six ticks left on the clock. Rich lofted a pass toward a wide-open

Michael Smith alone in the end zone. At the same moment a teammate

accidentally stepped on the quarterback's foot and the pass that would have tied the

score floated harmlessly into the arms of a defender. It was intercepted and

returned 101yards for a touchdown for the Knights.

So, instead of going into the locker room tied, Cedarcrest ended the

first half behind by 15 points. The Red Wolves had their chances in the

second half too, but the home team failed to capitalize on opportunities.

Cedarcrest went on to drop the KingCo 3A Conference season

opener 35-7, last Thursday at Howard Miller Athletic Field.

The interception return was one of three touchdowns scored by

the Knights' Tripper Johnson. The Newport standout finished with 12

carries for 88 yards, one touchdown on a 20-yard scamper in the first quarter

and interception returns of 101 and 60 yards. Just for good measure,

Johnson also booted three extra points.

Cedarcrest tied the score early in the second quarter after senior

defensive back Henley Morgan intercepted a Newport lateral in the backfield

and rumbled 40 yards to the Knights' two-yard line. The Wolves got on the

board three plays later when Rich found Smith in the end zone. The extra

point by junior Ryan Frey knotted the score at 7-7 with 9:09 to play in the first half.

The Cedarcrest defense and Newport turnovers presented the Red

Wolf offense with numerous chances to get back into the game in the second

half. Junior Colin Guthrie recovered a Knight fumble near midfield

midway through the third stanza. Seven plays later, the Wolves were knocking on

the door of the Newport end zone again, thanks to a personal foul against

Newport, sandwiched between a run and two catches by Cedarcrest senior

Eric Dick.

But a fourth down pass from back-up quarterback Casey Peterson

to speedster Darren Carrido fell incomplete and the Knights took over

on downs at their own 11.

Peterson recovered the fourth Newport fumble in Cedarcrest

territory, but the Wolves' 11-play drive ended with two incomplete

passes near midfield. Junior Charlie Huber used his helmet to block a long

field goal attempt by Johnson with 2:33 left in the game. But the Newport

senior had his revenge on the very next play when he intercepted a Cedarcrest

pass and returned it 60-yards to for his third TD of the game.

"We took some chances on defense. We hit some gaps and I

think we surprised them," said Cedarcrest coach Art Kuehn. "We slowed

them down. That's about all you can ask against a high-powered offense."

Junior running back Jed Dern led the revitalized Cedarcrest ground

attack with 38 yards on nine carries. Carrido had the long run of the

game, with an eighteen yard sprint from scrimmage.

Rich wrapped-up his first varsity start with nine completions on 25

attempts for 85 yards and one touchdown. Smith finished with two

catches for 20 yards and the lone TD for the Red Wolves.

Kuehn expects more scoring from his team this week after the

offensive line has had more time to work on run blocking and pass protection.

The coach was pleased with the performance of his young quarterback

and expects big plays from Rich next week.

Cedarcrest will try to even its record this Friday night when the

Red Wolves travel to Bellevue to take on Sammamish. Last year the

Totems built a 29-0 first-half lead and hung on to beat Cedarcrest 32-29 on a

cool November night in Carnation.

Sammamish will also be seeking its first win of the young season

this Friday. Last week Totem mistakes led to a 14-12 loss to the Bellevue

Wolverines. Sammamish senior Chris Raftery ran for 156 yards on 24

attempts and one touchdown in the losing effort.

"Our coaches are studying video of the Sammamish game to devise

a way to slow down Raftery," said Kuehn. "It's not easy when that

one guy is faster than every player on our team."

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