The stage is set on a evening that had it all... wind, rain, hail. With a dedicated crowd that enjoyed a thrilling nail biter of a game, the Washington County Pit Bulls take a 1st and goal from the 1 yard line with 1:54 left in regulation down 6-12 against the reigning Pacific Football League Champions. On three consecutive runs, the reining champions thwarted a potential upset from the up and coming Washington County Pit Bulls to preserve a victory in the league opener for both teams.
Highlights of the game can be seen at the following link: http://www.hudl.com/v/1mQXzz
The story lines leading up to this match up are abundant with the history of these two organizations. The Portland Raiders, lead by Head Coach Aaron Fentress came in to town as the legitimate #1 team in the Pacific North West. This was a game of attrition with both teams throwing everything in the gas tank literally up to the last minute.
This game was a battle of field position and defense. Each team's defense being stingy to give field position or scoring opportunities. After a scoreless first quarter, the Raiders held the first opportunity to score on 4th and goal, QB Russell Schneider dropped back to pass and is flushed out of the pocket with in striking distance of the goal line is stopped by LB Stevan Izquierdo at the 1 yard line.
The ensuing offensive drive ends in a safety by the Raider's stifling defense. On the ensuing offensive drive for the Raiders, the Pit Bulls defense strikes with a strip of the ball by Safety Tyler Dye and 45 yard scoop and score by Boogie Watkins.
Both offenses continued to trade field positions until the 3rd quarter where Raider TB Antonio Harris breaks past the Pit Bulls defense for a 13 yard rushing touchdown.
The offense of the Pit Bulls still trying to find some rhythm, got some sparks on some drives during the game but it finally started to build some steam in the third quarter behind Eddy Simpson. Again after trading field position, the Raiders convert on a 24 yard FG attempt by Schneider making the score 12-6 Raiders at the end of the third quarter.
Pit Bulls continued to fight the war of attrition and continue to make small gains until Simpson hits WR Trevor Dye at the Raider 24. A few more completions to WR James Owens including a tip drill drives the ball inside the 10 yard with 2:36 left in regulation. A pass interference call against the Raiders placed the ball at the Raider 1 yard line with 1:54 left in regulation and ultimately thwarts the game tying score.
Photo highlights of the game can be seen at the link: http://www.eddevereaux.com/Clients/Sports/Portland-Raiders-vs-Washington-Co-Pitbulls-May-2017/
"This was a game of will." stated Pit Bulls Head Coach Mark Ancheta. "We were huge underdogs in this game. The message the coaching staff and I gave to the players were to believe that they belong on this stage with them and to just compete."
Fentress and Ancheta are no strangers. Ancheta was a secondary coach with the Portland Monarchs along with Fentress and Raiders Defensive Coordinator Forrest Sherman holding the same respective positions with the Monarchs. "Coach Fentress hired me into the minor league football community here in the Pacific Northwest. I still consider him my mentor and have a lot of respect for him. A lot of the veteran personnel are the same players I've coach with."
"I'm proud of the job that my coaching staff has done with our athletes. We are young and athletic. They continue to coach our athletes so we can close the gap with the competition that is out there. We continue to reach out to the communities of the Washington County and help build our product. I am proud to meet new supporters at our gates and personally introduce our players, coaches and build our roots here in Washington County. "
The Washington County Pit Bulls next game is against the Post Falls (Idaho) Hawks. Kick off is at 6pm at Hare Field. Come out and enjoy live football in Spring. Listen for our ad on the radio at KUIK 1360AM. Go Pit Bulls!!!