By Mike Vlahovich
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Quick strike offense coupled with timely and opportunistic defense against a mistake-prone foe provided the ingredients for a Ferris State 4A football quarterfinal appearance.
Ferris travels to Yakima next weekend against unbeaten Eisenhower, which built a big lead and held on to eliminate Southridge 27-21.
The Saxons parlayed three turnovers and a four down defensive stand into a big first quarter lead en route to a 41-16 triumph over Kamiakin Friday night at Joe Albi Stadium.
Two fumbles came 15 seconds apart deep in Braves territory, outside linebacker Brendon Olson recovering both that led to the final 10 points of a 14-10 lead.
They were among the five turnovers and three fourth-down stops by the Saxons that sent them in into the state round of eight.
“I was really pleased with our defense tonight,” said coach Jim Sharkey. “We sputtered at times on offense, but they blitzed a lot and that kind of happens. It also created some big plays.”
The game began ominously when Tim White took the opening kickoff 84 yards and 7-0. Kamiakin lead. But in the final six minutes of the long, long first quarter, things turned nightmarish for the Braves.
The game was tied 7-7 and Kamiakin was inside Ferris’ 20 yard line, but turned away on downs. Halliday with two blitzers in his face found Orosco on his first TD screen pass and the Saxons back got outside and into wide open territory for 76 yards and the go ahead score.
Brendon Olson turned the game with fumble recoveries on the next two Braves possessions that resulted in 10 more Ferris points with 3:30 left in the quarter including a 23-yard Halliday to Jason Bates pass.
The killer before halftime came when when Kamiakin eschewed a field goal with fourth down at the 6-yard-line and Ferris covered 85 yards in the final 3 minutes, a middle screen to Tonani from 20 yards out making it 31-10.
Instead of cutting the deficit to less that two touchdowns, the Saxons had a three-TD lead heading into the locker room.
The interminable half included 24 pass attempts by Corey Hutchinson and 18 by Halliday who had 208 yards and three TDs. Orosco not only caught two balls for 110 yards but added 41 yards on the ground.
Playing soft against the run with a three-man rush, Orosco was able to get to the outside, and worked his way past tacklers for the yardage, just as he was able to find open areas on the screen catches.
Ferris spent much of the third quarter using up clock with a conservative, makinly run, approach. But when Kamiakin covered 78 yards for a score late in the period, the Saxons answered quickly on a short out and 45 yard run by 39 and 11-yard scoring strike to Tonani. With 46 seconds remaining.
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