Beavers football season opener

By Bucky Beaver

A packed crowd Friday night at Blanchet High School saw a very exciting game between the two neighborhood teams.  Blanchet dominated the first half of the game holding the ball 22 out of the 24 first half minutes.  However, Ballard’s defense held strong allowing no points in the first half.  Ballard’s offense couldn’t get going in the first half, mustering only 10 yards in three series.

Photo by Ed Tanaka

The Beaver’s offense came alive in the second half.  Ballard took the second half kickoff and put together a 14 play, 74 yard drive but failed to score with Blanchet stopping the Beavers at the 1 yard line.  The Beavers defense came up strong again forcing Blanchet to punt on their first series of the second half after only 3 plays.  The Beavers then put together a 10 play series with senior quarterback Johnny Verduin scoring from the 1 yard line.  The extra point was blocked giving the Beavers a 6-0 lead with 10 minutes to go in the game.  The blocked extra point would turn out to be key.  Blanchet didn’t back down however.  They put together an 80 yard drive of 15 plays eating up almost 8 minutes of the clock.  Junior Cham Pen scored for Blanchet on a 6 yard run.  The extra point was good leaving the Beavers down 1 point.  The Beavers had the ball on their 45 yard line with 2 minutes left in the game.

After a penalty the Beavers were at 2nd and 24 on the Blanchet 45 with 1:14 left in the game.  Verduin then connected on a 35 yard pass to senior Nate Rauda for a first down.  Rauda’s diving catch was one of the plays of the game.  Verduin then scrambled in from 6 yards out for the apparent Beaver go ahead score, but the play was called back for off sides.  On the next play with only 27 seconds left Verduin tried to hit Rauda in the corner of the end zone for the score but Blanchet’s senior Jack Gardner picked the pass for a game ending interception.

Nate Rauda ended with 99 yards receiving and led the defense with 13 tackles.  Senior Nathan Leapai had 7 tackles.  Senior Dominique Smith had 29 yards receiving and 16 yards rushing.  Sophomore Shea Carroll also had 16 yards rushing for the Beavers.  Verduin was 11-17 for 136 yards passing and one interception.

Ballard travels to West Seattle for their next game Friday night against the always strong O’Dea Fighting Irish.  O’Dea is coming off a 40-16 victory over Gig Harbor.

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