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Football: Loggers open season with loss

by Western News
| September 1, 2009 12:00 AM

Embattled in a close game through the first half, the Libby High School football team could not keep pace with a dangerous Timberlake running attack in a season-opening contest at Spirit Lake, Idaho on Saturday evening.

John Morris rushed for 231 yards and four touchdowns – including three jaunts to the end zone in the third quarter – to help the Tigers to a 42-14 victory.

“The first five or six minutes both sides were feeling each other out,” Timberlake coach Roy Albertson said. “Everybody came to play but we kind of wore them down. … We did a great job of executing and were able to work on our running game.”

In all, Timberlake amassed 401 yards rushing and along with Morris’s totals, teammate Derek Tymesen contributed 87 yards on nine carries.

“We need to do a better job of rotating our kids in,” Libby coach Neil Fuller said. “Yeah, they did wear us down in the second half. They’re a big, athletic, physical football team but I was pleased with our effort.”

The game appeared as though it would be a shootout based on what occurred during the opening quarter. Kody Berget scored the Loggers’ first TD of the season on a 55-yard pass from Kelly May. The Tigers came right back, however, when John Shaffer streaked to the end zone on an 85-yard kickoff return. Both extra point kick attempts failed and the game was knotted, 6-6.

“We scored first and they turn around and run it back,” Fuller said. “We only kicked off three times but on the other two, we had great coverage. With the type of team that we have, we can’t afford to be giving up returns like that.”

The Tigers took their first lead on a 2-yard run by Derek Puckett, followed by a two-point conversion pass. But May and Berget hooked up on another long pass play to again tie the score before the end of the first quarter. This time, the play covered 58 yards and Libby then converted on a two-point conversion with the same tandem – May to Berget.

Timberlake regained the upper hand in the second quarter on Morris’s first touchdown and the Tigers held a 21-14 lead at the break. The TD was set up by a fumbled punt return at midfield.

The home team then took control in the third quarter with three more TDs by Morris.

“They run the ball very well and if you don’t stay home defensively, they can really hurt you,” Fuller said. “Timberlake is one of the top teams; that was a very good football team. And I knew it would take us four games to get ready for Polson.”

In injury news, sophomore linebacker/fullback Josiah Coker suffered a knee injury. Fuller did not know the severity of Coker’s injury as of early Monday afternoon but was expecting to find out later in the day.

Libby (0-1) heads to Frenchtown on Friday night in another nonconference matchup.

Frenchtown opened the season last week with a rout over Polson, 42-0.

Elsewhere in games involving Northwestern A teams, Ronan beat Browning, 26-0, and Havre downed Whitefish, 28-12.