Loggers Punch Back, Make Statement At Home Against Toledo

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Onalaska heard all the talk after its loss to Tenino last week, a disappointing 20-14 game that saw the Loggers blow a two-touchdown lead for their second defeat of the season. The defending 2B state champions saw the rankings, where in the AP Poll they fell all the way to sixth, behind most of their league competitors. 

Friday night in Onalaska, the Loggers punched No. 4 Toledo in the mouth in a resounding 36-6 win. 

“I’m just pumped. The No. 4 team in the state of Washington, undefeated, 4-0, we’re 1-2. We’re getting moved down and moved around and everyone is chippering and chattering,” Loggers coach Mazen Saade said. “Our back was against the wall and we dug, the kids followed our motto and they dug. That’s a really good football team we just played, they're a really well coached team and they’ve always had a tradition of winning football.”

Ony capitalized on two early mistakes from the Riverhawks (4-1, 2-1 in league), turning a blocked punt by Daniel Malott into an early 1-yard Gunnar Talley touchdown, and after forcing another Toledo punt, Juan Ibarra took a 65-yarder to the house to put Ony ahead 14-0. 

“It’s hard when you’re stopping their offense and then they score a special teams touchdown,” Riverhawks coach Mike Christensen said. “Those are not mistakes you can make against a good football team.”

After that, the Loggers scored twice more, a 2-yard Marshall Haight touchdown run, and a 10-yard Kolby Mozingo score, before Toledo found the end zone in the fourth quarter. 

The Riverhawks finally connected on a pass play, a 37-yard strike from Wyatt Nef to Carson Olmstead, and Nef finished the job with a 1-yard touchdown plunge. The Toledo celebration was short lived, however, when Haight took the next handoff 48 yards to the house to ice any chance of a comeback. 

Onalaska’s opportunistic defense picked off Nef three times, all by Talley, who credited the Loggers gameplan for stopping Toledo’s vaunted rushing and passing attack. 

“We just came together, we clicked, it just starting clicking for us,” he said. “We read everything, we felt it, it was good.”

Toledo’s run game, which has consistently pounded teams with three dangerous runners in Nef, Geoffrey Glass, and Justin Filla, was stymied by the Loggers defense. The Riverhawks managed 144 yards on the ground, and Nef was just 4 for 17 for 45 yards and three interceptions. 

Tack on a blocked punt and a punt return touchdown, and you aren’t going to win many games, Christensen said. 

“We have to learn from it, that’s all you can do,” he said. “You get your butt kicked and you either learn from it, or you get your butt kicked and you don’t learn from it and it’s just a pointless endeavor at that point. We learn from it, we watch film. In a win we learn, in a loss we learn and we move on and become a better football team because of it.”

Toledo will look to bounce back against King’s Way Christian next Friday. 

For Onalaska, it’s a big statement win. The 2B powerhouse is still just that, and after all the talk about the Loggers slipping up against Tenino and Napavine earlier this season, they wanted to prove they were still one of the best teams in the state Friday night. 

“I couldn’t be prouder of these kids,” Saade said. “There’s a lot of kids and a lot of teams that would put their head down after that Tenino loss and not take it. But these kids refused last week.”

The Loggers (2-2, 2-0 in league) will look to stay perfect in league play against Toutle Lake on the road next Friday. 

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