COLTON – Missing a key player in the trenches, the Sunnyside Christian football team struggled in a 54-16 loss at Colton last Friday.
With SCHS minus senior nose tackle Josh Anderson due to injury, the host Wildcats were able to control the line of scrimmage.
“We couldn’t get the pressure on the quarterback that we wanted,” said Sunnyside Christian Coach Ray Hernandez. “We defended the pass well, but if you don’t get pressure on the quarterback he’ll make the throws that he needs to make.”
The Knights tried to adjust, employing four of their eight defenders on the line.
“They’re (the Wildcats) a well-coached team with lots of experience and they went to an option that hurt us,” said Hernandez.
Sunnyside Christian found a couple of bright spots in Friday’s loss with a pair of scores.
The Knights first cracked the scoreboard in the second quarter on a 45-yard run by Cooper Liefke.
In the third frame, Sunnyside Christian scored its other touchdown on a five-yard TD pass from Wyatt Hoff to Nate Scheenstra.
The Knights were bit by the injury bug again in the third quarter Friday night when Liefke had to leave the game.
As a result, Sunnyside Christian had to adjust its line-up, moving Hoff to receiver and having freshman signal caller Justin Faber go under center.
For the game, Hoff and Faber combined to hit on 13-of-28 pass attempts for 202 yards.
Though it was one of those rare games when he was kept out of the end zone, Sunnyside Christian’s Luke Wavrin had a strong effort with 179 rushing yards on 21 carries.
Liefke added 70 yards on nine carries before leaving with an injury.
Scheenstra and Brant Bosma were Sunnyside Christian’s big targets in the passing game, with 90 and 97 yards receiving, respectively.
Sunnyside Christian, 5-3, now faces a crucial contest this coming Friday when it hosts Garfield-Palouse at Granger.
“This is the team we have to beat,” said Hernandez. “If we win we’ll be set in fourth place.” And that means with a win Sunnyside Christian will be able to punch its ticket to the postseason with a loser-out contest, or what Hernandez calls a “wildcard” game.
But first there’s the matter of Garfield-Palouse this coming Friday. “It comes down to this,” the coach said.