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Beamer kicks off
By CASEY OLSON
It wasnt the storybook ending. The Todd Beamer Titan football team didnt take the field for the first time in the schools history and shock the Chief Sealth Seahawks. Far from it.
But the freshman, sophomores and juniors on the Beamer roster gave the fans and themselves a memorable performance.
The standing ovation from the crowd Saturday night at Federal Way Memorial Stadium wasnt the normal postgame sendoff after an exciting victory. It was more like, Thanks for the memories. We are proud of you.
When the players on the Beamer roster tell their grandkids about the inaugural football game, the score will just be an afterthought. The 54-0 Chief Sealth victory over the Titans Saturday is just the first block laid in the construction of the Beamer football program.
We were excited, said sophomore captain Sam Heck. But it didnt turn out the way we wanted it to.
Beamer suited up 33 players on opening night, compared to the 20 Chief Sealth had in uniform. Two of the Titans better and older players were ineligible, including projected starting quarterback and their best lineman.
Being a new program, its kind of hard to track the kids academically Bbefore they got here, said coach Jeff Housman. But now that they are here, we can do that.
I was pretty excited, said sophomore middle linebacker Rodney Dunlap about the game. We got together before the game for a team meal and watched some videos to get us pumped up.
The dinner, put on by the Beamer parents, included a spaghetti feed, and the videos, provided by Housman and his staff, included footage of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers and the 1986 Chicago Bears defense.
It was pretty cool, Dunlap said.
But that pumped up attitude was deflated pretty early and often during the game.
Optimism was abound when freshman Matt Hart became the first Beamer player to ever touch a football in a game when he returned the opening kickoff back to the 37 yard line. But that outlook turned a bit south after three straight runs by Heck netted three yards and Sealths Willie Pablo returned the ensuing punt 60 yards up the sideline before being tackled at the Beamer 20. Two plays later, Willie Lee took an end around 12 yards to give the Seahawks the first of their eight touchdowns on the night. The Titans trailed 12-0 after the first quarter and 34-0 at the half.
We played better in the second half, Dunlap said. We started flying to the ball a bit better.
Heck led the Titans in rushing with 18 yards on 17 carries. Beamers first first down came with 11 seconds remaining in the third quarter when quarterback Evan Thomas hit Hart on a slant pattern for a 14-yard gain on a second and seven. The Titans mustered only one more first down on a 14-yard run from junior Dan Smith in the fourth quarter. In total, the Beamer offense tallied 14 yards of total offense.
We just have to play to the end, Heck said. We have something called fourth-quarter pride when we hold four fingers up. We just want to play with intensity throughout the entire game. I thought we might have started giving up a little in the second quarter, but we came back in the second half and played better.
The Titans will remain at home this weekend when they battle R.A. Long Saturday at Federal Way Memorial Stadium. The Lumberjacks should pose the biggest problem for the Titans this year. R.A. Long, located in Longview, plays in the Greater St. Helens League, which is one of the better football conferences in the state.
The Lumberjacks have one of the better quarterbacks in the state in senior Adam Perry, whose touchdown passes and yardage led the GSHL last year. Senior Jonah Hobson caught 50 passes a year ago and senior Sheldon Anderson was second on the team in rushing. R.A. Long beat 4A River Ridge 42-28 Friday night to move to 1-0.
We just need to keep our heads up, Heck said. Everything we do has to echo Todd Beamer football.
Sports editor Casey Olson, 925-5565, email@example.com.