Big plays in the passing game and an impressive second-half performance by the defense propelled the Grays Harbor Bearcats to a 44-18 win over the Portland Raiders on Saturday night in a Pacific League Football semi-pro contest at Stewart Field. The Bearcats shut out the Raiders and allowed just 26 yards of total offense in the second half.
Portland managed to stay within one score of Grays Harbor (2-0 in league, 3-0 overall) for most of the game. However, a perfectly thrown 79-yard touchdown pass from David Evans to Chris Jackson early in the fourth quarter gave the Bearcats an insurmountable 30-18 lead. The bomb was Evans’ fourth touchdown pass of the game and Jackson’s second receiving score.
Despite wet conditions and several dropped passes by his receivers, Evans finished with 229 yards passing.
“(Evans) has really been playing well,” Grays Harbor head coach Todd Hoiness said. “In this weather, to throw some of the balls he did was really impressive.”
On the other side of the ball, Grays Harbor was led by its all-league middle linebacker, Joel Brown. Brown displayed tremendous range and a great nose for the ball. Brown recorded three sacks and recovered two fumbles, one for a touchdown.
“I think Joel is the best middle linebacker in the league,” Hoiness said. “His presence out there really messes with an offense, because most linebackers don’t have his range. It was just an outstanding performance. Joel, Dan Brown, Jack Traxtle and Jeff Gates were our linebackers today and those guys were awesome. I was really impressed with all of them.”
Portland (0-2) took the lead briefly with 7:36 left in the second quarter when Brady Larsen hit Todd Clawson in the right side of the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown. Clawson hung on to the ball despite taking a vicious hit from a Bearcats defender. This gave the Raiders an 18-13 lead.
Grays Harbor responded with an eight-play, 62-yard drive that was punctuated by an 8-yard touchdown pass from Evans to Joseph Winther with 4:06 left in the half. Evans and Winther also hooked up on the two-point conversion, giving the Bearcats a 21-18 lead.
Earlier in the second quarter, Evans threw a 72-yard scoring bomb to Jeremy Walker that, at the time, gave Grays Harbor a 13-12 lead.
On Saturday, the Bearcats will travel to Oregon to take on the Springfield Buzzards.
Bearcats 44, Raiders 18
Port 0 18 0 0 – 18 GH 7 14 3 20 – 44
First Downs 11 15
Passing Yards 175 229
Rushing Yards 36 140
Total Yards 211 369
Passing 9-24 8-21
Had Intercepted 1 0
Fumbles Lost 1 2
Penalty Yards 33 55