After a great start against a quality opponent, the final preseason football game quickly slipped out of the Grays Harbor Bearcats’ grasp.
Grays Harbor struggled to move the ball for much of the game, and could not find a way to stop Portland’s passing attack. The Raiders beat the Bearcats, 60-7, in an unusual, penalty-ridden game that featured three personal fouls, five unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and two ejections.
After Grays Harbor forced a three-and-out on the Raiders’ opening possession, Loyal Linton led the Bearcats’ offense down the field on its first series. Linton capped a 10-play, 74-yard drive by connecting with Derek Archer for a 40-yard touchdown pass with 7:19 left in the first quarter. The extra point by Max Mendez put the Bearcats up 7-0.
Archer led Grays Harbor with four receptions for 79 yards.
However, after the promising start, Grays Harbor’s offense managed just 34 yards in the remainder of the first half.
On the ensuing possession, Portland quarterback Russ Schneider hit Isaiah Smith in the middle of the field for a 15-yard pick up on third-and-ten. It was Schneider’s first completion of the game, but it certainly was not his last.
Portland scored three unanswered touchdowns before the first quarter came to a close. The first was an 8-yard pass from Schneider to Drew Dukeshire, followed by a pair of touchdowns (seven and 17 yards) from Schneider to Smith.
Smith proved to be Schneider’s favorite target, hauling in nine balls for 113 yards. Smith added a 16-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter and finished the game with three catches for scores.
Schneider completed 27 of his 51 pass attempts for 389 yards and passed for all eight of the Raider touchdowns in the game. Three of his TDs came in the final eight minutes of the game, when the outcome was not in question and the Bearcats were allowing their back-ups to get some snaps.
“(The Raiders) are going to be one of the top teams this year,” Grays Harbor head coach Todd Hoiness said. “(Schneider) is probably the best quarterback in the league. He’s a really good quarterback.”
Despite the lopsided loss, Hoiness was able to focus on some of the positive things that happened in the game.
“We actually improved on a lot of stuff from last week,” Hoiness said. “We wanted to win, but we still treated it like a preseason game. We tried out a lot of different stuff today. We improved on some things a ton from last week. We have some new players and we worked some guys in. Everybody played tonight. We’re a young team. We have a lot of opportunities to get better, and I think we will.”
The Bearcats have several new players that joined the team this week. One of them is former Seattle Stallions quarterback Leo Dickerson, who was described by Hoiness as “a proven quarterback” and threw six touchdown passes against the Bearcats last season. Hoiness added that Dickerson will likely take over under center for Grays Harbor soon.
Dickerson passed for 37 yards in limited action in Saturday night’s game. Perhaps more importantly, the exhibition game gave Dickerson a chance to familiarize himself with his new team’s offense as well as showcase his elusiveness and arm strength.
Bearcats Harry Peterson and Shane Dayton were both ejected in the fourth quarter. However, Hoiness believes that Dayton’s ejection was caused by a misunderstanding and the Bearcats intend to appeal it.
Portland’s kicker, Matt Evensen, put forth an impressive performance. In addition to converting all seven of his extra point attempts and forcing three touchbacks on kickoffs, Evensen connected on a 56-yard field goal attempt early in the fourth quarter. It was his only field goal attempt of the game.
The Bearcats (0-2) will kick off their Pacific Football League season on Saturday when they host the Yakima Mavericks.
Portland 21 14 0 25 – 60
Grays Harbor 7 0 0 0 - 7
Port – GH
Passing Yards 389 136
Rushing Yards 62 11
Total Yards 451 147
Penalty Yards 100 139
First Downs 25 7
Had Intercepted 1 0
Fumbles Lost 1 3
Passing 27-51 – 9-27