O'Dea rumbles past Ferndale, 28-13
Sophomore running back Tatum Taylor ran 54 yards for his first varsity touchdown, helping O'Dea bounce back from a Week 1 defeat.
Special to The Seattle Times
WEST SEATTLE — It wasn't the final score that bothered O'Dea football coach Monte Kohler so much as it was the effort. The Irish aren't shut out that often, and Kohler was disappointed with how his team competed in its Week 1 loss to Capital.
That message clearly came through for O'Dea this week in practice, as the Irish used four big runs and a bend-but-don't-break defense to defeat Ferndale 28-13 in a nonleague matchup between ranked teams Friday at West Seattle Stadium.
"I didn't think we played well (in the 28-0 loss last week) but it was more about how hard we played," Kohler said. "We didn't play with the level of effort that we need to. So that was the sense of urgency this week, not so much about getting a win but playing with great effort."
The effort was best on display with 8:45 to play in the game. Ferndale (1-1) had just scored on a 35-yard pass from Jacob Frost to Alex Conley to make it 21-7, but the Golden Eagles failed to execute an onside kick. On the next play, Irish sophomore running back Tatum Taylor ran left, found no room so switched fields, running down the right sideline for a 54-yard touchdown, the first of his varsity career.
"That was big, that really sparked us," Kohler said. "He has talent and he gives us another guy we can give the ball to who can make something happen."
Ferndale outgained O'Dea 398-360, but the Irish had 347 of their yards on the ground, and 202 came on four scoring runs.
"Last week was a wake-up call for us," said senior running back Keenan Fouch, who had 196 yards on 13 carries, including touchdowns of 67 and 53 yards. "That was one of the worst losses we've had here and we knew we had to focus more and just play harder."
O'Dea allowed 264 yards on the ground to Ferndale, which runs a deceptive Wing-T offense, but the Golden Eagles were unable to break any of their runs for a particularly long gain.
"They run the Wing-T very good and it's always tough to play against that kind of offense," said O'Dea defensive end Devante Curry, who had a huge fourth-down stop at the 2-yard line late in the third quarter, and later recovered a fumble. "We just had to tackle well and focus on our assignments."
Forch broke free up the middle on O'Dea's first drive for a 53-yard touchdown but that was the only score of the first half. But on the first possession of the third quarter, Ferndale was called for pass interference on third-and-9, giving the Irish a first down that led to a 28-yard scoring run by quarterback Kevin Miller. The Golden Eagles then fumbled the ball away on their next possession, leading to Forch breaking two tackles and going 67 yards for a 21-0 O'Dea lead.
"I thought we executed well and came up with big plays when we needed them," Kohler said. "Ferndale is a very difficult team to play and we never stopped them, but we slowed them down enough."