Juanita sends Redmond to 0-2 start | HS Football
By TIM WATANABE
Redmond Reporter Sports Reporter
September 16, 2008 · Updated 10:56 AM
It was not the 2008 homecoming that Redmond football coach Mike Pluschke had in mind.
Stepping back onto Bergh Field at Juanita High — the school he had coached for three years before leaving for his current post at Redmond in 2004 — Pluschke and the Mustangs came in ready to bounce back from their tightly contested 34-29 loss to Prosser in week 1. But the Rebels held off Redmond, 34-21, in the nonleague contest last Friday night.
The Mustangs looked sharp in the game’s opening minutes, when Redmond capped a nine-play, 74-yard drive with quarterback David Gilbertson connecting with wide receiver Tyler Coffman for 15 yards as Redmond took the early lead. Unfortunately for Redmond, unforced errors in the first half caused the ‘Stangs to dig themselves too deep of a hole.
Twice in the second quarter, Redmond (0-2) turned the ball over to Juanita (1-1) via a fumble, the second time deep in Redmond territory, leading to a score that made it 20-7 in favor of the Rebels.
Led by quarterback Nick Olearian and speedy running back Jerimiah Laufasa, who gained 100 yards on 16 carries, Juanita was able to get past the huge bodies on Redmond’s defensive line and move the football upfield.
“We had some trouble early with their fly sweep, and they ran the ball up the middle on us very, very well,” Plushcke said. “That’s unlike Mustang football, and so we had a tough night there.”
The half ended as well as it could have for the Mustangs, as Gilbertson connected with John Martino on fourth-and-goal from the 7-yard line. The touchdown helped the Mustangs pull within 20-14 at halftime.
“John Martino and Cameron Sandquist are just good football players,” said Pluschke of his talented wide receivers. “They’re going to make plays every single night.”
The Rebels gave the Mustangs opportunities to get back into the game early in the second half as Juanita committed two turnovers in the first two minutes of the third quarter. In the end, however, a staunch Rebel defense left Redmond with too many third-and-long situations, never really giving the Mustangs an opportunity to score.
Juanita running back Cole Graves ran for three touchdowns, and Redmond linebacker Bryan Slater had a big night defensively with seven tackles. Gilbertson finished 21 of 41 for 237 yards, including 150 yards passing in the first half.
“David Gilbertson had a decent night ... this is just one of those learning experiences where you chalk it up, get back to work and fix the mistakes,” Pluschke said. “Tonight just wasn’t our night, and we take our hat off to Juanita for them coming out on a home field game and playing to the best of their ability.”
Pluschke said that the stalled drives and dropped balls that his team committed were uncharacteristic of the program, and that when you’re as dependent on the throwing game as Redmond is, “it’s very difficult to keep drives alive and sustain any type of clock-oriented offense.”
The fifth-year Mustang coach was, however, impressed with the improvement in special teams from week 1 against Prosser, and in particular a play that occurred early in the second half after a punt snap nearly went over the kicker’s head.
“He picked the ball up on the 1-yard line, and instead of going down in that tackle, he made a great move and he got out 29 yards, and we end up holding them on that drive,” Pluschke recalled. “That was key, the special teams play of the day basically. Him picking it up and doing those things ... he was upset at how the play went, but what great heart in a tough situation.”
QWEST FOR A VICTORY
Next week’s 4A Kingco marquee matchup against Bothell (0-2) at Qwest Field in Seattle will be gut-check time for the Mustangs, as both teams are still searching for their first win of the young season.
“We’ve got an extra preparation day, and we’re just going to go back to working on fundamentals and our techniques,” said Pluschke of how his team will prepare for Saturday’s game. “(Bothell) is going to come off of two fantastic opponents (Issaquah and Bellevue) and they’re in a situation where they’re hungry to win, and we’re hungry to win.
“It’s going to be a great test for us on Saturday night.”
Tim Watanabe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 425-867-0353 ext. 5054.Contact Redmond Reporter Sports Reporter Tim Watanabe at email@example.com or (425) 867-0353, ext. 5054.