CORVALLIS — Frenchtown hadn't forgotten falling on its home field in the first round of last season's Class A playoffs to Corvallis and the Broncs started fast because of it, charging to a 31-3 Western A win against the Blue Devils on Friday.
FRENCHTOWN — For the No. 6 seeded Corvallis Blue Devils, forgetting their problems — in tru…
Some teams don't like to talk about "last year." Others use it for motivation.
"No matter what you can say the past is in the past, but I think in the back of your head it's there and there's still that little bit of a sting," Frenchtown coach Ryne Nelson said candidly. "I felt like we were a better football team (than we showed last season) and I just wanted to come out and show it."
Quarterback Cade Baker connected on a first-series 30-yard touchdown strike to speedster Jace Klucewich to give the Broncs a 7-0 lead after a Hank Rugg extra point. Frenchtown wouldn't relinquish the lead from there, as the Broncs capped the first half with another Baker-to-Klucewich pitch and catch for a score with 1:31 remaining in the second quarter.
That one went for 48 yards and built the Broncs' lead to 28-3.
"It makes my job easy. I know last week I basically just threw a ball through the back of the end zone and Jace probably had one of the craziest catches I've ever seen," said Baker, who added a 23-yard touchdown run of his own in the second quarter. "It takes the pressure off completely."
Well, almost. Baker told how his team specifically used the weight of last year's 28-23 playoff loss to the Blue Devils as a grindstone to work on this week at practice.
"We were coming into this game thinking redemption. We felt like we should have won this game and we wanted to come into this one and show them how we can play," he said.
To Corvallis' credit, the Blue Devils answered the bell in the second half. Coach Clayton Curley praised his team for its defensive effort in holding No. 4 Frenchtown to just three points over the final 24 minutes. Hank Rugg's field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter was all the more Frenchtown would add.
"We have a lot of young kids, but we're going out to compete every week and these kids are getting better every week, there's so many good things going on it's great, and we're excited for our next game," said Curley, whose squad trailed just 7-3 at the 8:51 mark of the second quarter after a 30-yard field goal from Emil Bohnet.
Corvallis (1-2 overall) also twice brought the ball deep into Bronc territory in the second half. Corvallis' first drive after halftime lasted eight plays and chewed up 60 yards before falling flat with a fumble on Frenchtown's 12-yard line. The Blue Devils' final drive of the game ended at the Broncs' 5-yard line.
Frenchtown's bevy of playmakers were too much in the first half, though, as Ben Larson's 65-yard kickoff return kept Corvallis at bay and gave the Broncs a 14-3 lead. It also kicked off 24 unanswered points for Frenchtown, which improved to 3-0 overall.