Nordhoff Rangers run wild over Coyotes, 61-14
By Jesse Phelps
Nordhoff's varsity football team
took a giant leap forward on Thursday with a 61-14 pummeling
of county rival Calabasas in front of its first home crowd of
The Rangers dominated the line of scrimmage during a second-half
barrage that saw them take a 21-14 game and turn it into an absolute
rout. Amazingly, the team scored 61 points on a night that quarterback
Ryan Whitcomb threw only seven passes. Ranger backs scored seven
touchdowns, including four by junior tailback Will Strong.
Strong ran 13 times for 158 yards, mostly in the first and second
quarters, and senior Josh Catlett added 127 yards on 10 carries.
In total, the Rangers ran 39 times for an amazing 465 yards,
an average of 11.9 yards per carry.
The game was actually tied after one quarter but then, on the
Rangers' fourth possession of the day, Strong broke out a 57-yard
scamper on the first play of the drive for his - and his team's
- third touchdown.
The Nordhoff defense took over from there with two huge goal-line
stands. After Calabasas drove inside the Nordhoff 10-yard line,
Clark Bigler stripped quarterback Keith Barrett and recovered
the fumble for the Rangers.
But the Rangers (2-1) couldn't capitalize and wound up punting.
Bigler's kick was blocked and suddenly Calabasas (0-3) had a
first and goal at the Nordhoff inside the Nordhoff 5-yard line.
But Casey Catlett recovered another fumble and the Rangers took
their seven-point lead into the locker room at the half.
The second half quickly became a blowout. Micah Reed blocked
a field goal attempt by Calabasas kicker Brett Bumerts and after
a 32-yard run by Bigler, Whitcomb scrambled in from 21 yards
out to put Nordhoff up by two scores.
Nordhoff head coach Cliff Farrar pointed to Reed's blocked kick
as a turning point in the game and said his contributions to
the team have been numerous. "He loves the game of football
and he's our spiritual leader. He wants to have fun and he's
doing that and bringing people with him."
But Nordhoff wasn't done yet. After Strong intercepted a Barrett
pass, Whitcomb went to the air, connecting with junior wide-out
Andy Doyle for a 15-yard strike on a fade pattern.
Now the sideline buzzed as the Ranger players began to smell
blood in the water. On the first play of the next drive, Josh
Catlett sacked Barrett. On the second play, the defense forced
a fumble, recovering at the Calabasas 30. A penalty forced a
punt, but Nordhoff again shut down the Calabasas offense on the
ensuing drive, thanks, in large part, to a vicious sack by Sean
Strong scored his fourth touchdown of the game, leaving him one
short of the Ranger record, on the next Nordhoff possession.
This time, he took it in from 20 yards out. After a failed PAT,
the score was Nordhoff 41, Calabasas 14 heading into the final
In the fourth, the Rangers kept it rolling, ultimately threatening
the school record of 69 points. Max Thomas got around the corner
for a 12-yard touchdown, Josh Catlett scored from 40 yards out
and Spencer Hill added the final score on a 54-yard interception
"I think it showed in several spots that we were faster
than them," said Farrar. "That's pretty uncommon for
us at Nordhoff to be faster than anybody, so that was nice to
Farrar said that his backs were fortunate to run behind a line
that consistently opened gaping holes. "Those five kids,
Reed, (James) Thompson, (Taylor) Downey, Kevin Bigler and (Josh)
Bonsworth, those guys just played a great game."
Strong agreed with Farrar's assessment of the line's play. "They
opened up big holes," he said. "Anybody could have
run through those things."
Said Reed, "Blocking every time and just kicking somebody's
butt is just the greatest feeling."
The Rangers are now ranked No. 5 in Division 11, a jump of five
spots from their ranking last week, heading into their first
Tri-Valley League showdown this weekend at home vs. Carpinteria.
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