Sultan impressive in loss to Othello


Herald Writer

OTHELLO – You might think the Sultan Turks would be overpowered and dominated.

They had just three days to prepare for their Class 2A state playoff football game against the Othello Huskies. They played a preliminary game Tuesday night. They had a four-hour bus ride Saturday. And they were facing a team ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll, which, by the way, is led by University of Washington-bound back Dan McCourtie.

But you’d be wrong. The Turks did end up on the short end of the score board, losing 28-14 to the Huskies. But the score does not do this one justice.

“It is hard to prepare with just one and a half days of practice,” said Turk coach Jim MacDicken.

The Huskies went into halftime with a 21-0 advantage behind the strong running of McCourtie, a senior fullback carried the ball seven times in the half for 151 yards and all three touchdown runs.

Even after fumbling the second-half kickoff at their own 20, setting up Othello in prime field position, the Turks did not give up. The defense held tough, forcing the Huskies to turn the ball over on downs.

The Turks did not score until the fourth quarter, but the way they did, and what soon followed, was impressive.

“We pulled the whole bag out with the trick plays, and they worked,” MacDicken said.

Yes indeed they did. Turk quarterback Bryan Nelson pitched to Josh Grigg, who threw back to a wide-open Nelson who took it 61 yards for the score.

With 4:05 remaining on the clock, coach MacDicken opened that bag of tricks again. On the ensuing kickoff, Sultan attempted the onside kick and Turk defensive back Gavin Galle recoverd at the Huskie 49-yard line.

After a halfback-option pass from Tim Benjamin to Kris Kropp for a gain of 31 yards, Sultan followed that up with a tackle-eligible pass for a gain of 17, taking it to the Huskie 1. With 2:23 remaining on the clock, Turk back Eric Solberg took the handoff and pushed his way in for the score.

After attempting another onside kick and failing to recover, Sultan insisted on making this game interesting by forcing McCourtie to fumble on the next possession, with Gavin Galle recovering.

Huskie Greg Kirkwood ended all hopes for the Sultan by intercepting Nelson on the Huskie 14.

The Sultan defense was outstanding, holding McCourtie to just 17 yards on six carries in the second half.

Sultan running back Tim Benjamin gave his all in the losing effort, passing, throwing and running, for 125 all-purpose yards.

Sultan ended its season at 6-5.

Othello moves on to play Cashmere in the quarterfinals.

Othello-McCourtie 2 run (Kirkwood kick)

Othello-McCourtie 50 run (Kirkwood kick)

Othello-McCourtie 57 run (Kirkwood kick)

Othello-Risenmay 12 run (Kirkwood kick)

Sultan-Nelson 61 pass from Grigg (Galle kick) Othello 9-1.

Sultan-Solberg 1 run (Galle kick)

Records-Sultan 6-5 overall.

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