Archbishop Murphy clinches league title

  • Tony Dondero<br>Enterprise writer
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:40am

SHORELINE — Archbishop Murphy’s Tony Houts seemed like he was everywhere during the first half of the Wildcats’ 49-14 win over King’s Oct. 20.

Houts ran for a 41-yard touchdown up the middle on the Wildcats’ second play from scrimmage and picked off three passes in the first half from his strong safety spot.

Houts, who had 170 yards on eight carries to lead the Wildcats, squirted through the pile on his first run.

“I stuck my hand out, popped myself back up and took off,” Houts said.

The Wildcats (6-0 Cascade Conference, 8-0 overall) clinched the Cascade Conference title with the win.

Henry Woods rushed for two touchdowns in the first half, one set up by a 77-yard run by Houts, and Nick Snyder added another, as the Wildcats ran up a 35-0 halftime lead.

The Archbishop Murphy line broke open huge holes for the backs, who piled up 410 yards on 49 carries.

“All we had to do was hit ‘em,” said Houts, who leads the Wildcats with 945 yards rushing on 90 carries and 11 touchdowns.

Archbishop Murphy quarterback John-Paul Blair only threw two passes but both went for touchdowns.

Tight end Ryan Bourke made a juggling catch off a deflection for a 53-yard touchdown with 24 seconds left in the first half. The play was set up by Houts’ third interception.

In the third quarter, Blair connected with receiver JD Melton for a 30-yard score down the left sideline.

Archbishop Murphy head coach Terry Ennis said teams often overplay the Wildcats on the run and that opens up other opportunities.

“We tried to take advantage of what the defense was giving us,” he said.

Houts’ three interceptions killed two King’s drives deep in Wildcat territory and led to three TD drives.

“Tony was in the right place at the right time,” Ennis said. “A lot of times interceptions are a result of a good pass rush (and) kids staying in their zones.”

The Knights expected the Wildcats to key on back Spencer Clark, who broke loose for a 56-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, but was held to 73 yards on 10 carries for the night.

“We knew we’d have to go the pass tonight,” King’s head coach Jim Shapiro said. “I’d say we did OK.”

King’s starter Greg Uhrich completed 12 of 24 passes for 124 yards while backup Kevin Tranter came in for the final series and was 3 of 6 for 40 yards.

Shapiro said the Knights needed better execution on pass routes, blocking and throws, to cut down on the interceptions and missed opportunities in the passing game.

The Knights showed some life in the third quarter, scoring two unanswered touchdowns after being down 42-0.

“You got to think in your mind it’s zero-zero,” Shapiro said. “I thought we did better in the third quarter.”

After Clark put the King’s on the board, the Knights scored right after a fumbled punt return by the Wildcats, when Uhrich hit receiver Alex Lehman for a 23-yard score with 4:07 left in the third quarter.

The Knights five turnovers though proved too much to overcome.

“You can’t make mistakes against a team like Archbishop,” Shapiro said.

Archbishop Murphy added a fourth quarter touchdown on a 10-yard run by Russel Steigler.

The Knights have some key players banged up although most of them played through the pain against Archbishop Murphy. King’s will most likely host Friday Harbor in a District 1 loser-out playoff game Nov. 2.

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