Archbishop Murphy defense dominates Eatonville | Football

Offense needs to do better job in red zone
By David Pan | Sep 07, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Archbishop Murphy’s Dillon Singh Halpin caught four passes for 25 yards and one touchdown in a 23-3 victory over Eatonville.

The Archbishop Murphy defense made quite a statement in its season opener.

The Wildcats limited Eatonville to -10 total yards of offense and a late field goal during a 23-3 victory in a nonconference football game Thursday, Aug. 30 at Archbishop Murphy High School’s Terry Ennis Stadium.

Archbishop Murphy coach Jerry Jensen was pleased with the defense’s performance, especially since the Wildcats came into the season with only about half a dozen returning starters.

“The defense played really, really well,” Jensen said. “We kept their quarterback in the pocket. The interior linemen got some pressure.”

Archbishop Murphy forced three turnovers – one interception and two fumbles. Eatonville completed 2 of 9 passes for 12 yards and had -22 yards on the ground.

“Our defense came out playing really well,” senior captain Dillon Singh Halpin said. “We had some younger guys that stepped up for us because we had an injury a couple of days before the game.”

Wildcat junior quarterback Victor Gabalis completed seven of 14 passes for 33 yards and one touchdown. Junior running back Mason Mathis rushed for 109 yards on 16 carries and scored one touchdown. Junior Josiah Santiago finished with 42 yards on 12 carries. Halpin caught four passes for 25 yards and one TD.

Three of Archbishop Murphy’s drives stalled, resulting in three field goals by Max Henderson.

“Obviously we have to score touchdowns in the red zone,” Jensen said. “That’s a product of us being young again. We’re trying to find a way to manufacture points down there. We have to do a better job.”

After a scoreless first quarter, the Wildcats took a 16-0 lead into halftime. Henderson kicked an 18-yard field goal. Gabalis then connected on a 17-yard touchdown pass to Halpin. Henderson then followed with field goals of 23 and 37 yards.

“We’re not 100 percent satisfied because we didn’t get into the end zone,” Halpin said.

Jensen was pleased with the performance of the offensive line, especially since one starter was out.

“We had a kid step in. We did really well all things considered,” Jensen said. “It’s a work in progress. We’ll get better.”

The players realize that they need to continue to work on their game.

“All we can do is continue to grow,” senior captain Luke Riojas said. “We have a lot of potential. We just need to fine-tune a couple of things. There’s obviously room for improvement every time we step out on the field. Every practice we’re really focused and dialed in.”

The Wildcats may be young but veterans Halpin and Riojas like what they’ve seen from their teammates.

“This year is a little different dynamic from freshmen all the way up to juniors,” Riojas said. “It’s a very sophomore heavy team this year. So it’s definitely a lot young. The intensity is still there.”

Mathis scored on a 36-yard TD run in the third quarter to close out the scoring for the Wildcats.

Archbishop Murphy was scheduled to host defending 2A champion Hockinson in a nonconference clash on Thursday, Sept. 6, after the Beacon’s deadline. The Wildcats then take on Rainier Beach at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 14 at Rainier Beach High School.

“It’s going to be a tough couple of weeks for sure,” Jensen said. “That’s the point of scheduling those tough teams. Hopefully, it’ll make us better.”

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