West Salem needed one half to figure things out Friday night at Bend High.
Bend running back Nate Denney rushed for 158 yards in the first half, then just 7 yards in the second half, as the Titans rolled to a 44-19 victory over Bend High in a nonleague meeting between Class 6A Special District 6 foes.
West Salem (1-1) held a 14-13 lead at halftime, but the third quarter was all Titans, as they outscored the Bears (0-2) 21-0 to take a 35-13 lead by the end of the third quarter.
“They ran the ball really well in the third and fourth quarters, and hung on to it with long drives,” Bend coach Matt Craven said of West Salem. “We had a lot of success in the first half running the ball. In the second half, they did a good job stymieing us and when they got the ball they hung on to it. But our kids put in a tremendous effort. It’s an outstanding team we played.”
Craven added: “We can’t hang our heads on this one.”
On the second play of the third quarter, West Salem’s Jesse Monterroso scampered 69 yards for a touchdown to give the Titans a 21-13 lead.
After Bend punted on its ensuing possession, the Titans marched back down the field as Arian Jacobo scored on a 3-yard run up the middle for a 28-13 lead with 6:47 left in the third quarter.
Jacobo scored again six minutes later on an 11-yard run up the gut for a 35-13 lead.
Meanwhile, the Bears mustered little offense in the second half.
“They (the Bears) got better at running the wing-T, and when they run it effectively like they did guys get lost,” said West Salem coach Shawn Stanley. “I was impressed with the speed (Denney) had. We had some guys on the back end that are 11.5 (-second) hundred-meter guys and he ran away from a couple of them. We just continued to play and learn. We don’t see a lot of wing-T. Until you play against it, it’s a different story.”
Bend struck first in the game when Jacob Winchester intercepted a Jackson Lowery pass and returned it 30 yards into the end zone for a 7-0 lead with 7:41 left in the first quarter.
The Titans then gave the ball away again on their next possession, when Bend’s Spencer Burgess recovered a fumble at the West Salem 44-yard line. The Bears could not convert, however, and ended up punting the ball away.
The Titans then marched down the field on a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive, capped by a 13-yard touchdown pass from Lowery to Marshall Bray to tie the game 7-7 with 1:14 left in the first quarter.
The Lava Bears then put together an impressive drive of their own, using 15 plays to go 80 yards and chew 7:13 off the clock. The drive ended with a 6-yard touchdown run by Burgess over the right side. The extra-point attempt was blocked, and Bend held a 13-7 lead with 5:55 left in the half.
West Salem later took a 14-13 lead on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Lowery to Bray and the successful point after with 2:14 left before halftime.
Monterroso finished with 135 yards rushing on 10 carries for the Titans.
Craven said the size of the West Salem offensive line made a difference.
“I think our D-line just got mugged a little bit by giant guys,” Craven said. “We got mugged and they have a quick back who was able to find those holes. We just got leaned on tonight.
“But there were some improvements. We did not turn the ball over like we did last week (in a 34-8 loss to Barlow).”
Bend hosts North Medford next Friday night in another nonleague game.