South Fork Football to Play for 8-Man Title Saturday in Santa Rosa

Gabe Malley (with ball) gets his path cleared by Scott Coffelt (3) and Aaron Etherton (66) on one of his 21 carries last Friday night in Upper Lake [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

South Fork High’s move to the 8-man format this season is looking like a better and better decision. After going 0-10 last season with barely enough players to complete games, this year’s team is a perfect 5-0 in the northern division of the league, 6-1 overall. The Cub roster is brimming over with healthy players who beat Upper Lake 46-20 last Friday, earning them a shot at the 8-man title in what is known as The Redwood Bowl, to be held at Rincon Valley Christian School in Santa Rosa this Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Cubs were a solemn bunch on the drive to Upper Lake last Friday night. They knew they were about to take on one of their toughest opponents of the season. Upper Lake came into the game with same perfect league record and a roster of over 30 players.

And it was Upper Lake who got on the board first, scoring on its first possession to make it 6-0. But the Cubs answered back and tied the game and then pulled away with 3 more TDs in the second quarter. South Fork never looked back and ended up winning by a final score of 46-20, giving them sole possession of first place in the league.

Happy Cubs after their most important win of the season. [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

“There were some nerves before the game,” said head coach Andy Olsen. “But once the game started we were ourselves.”

Senior running back Gabe Malley had a monster night with 21 carries for 242 yards and 4 touchdowns. “He had an incredible night,” said Olsen.

Junior quarterback CJ Van Meter was 9 for 13 for 157 yards and 2 TDs. Senior wide receiver Ryder Pfau had 2 receptions with a touchdown, as did junior wide receiver Cody Wyatt. “I give their defense credit,” said Olsen. “They provided good coverage on Ryder and Cody.” However, Pfau’s TD catch in the 4th quarter to make the score 30-14 with 7 minutes left “sealed the game for us,” said Olsen.

Senior Scott Coffelt had and interception that he ran back for 19 yards and a touchdown. He also had 11 tackles and 2 sacks. Senior linebacker Aaron Etherton had 12 tackles and 2 sacks, as did sophomore Elijah Roberts.

“This was the first time all year that we were smaller than our opposing linemen. Their big guys are capable, but we are quick and strong,” said Olsen. Olsen is especially impressed with the footskills of his two wrestlers on the line, Etherton and senior Levi Kirk. “Good wrestlers make great football players.”

As defensive backs, Van Meter and Wyatt did a good job of shutting down  Upper Lake’s strategy of moving the ball on short screens and sweeps to the outside where a missed tackle could lead to a score. These tackles in space were crucial to the Cub win.

The Cubs had no turnovers to Upper Lake’s two.

Meanwhile Rincon Valley Christian was wrapping up its drive to the title game by defeating Branson to earn the Southern League Championship.

The Cubs will play at the defending 8-Man Champs’ Rincon Valley Christian this Saturday at 7 p.m. RVC lost to Upper Lake earlier in the season 48-40. They have an impressive running back who has gained nearly 1000 yards in 7 games this year. “They run a ton, like us,” said Olsen, who also noted they have two tall wide receivers, but that overall they are not as big as Upper Lake.

Rain is predicted so ball security will be at a premium. “It’ll be a good game.”

 

 

 

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