A slow start offensively and cold, wet conditions did not stop the Grays Harbor from exploding for 29 second-half points at Stewart Field on Saturday night.
After struggling to get their passing game going in the first half, the Bearcats came out firing after the break. Seven of Grays Harbor’s first 11 second half plays were passing plays and the strategy paid off for a 35-12 victory over the Renton Ravens in a semi-pro football exhibition game.
Bearcats starting quarterback David Evans found Chris Jackson on the right sideline at around the Ravens’ 30 yard line, and the receiver took it into the end zone. The score by Jackson broke a 6-6 halftime tie, and a pass from Evens to Joseph Winther on the two-point conversion put the Bearcats up 14-6.
Evans threw for 130 yards and three touchdowns in the second half. Jackson caught five passes for 92 yards in the game and added a second receiving touchdown in the fourth quarter. Evans’ other touchdown pass was a 5-yard strike to Winther in the third quarter.
Jeff Gates rushed in from 2 yards out with 12:54 left in the second quarter out for the first half’s lone Grays Harbor touchdown. The Bearcats started the scoring drive with excellent field position on the Ravens’ 18-yard line after a fake punt attempt was stuffed in the backfield by Christopher Cook. A 15-yard run by Jack Traxtle set up Gates’ score.
“It looked like a preseason game; it felt like a preseason game,” Grays Harbor head coach Todd Hoiness said. “We wanted to win. We did that. We wanted to play everybody, and see what some of the new guys could to, and everybody played tonight. We had a lot of guys play both side of the ball, to get experience, and create some depth. I was really impressed with our new guys.”
Among the positions of concern for Grays Harbor this season is on the offensive line — where the team lost several key players from last season — but Hoiness was encouraged by what he saw in the trenches in this contest.
“I felt really good about (the offensive line),” Hoiness said. “We only have a few guys coming back, and we rotated a bunch of guys in at the other spots. I think we made a lot of progress. I was pretty happy with the O-line.”
Both of Renton’s touchdowns came on rushing plays by its quarterback, Andre Jackson. The fleet-footed signal caller rushed for 66 yards on eight carries in the game and recorded scoring runs of 7 and 10 yards.
Grays Harbor’s final touchdown was scored by Vincent McCrory on a 7-yard run up the middle with 1:34 left in the game.
The Bearcats will visit the Clark County Vipers on Saturday for the regular season opener.