Offensive outburst pushes SHS past Moscow 31-21, Bulldogs one win away from state

by DYLAN GREENE
Sports Editor | October 17, 2020 12:45 AM

SANDPOINT — All season, Bulldog fans have been waiting for the Sandpoint offense to take flight. Friday night, it did just that.

The Bulldogs scored 31 points in the second half and racked up 538 yards of offense to storm past Moscow 31-21 on Friday night at War Memorial Field.

With a win next Friday at Lakeland, Sandpoint can claim its first 4A Inland Empire League title since 2017 and earn a state berth.

The last two years, Moscow has had the Bulldogs’ number. Friday night, Sandpoint got the monkey off its back, head coach Ryan Knowles said.

“That’s a good team,” he said. “I told the boys all week do our job, we can do this. No one picked us to win this game. Moscow’s 3-0 and on top of the world and it’s hard to come in here, and on top of that we’re just a salty team. The guys, they’ve had a tough road. Tough opponents, no breaks and it was just fun to watch them go out there and play ball.”

After turning the ball over three times in the first half and failing to put any points on the board, the Sandpoint offense came to life in the second half. The Bulldogs scored on five straight possessions to gain control of the homecoming game.

Sophomore wide receiver Cody Newhart said every player on offense focused on executing their assignment in the second half and once they got some momentum, they kept rolling.

“They switched up how we thought they were going to play us,” Newhart said about Moscow, “so we attacked their weak spots to give us one-on-ones and we took advantage of it.”

Knowles said watching his offense fire on all cylinders in the second half was something special.

“I want to see some stats because I’m the defensive coordinator and I’m making a lot of adjustments while the offense is out there,” he said, “but my gosh every time I turned around I felt like [Newhart] was catching a pass and looking really good.”

Newhart went off against the Bears. He reeled in eight catches for 267 yards and two touchdowns.

Newhart said he has been playing with sophomore quarterback Parker Pettit since third grade and that chemistry shined through Friday. Every time Pettit needed someone to make a play, he looked toward No. 2.

Pettit looked sharp all night and completed 14 of his 20 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 65 yards on seven carries.

It was a pretty sluggish first half for both teams, but Moscow broke through with less than two minutes left in the half. The Bears capitalized on the Bulldogs' second turnover of the night and punched the ball into the end zone from 18 yards out. Sandpoint blocked the PAT and Moscow took a 6-0 lead into the break.

Knowles said his defense buckled down in the first half and bought the offense time to find its rhythm. Seniors Tag Benefield, Isaac Webb and Keith Jensen led the strong effort by the Bulldog defense.

On the opening possession of the second half, junior running back Gerrit Cox got the Bulldog offense back on track when he broke through the Moscow defense, fought off a tackle and scampered in for a 25-yard score. He also broke free for a 47-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Cox was breaking tackles and carrying defenders with him all night. He finished with 111 rushing yards and two TD’s.

“No. 13 was churning out yards, falling forward and had some amazing runs,” Knowles said. “I mean ones where you’re kind of like, ‘Ooh, wow.’ He was just bucking dudes and that’s Bulldog football. I haven’t seen that this year. That’s the first time, so it makes me excited about the future.”

Following Cox's first touchdown of the game, Moscow responded with a drive that lasted about four minutes and ended with a Chad Redinger touchdown pass to Joey Pattinson. Redinger ran the ball in to convert the two-point attempt and give the Bears a 14-7 lead midway through the third quarter.

However, it didn't take long for Sandpoint to answer. Two plays after receiving the kickoff, Pettit hit Newhart on a screen and he took it 65 yards to the house to tie the game at 14-14.

The Sandpoint defense forced a quick three-and-out and the offense got the ball back and continued to shred the Moscow defense.

In the blink of an eye, the Bulldogs had a first and goal at the Moscow 5-yard-line. But the Bears held strong and forced Sandpoint to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Elek Christoferson.

On the ensuing Moscow possession, the defense forced another three-and-out and the confident Sandpoint offense returned to the field.

On the first play play of the drive, senior Braden Kappen ran the ball into the end zone from 75 yards out, but the touchdown was called back due to a holding penalty. The Bulldogs then got another penalty to make it 1st and 27 from the SHS 8-yard-line. What followed was the biggest play of Friday's game.

With 10 minutes left and his offense backed up against their own goal line, Pettit stepped back, looked deep and connected with Newhart for a 92-yard touchdown. The play gave the Bulldogs a 24-14 lead.

On the next Moscow drive, senior defensive back Trevan Adam stepped in front of a pass by Redinger on third down. The interception gave Sandpoint great field position, and two plays later Cox ran in his second touchdown to all but seal the win for the Bulldogs.

Sandpoint finished with 229 rushing yards in the game and Kappen carried the ball six times for 53 yards.

The Sandpoint defense held Moscow to 187 passing yards and 103 on the ground. Senior defensive back Elijah Larson also had an interception midway through the fourth quarter.

Newhart said the team was fired up after the game.

“It feels amazing,” he said. “There’s nothing better than getting a win here.”

Sandpoint (2-4, 1-0 IEL) heads to Lakeland at 7 p.m. next Friday.

“We’ve earned the right to put the [IEL] trophy in the stadium next week,” Knowles said.

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Game

SHS 0 0 14 17 31

MO 0 6 8 7 21

Second quarter

MHS Isaiah Murphy 18 rd run (kick fail)

Third quarter

SHS Gerrit Cox 25 yd run (Elek Christoferson kick)

MHS Joey Pattison 3 yd pass from Chad Redinger (Redinger Run)

SHS Cody Newhart 65 yd pass from Parker Pettit (Elek Christoferson kick)

Fourth quarter

SHS Elek Christoferson 22 yd Field Goal

SHS Cody Newhart 92 yd pass from Parker Pettit (Elek Christoferson kick)

SHS Gerrit Cox 47 yd run (Elek Christoferson kick)

MHS Isaiah Murphy 1 yd run (Cody Isakson kick)

SHS Mos

First Downs 14 14

Rushes -yds 26-229 23-103

Passing-yds 309 187

QB 14-20 17-43

Interceptions 1 2

Punts-Ave 4-33 4-43

Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0

Penalties 15-148 4-40

SHS Rushing: Gerrit Cox 12-111, Braden Kappen 6-53, Parker Pettit 7-65, Elijah Larson 1-0

SHS Receiving: Cody Newhart 8-267, Aerie VanDenBerg 1-2, Elijah Larson 1-6, Braden Kappen 1-12, Max Thielbahr 1-15

SHS KOR Braden Kappen 2-37, Peyton Ennis 1-22

MOS Rushing Jonah Ellis 2-7, Leon Hutton 3-12, Chad Redinger 2-2, Isaiah Murphy 15-78, Preston Bielenberg 1-4

MOS Receiving: Dylan Decker 1-30, Jamari Simpson 2-11, Isaiah Murphy 2-5, Leon Hutton 1-5, Jonah Ellis 10-133, Joey Pattison 1-3

MOS KOR: Isaiah Murphy 1-5, Jonah Elliss 1-20, Cody Isakson 2-40

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Sophomore quarterback Parker Pettit runs through the Moscow defense during Friday's game at War Memorial Field.

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Sophomore wide receiver Cody Newhart reels in a pass during the second half of Friday's game.

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Senior defensive back Trevan Adam steps in front of a Moscow pass and brings down an interception during the fourth quarter on Friday.

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Will Hurst (left) and Tag Benefield (right) bring down a Moscow player on Friday night.