Facing a two-touchdown deficit early in the game, the Pacific Indians didn’t panic.
They answered back instead. And the result was a victory.
Clint Anderson picked up his first victory as Pacific’s head coach, as the Indians rallied late for a 28-20 road victory over De Soto on Friday night in the 2014 season-opener.
Early on, it looked like his first win may have to wait. De Soto had a 14-0 lead right away.
“The game started out rough for us,” Anderson said. “We had a blown coverage on De Soto’s second play that resulted in a touchdown. On our next possession we threw an interception that De Soto returned for another touchdown. Five minutes in and we were down 14.”
Anderson then took a timeout to calm down his team.
“I told them to relax and that all great teams must persevere and we will weather this storm and come out fine on the other side,” Anderson said. “We knew there was a long way to go. From there, we started playing ball.”
Pacific outscored De Soto, 28-7, the rest of the way.
Pacific recorded 153 rushing yards on 38 carries and 107 passing yards on 15 completions for a total offense of 260.
Dalton Voyles led Pacific with 109 rushing yards on 15 carries with one touchdown. Josh Vondriska added 23 yards on 11 carries.
Eain Roberts passed for 107 yards on 15 of 29 passing with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for a touchdown. Six different players caught a pass, with Shane Henderson catching two passes for 26 yards and Cory Parrish recording 25 receiving yards on four receptions. Jason Koepke caught four passes for 23 yards, while Vondriska, Voyles and Mitchell Broam also had receptions. Koepke and Broam had receiving touchdowns.
Vondriska returned two kicks for 79 yards. Lucas Zurliene had an interception, while Devon Moultrie had two sacks. Voyles had 10 tackles, while Moultrie and Ashton Moore had six apiece. Dustin Cowsert had five tackles.
“Offensively, I was pretty happy despite the early struggles,” Anderson said. “We started doing what we wanted. Dalton Voyles got it going well in the second half. He broke a lot of tackles and broke off a couple nice runs. The offensive line and receivers did a phenomenal job blocking late in the game. They consistently worked from first level to second. Special teams were very good. We won the field position battle most of the game. Mitchell Broam had three touchbacks on kickoffs and Jason Koepke placed his punts in great spots.”
De Soto finished with 305 yards of total offense (153 rushing, 152 passing).
Charlie Grissom led De Soto’s rushing attack with 60 yards on 11 carries. Dakota Kent had 48 rushing yards on five carries. Zach Smith of De Soto passed for 152 yards on just two completions with one touchdown. Lamont Allen (84 yards) and Matt Zerillo (64 yards) led De Soto’s receivers. Clay Thomas led De Soto’s defense with 12 tackles.
De Soto struck first, scoring on a long pass play to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. After an interception resulted in a score, the Dragons led, 14-0.
Roberts got the Indians on the board with a one-yard run on a QB keeper. Broam kicked the PAT and Pacific trailed, 14-7, with 2:29 left in the first half.
The Indians tied the game in the third quarter when Roberts connected with Broam.
De Soto answered back with a touchdown, but the Dragons missed the extra point.
Pacific responded once again. This time, they took the lead for good.
Roberts found Koepke for a touchdown pass and the kick gave the Indians a 21-20 lead with 1:04 left in the third period.
Later, Voyles scored to put his team up 28-20 with nine and a half minutes left in the contest.
The Pacific defense kept the Dragons out of the endzone late, and Anderson had his first win as head coach.
Pacific will host Potosi (1-0) on Friday night at 7 p.m.
Potosi is coming off a 35-18 win over Carnahan on Saturday. No other information from that game was available at press time.
Anderson said his team’s defense will need to improve from Week One to Week Two.
“Defensively, we have to clean up some things,” he said. “Our deep coverage let us down a couple times. De Soto’s play action caught us off guard a bit and hurt us a couple times.”
Anderson added his team will need to contain the Potosi running game.
“It’s going to be a very physical game,” he said. “They have a lot of speed out of the backfield. Our focus this week will be containing that speed.”
Anderson also said his team is excited to get back on the field Friday night, with hopes of a 2-0 start to the season.
“We’re fired up for Potosi,” he said.
In last year’s game with Potosi, Roberts was injured after scoring a touchdown.
Potosi won last year’s meeting, 28-26.
Pacific 28, De Soto 20
PAC 7 0 14 7 — 28
DES 14 0 6 0 — 20
D — Name Unavailable (Kick good).
D — Name Unavailable (Kick good).
P — Eain Roberts 1 run (Broam kick).
P — Broam 8 pass from Roberts (Broam kick).
D — Name Unavailable (Kick failed).
P — Jason Koepke 5 pass from Roberts (Broam kick).
P — Dalton Voyles 15 run (Broam kick).