To snap out of the last month of rough losses, Joseph football did not invent a new play or a special formation. Facing Pine Eagle for homecoming, the Eagles just gave the ball to the reliable backfield - seniors Chris Harshman and Ben Garnett - and let them run, run and run some more.
Blockers opened gaping holes, so Harshman responded by gaining 293 yards and scoring four touchdowns, Garnett rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns and by night's end Friday, Joseph had a 60-14 win.
"We just ran six basic plays, over and over," junior guard Ethan Lowe said. "By the time we played the second half, it was like (Pine Eagle) didn't even want to be there."
Two minutes into Friday night's game, the Eagles (3-3 overall, 2-1 in the league) had a 14-0 lead after Harshman had rushed for two touchdowns, separated by just 23 seconds on the scoreboard. His first one came on a 12-yard scamper.
On Pine Eagle's ensuing drive, the Spartans called one play but Joseph junior defensive end Sam Garnett forced them to fumble. After catching a breath, the Eagles' offensive stormed back onto the field and called one play: Harshman's 29-yard scoring run.
"It was definitely good that we came out hitting," Lowe said. "Sammy got that fumble and gave our offense another chance."
Once Joseph got rolling, the closest Pine Eagle got came midway through the second quarter. Quarterback Jake Traw ran 39 yards for a touchdown, the second time he made a run of over 30 yards for a score. He brought the Spartans to within 22-14.
During the rest of the game, the Eagles defense dominated. Any Spartan with the ball failed to get away from senior defensive end Devin Patton. Ben, playing linebacker on defense, made vicious hits.
By halftime, Joseph added two more touchdowns for a 38-14 lead. Ben plowed four yards up the middle over the goal line. Harshman went 27 yards for the end zone about a minute before the break.
In the third quarter, Joseph kept the ball locked to the Pine Eagle half of the field. Once the Eagles had built an overwhelming advantage, they gradually brought in younger players, who played with the same kind of power. Facing Pine Eagle's first-string varsity, Joseph sophomores and freshmen kept the opposition off the scoreboard.
For weeks before Friday night, Joseph had been overwhelmed by prominent teams, contenders for the state crown, like Dufur, South Wasco County and Imbler. Lowe said that made beating Pine Eagle all the more refreshing.
"After getting our butts kicked, it was our turn to win. Enough was enough," he said. Joseph goes to Powder Valley to face the Badgers this Friday. The game starts at 2 p.m.