On a cool fall evening, there was a sparse crowd in the stands for Enterprise's opener against a vastly favored Umatilla team. People may have assumed that the Savages were doomed from the start against a bigger team with a reputation for tough football last season. Maybe people didn't want to watch "our boys" get creamed.
People were wrong. Very, very wrong.
The Savages simply annihilated the Vikings, 36-0, in four quarters of solid play during which the whole roster saw field time. EHS quarterback Tony Swart, Craig Swart at running back, and especially wide receiver Andy Marcum had incredible outings. Marcum had four touchdowns over the course of the night and two interceptions, including one taken from the Savage 19 all the way into the end zone for an 81-yard score.
The Enterprise defense was equally amazing, Erik Gilliland often leading the charge, and only let the Vikings get into the red zone twice during the course of the night.
"They don't even hit hard," an unidentified player in the crowd at the Savage bench was heard to say in an amazed tone. Some of that may have been adrenaline and the sweet smell of a blowout, since there were some solid hits, and Craig Swart ground up some tough yardage through the middle. Nevertheless, the Enterprise squad wasn't feeling any pain after its first-quarter score cranked morale into overdrive.
Could Marcum have imagined a better night?
"I don't know - I don't think so. That was the best game I've ever played," he said. "It was awesome, I loved playing this game."
Marcum was quick to spread the credit around. "Everyone on the team was just solid. Our line, they proved themselves tonight."
Enterprise started a lot of sophomores - six in fact - but they were more than up to the job. "Tonight we played like a whole senior team. Our sophomores stepped up to the plate and they did awesome," Marcum enthused.
Marcum also thought that the attitude of defeat that other students had expressed to the players in the days leading up to the game had fired the team up. "Look at the stands," he said. "No one out in the crowd thought we could do it."
"We played as a team, we executed as a team," added Gilliland. "That's all it takes. It doesn't matter the size of the other team, as long as we're one, they can't stop us."
"Tony (Swart) was great," said Marcum. "he was dead on, and everyone was catching the ball. It was just one of those nights where everything clicks and you feel invincible," Marcum said.
Swart was more modest about his accuracy, grinning and pointing out that he'd struggled with passing last season and was glad to "finally" be hitting his targets with precision.
Enterprise coach Randy Morgan was very pleased with his team's play and the way they came together. "I'm proud of them," he said. He praised both the offense and defense for the quality of their play individually and as a group.
Umatilla took the opening kickoff, but couldn't do anything with it and was forced to kick it away. Enterprise immediately turned on the offense, only to get a fairly serious scare. Tony Swart was a little disheartened when he was intercepted during the Savages' first drive by Umatilla linebacker Austin Borden.
"I thought, 'this could be a long day'," he said with a laugh after the game.
Borden's interception was really the only bright moment for the Vikings, though, and the Savages turned it right back around. Umatilla managed to work the ball inside the Enterprise 45, only to have Umatilla quarterback Trevor Jensen intercepted by Marcum, playing as defensive back, on the 19, and watch helplessly as Marcum took the ball 81 yards to the promised land. Craig Swart then ground the ball in for a two-point conversion and, with 6:37 left in the first quarter, Enterprise was up 8-0.
Umatilla took the kickoff at its own thirty, advanced to the 50, and then backed up on a call for offensive holding. Matt Exon then proceeded to sack Jensen for a loss. Perhaps sensing the momentum of Enterprise, the Vikings went for it on fourth and three and failed to get the first down when Gilliland brought down linebacker Michael Palomino, turning over the ball on the 42.
Enterprise fought its way back, with Tony Swart scrambling for yardage, passing and utilizing his running backs in an eight-play drive that ended without a score in the second quarter.
Umatilla took over the ball and simply went nowhere, kicking it away after three attempts couldn't net them a first down. Enterprise took over on its own 26 and began another drive that came to nothing. Umatilla took over on its own 48 after the punt bounced out of bounds.
Umatilla took it to the Enterprise 19, but Marcum, Gilliland and Exon made them pay for each inch. Umatilla made it inside the five, but hit a wall of defenders that stopped them there. Their 20-yard field goal attempt, the only attempt made all night by the Vikings, squibbed off short and wide.
Enterprise started again on its own 20 and rapidly marched down the field,
spearheaded by Craig Swart's running game. Despite a bad snap and a scary fumble, recovered by Tristan Beck for a first down, the Savages pushed downfield with a seven-play drive culminating in another Tony Swart-Marcum pass for a touchdown. With 1:35 left in the second quarter, Craig Swart started putting the game out of Umatilla's reach, succeeding on the conversion and making the score 16-0. The half ended without Umatilla managing a score on its last possession.
The Savages came out after the half pumped up and loaded for bear.
Bret McCleary started the third quarter with a 21-yard kick return, starting the Savage offense off on its own 39. Despite some big plays, including a 27-yard Swart-Marcum pass, Enterprise gave up the ball on downs on Umatilla's 28.
The Vikings tried to mount a sustained offense, mixing counters and short passes, but got nothing for their trouble except another chance to punt the ball away.
Enterprise started its drive from the Umatilla 44-yard line, and, after a short drive, hooked up Marcum, who shed three defenders on his way in, for his third score on a slant from Swart on the 30 with 6:28 left in the third quarter.
Enterprise couldn't manage the conversion that time, but with a 22-0 lead, the Savages probably weren't too worried.
Umatilla took the kickoff and was shut down and shoved back by a fired-up Enterprise defense, wound up fourth and 12 on its own 19 and managed a weak punt to turn the ball over on the Umatilla 45.
McCleary took a short pass over the middle and brought the offense to the Viking 20, slipping a trio of defenders on his way. Five plays later, Tony Swart kept the ball and went straight ahead four yards for the score with 2:59 left in the third. Marcum put up another two-point conversion, and the score went to 30-0.
Umatilla started on its own 35 and, again, looked uncoordinated. Jensen did scramble pretty ably, getting down to the 27, where a defensive pass interference call on Tony Swart gave the Vikings a chance, advancing Umatilla half the distance to the goal and presenting UHS with a nice shiny first down.
Given the way the night had gone, they should have known better. Even with a first and goal on the four, the Vikings couldn't move the ball in, and coughed it up on the one, to be recovered in the end zone for a touchback by Enterprise.
The Savages weren't done with Umatilla. Seven plays later, sitting fourth-and-eight on the Umatilla 30, Swart fired another pass to Marcum, who had beaten his defender, as he did all night, and tacked on another touchdown with 4:50 left in the game. And yes, you've been counting right: that makes four touchdowns for number 10. Tristan Beck tried a run for the conversion but failed, making the score 36-0.
There was no magic waiting for the Vikings in that last 4:50. In fact, Umatilla only got to keep the ball until the 3:40 mark before Enterprise's K.C. Kunkle snatched down a Jensen pass for the Savages' second interception of the game.
Enterprise couldn't advance and punted away, Umatilla taking it on its own 36. Three plays later, Marcum had his second interception, the third total for the side, and the Savages had the ball back on its own 44 with 1:16 left. It was just a matter of running out the clock to finish what may be the upset of the season for the Savages.