The Dunsmuir Tigers jumped on Liberty Christian early Thursday night on their way to a 59-36 victory in a game played at Dunsmuir City Park field with Liberty as the home team.
Senior running back Colton Sordahl rushed for 204 yards, 4 touchdowns and 4 conversions – a huge night in most football statistic circles, but about par for his course this season.
After seven games, Sordahl leads the Northern Section with 1,456 rushing yards, an average of 208 per game. He has scored 23 touchdowns, an average of 3.3 per game.
On the way to improving their record to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the California - North (8 Man) League and 6-1, the Tigers outscored Liberty 32-6 in the first quarter and 45-22 in the first half.
Head coach Ray Kellar said the Tiger offense was clicking against Liberty, but the defense struggled at times in pass coverage.
Liberty completed just 6 of its 12 pass attempts, but they were good for 203 yards. The Patriots also rushed for 184 yards.
Looking ahead to the Tigers’ next game, a key non-league matchup with a strong Westwood team, Kellar said, “We have to make some adjustments (on defense). We’ll get it fixed.”
The offense was helped Thursday night by the play up front of interior linemen Jeff Rhoades, Mason Mekeel and Jay Rhoades, according to Kellar.
After having some problems the week before in a 56-24 loss to Hayfork, Kellar said the linemen worked during the week on “being more physical and holding their blocks.”
They then led the way for a ground game that totaled 416 yards against Liberty.
Quarterback Jake Mekeel carried 5 times for 91 yards, 2 touchdowns and a conversion, while Dayton Pepperdine had 45 yards on 4 carries, Zach Bartoo carried 3 times for 29 yards and a touchdown, Justin Declusin had 3 carries for 23 yards, CJ Palmer 2 for 18, Cody Rooney 1 for 3 yards and a touchdown, and James Adams 1 for 3 yards.
Mekeel attempted just 3 passes, completing 2 of them for 13 yards, including a 10 yarder to Rooney.
Jake Mekeel also led the defense with 11 tackles, while Bartoo had 8, Jeff Rhoades 8, Jay Rhoades 7, Kyle Rooney 6, Cody Rooney 6, Mason Mekeel 5, Sordahl 5, Adams 4, Palmer 3, Pepperdine 2, Erik Johnson 1 and Dylan Brashear 1.
Cody Rooney and Sordahl had 1 quarterback sack each; Jay Rhoades and Zach Bartoo shared a sack.
The game was hosted by Liberty, but it was played on a Thursday night, Oct. 14, in Dunsmuir because the Patriots were unable to find another field.
Dunsmuir’s next opponent, Westwood, was 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the California - South (8-man) league prior to its Oct. 15 game against Champion Christian.
Kellar said he expects Westwood to win its league, and the Dunsmuir-Westwood game could have significance when it comes time for playoff seedings.
“I?think they’re down in experience and talent,”?Kellar said of Westwood, “but they’ve got a good coach and a good program; they’ll be tough.”