By JASON EPP
High Plains Daily Leader
It was a throwback setting for those who have been around Beaver County Bedlam in the seventies and early eighties when Turpin still competed in 8-man football, and made the trip to Beaver for a non-district season opening matchup each year.
The Beaver Dusters defense stole the show, blanking the Cardinals 34-0. "I thought our defense was our strongpoint. We played pretty tough along the front line," said Dusters head coach Mike McVay. "We have some pretty meaty guys in the middle and we back that up with a lot of speed. We can pursue pretty well, and our ends played well tonight containing people and it forced everything inside."
Beaver held Turpin to just 54 yards of total offense on 45 plays.
As the Duster offense struggled with penalties and a turnover early in the matchup, the defense stepped up to break the 0-0 tie late in the first quarter.
Samuel Becker's punt forced Turpin to start at the eight-yard line. Two plays later, Turpin quarterback Bradley Kinser was hit just as he pitched to Stern Douglas, and Beaver's David Rivera fell on the loose ball in the end zone for the game's first touchdown.
Beaver was able to get their offense going in the second quarter, scoring on consecutive drives; including a nine-play, 64-yard back-breaker that ended with Ben Engelman's five-yard plunge with less than a minute left until halftime, and increasing Beaver's lead to 21-0.
Turpin was able to keep the ball for most of the first eight minutes of the second half, with Beaver's only offensive play during that time being a Becker pass that was intercepted by Kinser. But still the Cardinal offense stalled, and Becker scored his second rushing touchdown of the night on a nine-yard untouched run to the endzone with 2:21 left in the third.
Allan Butterfield added the insurance TD midway through the fourth quarter from two yards out.
Turpin head coach Mario Mendoza had his ideas about why his team was unable to turn the Duster tide. "They wore us out," said Mendoza "We got tired, and were not doing the assignments we worked on all week. Beaver has got a good ball club, but you can't do that."
Beaver had 19 first downs to Turpin's 8, and 214 yards rushing to their 54. Beaver also outgained the Cardinals in the air 79 yards to zero. Beaver also lead in two statistics it would rather not: fumbles (3, one lost) and penalties (13 for 95 yards), but McVay wasn't overly concerned. "We didn't turn the ball over too much," said McVay. "Some of those are having kids in new positions and haven't been in the line of fire before and they are just trying to feel there way through it. Those things are going to be expected, and are correctable."
Mendoza knows this game and the two other non-district games are the time to get problems corrected. "We had some missed assignments, but stuff like that can be taken care of. We have to get in better shape, no ifs, ands, or buts about it."
McVay put the win in perspective. "I'm extremely proud of them for winning the ballgame. And I told them afterword I'm not going to ever complain about winning a game, but how we went about winning it was a little different story. We knew we were going to have some rough spots. We hadn't scrimmaged all year, and it was our first time out there against anybody in a different colored jersey. I can't be too displeased, but it certainly highlighted some spots we need to work on."
Beaver is now 1-0 and will head to Hollis, Okla. next Friday, while Turpin (0-1) will host Booker, Tex. Friday.