From a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown, to a double-reverse sweep score, to an interception by a defensive lineman and a huge third-down throw by a third-string quarterback, the Moscow football team used a plethora of unusual plays to beat Lakeland on Friday at the Kibbie Dome.
The Bears needed every one of them as they held on to defeat the Hawks 30-22 in a pivotal 4A Inland Empire League game.
“We found a way, made enough plays there at the end and that’s what it’s all about,” Moscow coach Phil Helbling said.
The fireworks started with the first touchdown of the game. Moscow’s Tyler Skinner got a hand on Lakeland’s field goal attempt, and Jonah Elliss scooped up the loose ball for an 85-yard touchdown.
The play came after the Bears stuffed the Hawks inside the 5-yard line on three consecutive plays.
“That was a great change of momentum for us,” said Skinner, a senior lineman. “We ended up with a goal-line stand with our defense and once it came to the field goal, we got a block and Jonah was smart enough to pick it up when nobody else was going for it.”
The play was a sign of things to come for Elliss and Skinner.
Elliss, a senior tight end and linebacker, scampered 49 yards on a double-reverse trick play in the second quarter for a 20-7 Moscow lead at halftime. Elliss finished with 114 yards of total offense and two touchdowns.
The duo also combined for four sacks and numerous quarterback hurries on defense. Skinner also had an interception and swatted two passes. Wherever the Hawks went, Elliss and Skinner were there.
“I thought both of them played well, I thought Skinner had a heck of a game getting the pick, multiple plays in the backfield, just being a wrecking force up front,” Helbling said. “And then Jonah made some big plays in the passing game. Doing what they’re supposed to do.”
Moscow (3-0, 1-0) built a 30-7 advantage in the second half, its final score on a 34-yard field goal by Joey Pattinson.
But Lakeland (3-3, 0-1) didn’t go away quietly. Hawks defensive back Riley Siegford intercepted Moscow quarterback Chad Redinger for a 60-yard score. Later in the fourth quarter, Lakeland quarterback Devon Suko found Colton Dow for a 38-yard, toe-tapping catch, setting up a 17-yard passing touchdown to Thomas Calder. Just like that, it was 30-22 after a two-point conversion.
That’s when Moscow found itself without it’s top two quarterbacks. Redinger stayed on the sideline for Moscow’s final drive with a tweaked knee, and backup Lane Hanson missed the game with a concussion suffered Oct. 2 against Lewiston.
So in came Moscow’s Swiss army knife, Leon Hutton. On his only pass of the game, the junior connected with Elliss for a 38-yard reception on third-and-15 to ice the game.
Hutton also had a 3-yard rushing touchdown and three catches for 49 yards.
“Big pass there from Leon to Jonah to ice it,” Helbling said. “We needed that first down.”
Helbling said he’s uncertain about the status of his starting quarterback. Redinger went 18-of-26 passing for 171 yards. He threw one interception.
Receiver Cody Isakson led the Bears with four catches for 61 yards.
For Lakeland, Suko went 12-of-26 passing for 169 yards, one touchdown and one interception. John White amassed 94 rushing yards and one touchdown for the Hawks.
The win keeps Moscow unbeaten heading into its final game of its shortened, four-game schedule Friday at Sandpoint.
“We had a great week of practice, we came prepared (and) we played a really good 3 1/2 quarters, and then started to kind of let them back in,” Skinner said. “But we’re a really senior-led group so we know how to handle adversity, and came out with a win, which was great.”
Lakeland 7 0 0 15—22
Moscow 7 13 7 3 — 30
Moscow — Jonah Elliss 85 field goal block return (Joey Pattinson kick), 8:03.
Lakeland — John White 40 run (Cody Carvajal kick), 3:11.
Moscow — Leon Hutton 3 run (Pattinson kick), 5:45.
Moscow — Elliss 49 run (kick failed), 9:49.
Moscow — Isaiah Murphy 5 run (Pattinson kick), 5:43.
Moscow — Pattinson 34 field goal, 11:52.
Lakeland — Riley Siegford 60 interception return (Carvajal kick), 3:40.
Lakeland — Thomas Calder 17 pass from Devon Suko (Calder pass), 2:15.
RUSHING — Lakeland: White 16-94, Calder 3-11, Suko 7-(-22). Moscow: Elliss 2-47, Chad Redinger 10-30, Murphy 8-18, team 1-(-3), Pattinson 1-(-4), Hutton 8-(-9).
PASSING — Lakeland: Suko 12-26-1—169. Ammon Munyer 0-1-1—0. Moscow: Redinger 18-26-1—171. Hutton 1-1-0—38.
RECEIVING — Alden Waddington 3-56, Calder 4-38, Colton Dow 1-38, Munyer 3-30, Richard Thomas 1-7. Moscow: Cody Isakson 4-61, Elliss 4-57, Hutton 3-49, Jamari Simpson 3-25, Murphy 5-17.
Wiebe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (208) 883-4624 and on Twitter @StephanSports.