Incline football: Highlanders drop opener on road | SierraSun.com

Incline football: Highlanders drop opener on road

Staff report

The Incline football team opened the season with a 57-7 nonleague loss at Portola on Friday.

"It was not one of our better showings," said Incline coach Scott Conn. "I thought we'd compete better than we did. That's not to take anything away from Portola. They are big and well-coached. As it turns out, though, we have a lot of work to do."

The Tigers, who defeated Incline in an overtime thriller last season, jumped on the Highlanders early and led 21-0 after the first quarter. The hosts led 34-7 at the half and added 15 points in the third quarter and eight in the fourth.

Conn said Incline did not help its cause by committing five turnovers — three on interceptions and two on lost fumbles — and mishandling a punt snap. Each mistake gave Portola the ball inside the Incline 20-yard line.

"Because of that, they were working with a short field for much of the game," Conn said.

The highlight of the contest for Incline was an 80-yard touchdown drive in 12 plays in the second quarter. Senior running back Owen Graffis capped the drive with a 20-yard TD run.

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While Conn did not have stats, he estimated that Graffis rushed for nearly 100 yards.

The coach said senior back Michael Guymon also ran the ball hard, while defensive end Joey Stranzl and linebacker Charlie Zendner, both seniors, did a nice job containing the right side of the defense.

The Highlanders expect another tough challenge in their next game, a nonleague contest against Burney (Calif.) this Friday at home.

"Burney should also be a tough game," he said. "Hopefully I'll have them better prepared. I put the Portola loss on me. I didn't prepare my team well enough."

Incline's JV squad, which played its first game since 2002, lost 35-12.

"I thought they did a fine job for their first outing," Conn said.

Up next

Incline will host Burney on Friday. JV starts at 4 p.m. and varsity at 6.