Both schools had difficulty fielding players and chose to go ahead with eight-man in order to have a contest.
Parents and media were not allowed inside the fence although the game could be viewed via a streaming service that was filming from the press box. Vehicles honked, signaling their approval of the spectacular plays and touchdowns.
Taft wide receiver and defensive back Fco Ramos was honored as the lone senior on the team for Senior Night. The Tigers signed a football and hid it from Ramos until the entire team was able to sign it. He was presented with the ball and Head Coach Jake Tolan gave a rousing speech about the team “giving it all” as a show of respect for Ramos before he goes on to college to become a nurse.
Ramos contributed early on in the first quarter, stripping the ball on defense and giving the Tigers possession, which led to a march down the field, culminating in a rushing touchdown by sophomore running back Deven Erjen.
Ramos had an excellent Senior Night, pulling in three passes for touchdowns from sophomore quarterback Gavin Koceja and throwing a 70-yard bomb to Junior Kaden Hindman on a trick play with 42 seconds left in the game.
When asked what he would like to say to kids playing the sport, Ramos replied:
“Keep grinding and never give up.”
Koceja connected with Tiger receivers for six touchdown passes and displayed good pass decision making under constant heavy pressure from the Irish defensive line.
Hindman scored four touchdowns and had an interception in the third quarter, but it wasn’t enough as the onslaught of offense from Waldport junior quarterback Zak Holsey –and his five rushing touchdowns– led his team to victory 68-54.
The Tigers are 0-1 overall in a season decimated by the pandemic and Walport moves to 2-1-1. The Irish play Neah-Kah-Nie April 2, at home and Taft will face Newport on the road. Both games will be at 7 p.m.
This article will be updated with video taken from outside the fence due to restricted access.
Lincoln City Homepage is in the process of adding content to our streaming service and intends to approach the Lincoln County School District with a bid to provide Taft sports streaming at a lower cost to subscribers and increased revenue for the school.