Photo courtesy Bruce Mann
Heartbreak. It’s been the theme of the 2011 season and Saturday afternoon wasn’t any different. Kicker Trey Farquhar scuffed a 52-yard field goal as the clock ticked down to zero, sending the Idaho Vandals to their sixth consecutive loss, a 16-14 decision.
Although Taylor Davis got the start at quarterback, Brian Reader was back in the game late in the fourth quarter. After completing two consecutive passes Reader threw into coverage and Aaron Brown picked the ball off on the Hawaii five-yard line.
The hosts remained on top 14-13, when Hawaii initiated their 67-yard drive, which ended with a 35-yard field goal gave the Warriors a two-point lead. With 32 seconds remaining, Reader completed consecutive passes to Kama Bailey and Landon Weaver but missed a wide open Michael LaGrone down field.
Forced to convert a 53-yard field goal, Farquhar stepped up and launched a rocket, which flew wide left of the goal post.
“Again, I’m talking about one play,” coach Robb Akey said. “It’s like a broken record and it’s painful. But we’re going to continue to come and work and it ain’t going to break us it ain’t going to break me. I had all the confidence in the world we’d finish this one, we had every opportunity to finish this one.”
The Vandals, now 1-7 and 0-4 in the WAC, led midway through the first quarter when Hawaii forced running back Princeton McCarty to fumble at the one-yard line. Offensive lineman Matt Cleveland reacted and scooped up the loose ball in the end zone.
Hawaii responded in the second quarter when quarterback Bryant Moniz found a wide open Billy Ray Stutzman in the end zone. The Warriors took a six-point lead following two field goals.
The Vandal defense had been pressuring Moniz all game and capitalized on Benson Mayowa’s forced fumble, which bounced directly into the hands of Tracy Carter who returned it 7o yards for the touchdown.
“We work pass rush in practice every day. We came out and fought hard with them, they worked us hard,” linebacker Korey Toomer said. “As a defense in pass rushing those guys, we were working the edges, we did as much as we could, we fought hard.”
Immediately after the play, defensive lineman QuayShawne Buckley head butted Carter, who may have suffered a head injury as a result, and was unavailable for the remainder of the game.
“Kid loves to celebrate,” Toomer said of Buckley. “He loves to be around his teammates and he celebrates a little different than everybody else so Tracy’s okay and we got a touchdown on defense.”
Moniz, who has been labeled as a 2011 Heisman candidate, was sacked six times and turned the ball over twice.
Nevertheless, the offense couldn’t ignite any sort of a spark and the defense allowed the Warriors a chip shot field goal while the special teams unit and Farquhar couldn’t knock in their own.
“I mean you look at this team, they play hard, they play with passion, they play physical I mean dadgum, now we need to make more plays,” Akey said. “I’m not saying we’re playing great but we’re doing those things, that means they’re laying it on the line. I feel sick for those kids, I want to see them be rewarded.”
Starting Davis was a decision that Akey made earlier this week in practice, and one that was based off of the Vandals’ desire for an offensive spark. Though the sophomore commanded the offense fairly well, he only completed 6 of 17 passes for 33 yards, and threw for one interception.
Reader, who came in as a backup, was five for seven with 52 yards and one interception.
“It’s nice to be called on in that situation, it’s happened before it happened a couple of years ago when I was a backup the whole season and I guess I had experience being a backup in that situation and I felt like I was ready to go,” Reader said. “They trusted me to finish it off there and I missed it by an inch again.”
Akey didn’t indicate who would be starting next week against San Jose State but did state that practice would be closed off again to media and the public so players can focus on next Saturday’s task instead of reminiscing about Saturday’s loss.
Justin Veltung, Armauni Johnson and Carter all left the game with minor injuries, which have yet to be evaluated.
Photo and story by Theo Lawson
Despite a sluggish start, the Vandal men’s basketball team overcame a sloppy first half and rolled the Evergreen State Geoducks in convincing fashion, 96-72 during a Friday night exhibition game in Memorial Gym.
Leading by only eleven points at halftime, Idaho was unable to contain the Geoducks’ three-point firing squad, which accounted for 21 of their first half points.
Evergreen St. notched six more three-pointers in the second half but the Vandal offense took over, scoring 65 second-half points all while holding their opponents to 39 percent from the field.
“I thought we played pretty hard, obviously we rebounded the ball very well,” coach Don Verlin said. “I played a lot of guys but they played hard and they did what we asked them to do.”
And rebound they did. The Vandals took advantage of a height-impaired Evergreen St. team and grabbed 68 total boards, 26 of them coming on the offensive side of the ball.
Still, the hosts had trouble guarding Geoduck forward Marice Tolliver who led all scorers with 26 points. The senior caught fire from beyond the arc and buried five threes while Julian Holliday followed closely behind with four threes and 19 points.
Verlin was less than pleased with his team’s lackadaisical defense.
“We gave them 13 threes and they scored 72 points, that’s not good enough to get it done any night in our league and probably not with anybody on our schedule so we’ve got to do a better job defensively,” he said.
Idaho utilized its height as an advantage and 6’8 junior college transfer Wendell Faines led Idaho with 19 points and five blocks while 6’10 center Kyle Barone trailed with 13 and 18 rebounds. 2011 Idaho 5A State Player of the Year Connor Hill tallied 13 points and was three for six from three-point land.
11 players found themselves on the score sheet and the Vandal bench, headed by Faines and Hill, combined for 62 points.
Evergreen State on the other hand, used six players and only five found the score sheet.
Barone, a pre-season all-WAC nominee noted that the team’s height will be an asset to this year’s team.
“That’s going to help us out a lot, we have more big guys than we did last year and they can score the ball down low very well and that’s definitely going to carry on through to league,” Barone said.
Two Idaho players, Mansa Habeeb and Djim Bandoumel weren’t available for Friday’s exhibition. Habeeb remains ineligible while Bandoumel was punished for showing up late to a team practice earlier this week.
While Idaho’s starting lineup consisted of five players who have at least one year of experience with the program, the five newcomers proved effective combining for 56 points.
Dazmond Starke, a 6’6 junior college transfer gave Idaho depth down low and finished the game with 12 points and nine rebounds. Freshman Xavier Bazile came off the bench to add nine points and four rebounds.
The gym reached its maximum decibel rate of the night when senior walk-on Sheridan Shayne found an open lane on a fast break and slammed it in with two minutes remaining in the game.
“It felt great, all my teammates were so hyped about it and I got it done,” Shayne, who finished with two points, one rebound and one assist, said.
Idaho host Willamette for one last exhibition match-up next Friday before opening the regular season at Long Beach State on Nov. 12.
Photo courtesy of Zach Edwards
Story by Kevin Bingaman
The Vandal volleyball team continued to dominate at home Thursday night when they beat La. Tech in straight sets.
The Vandals (12-11, 6-4 WAC) completed the season sweep over La. Tech (9-17, 0-9 WAC) with the win and snapped a two-match losing streak. La. Tech continued to struggle, remaining winless in conference play. Idaho coach Debbie Buchanan said it was an important win for her team.
“This was a huge win for us for a lot of reasons,” Buchanan said. “We want to solidify our spot in the WAC. We felt like we backed off this weekend. We struggled against San Jose State. That’s a loss that we think will hurt us.”
The Bulldogs hung in with Idaho through all three sets, keeping things close throughout the match, but each time Idaho was able to overcome La. Tech’s surges. Junior setter Ryann Carter said it wasn’t the best team performance, but a win is a win.
“I thought we could have done some things different,” Carter said. “I don’t think it’s bad, we did what we know we can do. We need to bring it even harder on Saturday.”
As well as Idaho has played at home, the road has continued to cause issues for the Vandals this season. The Vandals are currently third in the WAC and will have to find a way to get things done on the road if they want to keep that high position at their last three away matches.
With the win, Buchanan became Idaho’s all-time wins leader with 175, passing Tom Hilbert for the most. Buchanan said it’s an honor to have accomplished the feat.
“It’s an honor,” Buchanan said. “It’s really about the program and the kids. It’s a great honor along the way. It’s not anything like ‘oh I have to reach this,’ but it’s an honor.”
The Vandals will be back in Memorial Gym for their last home match of the season this Saturday when they play New Mexico State. The Aggies are currently second in the WAC. Carter said it’s going to be a highly emotional match that the team badly wants to win.
“At the beginning there’s going to be a lot of emotion,” Carter said. “I consider them (New Mexico State) one of our bigger rivals. They’re a tough team so we want it.