It is not often a football team can rack up more than 250 yards of offense and commit 10 turnovers and still be in contention to win a game.
Such was the case for The Dalles Wahtonka Friday in their season-opening 33-18 road loss in Portland to Madison High.
TDW was behind 14-12 entering the fourth quarter and had several chances to take a lead, the last denied on an interception in the end zone.
But Madison scored 19 straight points to blow open the game late.
On those drives, the Senators had long touchdown runs of 29, 80 and 56 by running back Brandon McSweeney that capped quick possessions.
The sophomore had 16 carries for 174 yards and four touchdowns.
Down 33-12 with time running out, sophomore scatback Devin Wilson hauled in a 30-yard pass from backup quarterback Dominique Seufalemua and hit the end zone as time expired.
Chaise Shroll had a touchdown pass of seven yards to Wilson in the opening frame, and Eli Holeman added a two-yard plunge in the second to give TDW its first lead of the game, 12-6.
All told, TDW quarterbacks had four passes intercepted and the team lost six fumbles.
One of those fumbles came on a bad snap that wound up being kicked back toward the line for a Madison recovery.
Another time, the Senator defense stripped the ball loose from a Tribe back for a 65-yard fumble return.
“We definitely shot ourselves in the foot, the whole game,” said head coach Steve Sugg. “I don’t think they stopped us. Of all the possessions we had, maybe one time they did, but the rest of the time, we drove the ball down the field. We had 10 turnovers and when that happens, you will not win many football games.”
After watching film, Sugg pointed out that his group dominated play on both sides of the ball.
Defensively, TDW forced four turnovers and pressured the Madison quarterback into hurried throws.
“Any time you have four takeaways on defense, you win a game,” Sugg said. “Unfortunately we had 10 turnovers offensively. When you look at it on film and you dominate the game like we did and not win the scoreboard battle, it is tough on a team. They are all fixable mistakes and we are definitely going to correct those mistakes.”
TDW (0-1 overall) will look to get back on the winning side of the standings starting at 7 p.m. Friday night in Portland versus Benson Tech (0-1).