WRHS FOOTBALL: Hornets blast past Cardinals

White River High picked up its first victory of the Joe Sprouse era Friday, playing opportunistic football to defeat visiting Orting High 41-20.

The first-year coach, who was elevated to the top job after six seasons as an assistant, was particularly pleased with the way his troops responded to adversity. Orting scored first, but the Hornets immediately answered with a 14-play, 65-yard drive to pull even.

Sprouse also was pleased with the Hornets’ special teams, which turned in several big plays. Colton Scott caused a fumble on a kickoff that Colton Diffley scooped up and returned for a touchdown. Eli Bickel also had a fumble return for a TD and punter Mark Monteiro averaged better than 40 yards per kick, including a 64-yarder.

The Hornets’ first score came on a two-yard blast by Josh Miller and, after Orting scored a second time, White River answered with a short TD run by quarterback Zach McMillen. Diffley’s TD gave White River a halftime lead, but Orting answered early in the third period to tie things at 20.

From that point, the scoreboard belonged to the Hornets. Cody Havelock scored on a 35-yard pass from McMillen and Bickel’s touchdown made it 34-20 after Tyler Worthen booted the extra-point. Miller added his second TD of the night in the fourth quarter to polish off the scoring. Havelock finished with six catches for 97 yards.

White River finished the night with 158 yards through the air and 50 on the ground for a total of 208. Orting rushed for 250 yards but added just four yards in the passing department. McMillen, a sophomore making his second start, had another solid outing, completing nine of 13 throws without an interception.

As the Hornets prepare for their South Puget Sound League 2A opener, a home game Friday night against Steilacoom, Sprouse is looking forward to the return of a pair of senior, two-way starters. Nursing injuries and sitting out the Orting victory were Anthony Dove and Dave Meagher.

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