Semipro football: Lobbestael doing the job

April 29, 2012 by  

Though he’d rather play wide receiver, Lobbestael gives Mavs a lift at QB ||

YAKIMA, Wash. — Last year at this time, John Lobbestael was playing wide receiver and quite happy doing so, thank you.

But a sluggish start with a sputtering offense forced the Yakima Mavericks to turn back to their former quarterback, who led them to the playoffs.

This year, coach Steve Davis wasn’t going to mess around — Lobbestael was given the reins to the offense from the get-go and that was that.

Quarterback John Lobbestael of the Yakima Mavericks runs the ball against Oregon Outlaws at Marquette Stadium in Yakima, Wash. Saturday April 28, 2012. (Andy Sawyer/Yakima Herald-Republic)


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After a second straight strong outing Saturday, there’s little doubt the Mavericks made the correct decision.

The signal caller completed an efficient 15 of 22 passes for 228 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Mavericks to a 37-9 victory over the Oregon Outlaws in a Pacific Football League game at Marquette Stadium.

“He did this for the team. If he had his druthers, he’d play wide receiver,” Davis said. “This year, I told him, ‘We’re not looking for a quarterback, you’re it. Now let’s go out and win a championship.’”

So far, Lobbestael is doing his part.

In Yakima’s first two games, both wins, he’s completed 29 of 40 passes (72.5 percent) for 385 yards with seven touchdowns to two interceptions.

“He’s comfortable back there,” Davis said of the 6-foot-1, 225-pounder from Oak Harbor. “He made some (really) awesome plays back there tonight. He’s only going to get better.”

Although not his first choice, Lobbestael is certainly comfortable running the show.

“I like playing wide receiver better but I like playing quarterback,” he said, adding that having so many familiar faces back has made his job easier.

“The offense is more comfortable,” he said. “I knew this would happen. This is the best group of guys we’ve had since I’ve been here.”

That comfort level was on display in the first half Saturday as Lobbestael completed 9 of 13 passes for 179 yards and two scores. He found four different receivers in the half, including touchdown passes to Alex Mahre for 48 yards in the first quarter to open the scoring and Jake Zeutenhorst on a 16-yarder in the second period.

In the second half, the quarterback found Ryan Wright, who outworked the defender in the end zone to collect a 19-yard scoring pass.

“We knew they’d give us the deep ball,” said Lobbestael, who had seven completions of at least 10 yards and three of at least 34.

He is the brother of former Washington State quarterback Marshall Lobbestael.

“John’s got a lot of weapons to throw to,” Davis said, adding that the offense knows it doesn’t have to be perfect because the Mavericks’ defense has been even more impressive so far this season.

“They rocked it tonight,” Davis said, raving about Saturday’s effort, which was led by linebacker Jesse Cardenas, who had 15 tackles, a forced fumble and 1 1/2 sacks.

A third-quarter sequence summed up Yakima’s dominance.

Oregon failed to gain one yard on two straight running plays from their own 34, turning it over on downs, leading to a Mahre field goal. On their next possession, the Outlaws were forced to punt and the snap sailed into the end zone where Yakima recovered for a touchdown.

Yakima then forced a fumble on the ensuing possession that set up Lobbestael’s TD pass to Wright on the next play.

In all, Yakima had 14 tackles for losses, including six sacks, and 22 of Oregon’s 40 running plays going for two yards or less.

“The defense came to play,” Davis said. “There were a couple of series where they just took over.”

Much like their quarterback has done.

Oregon 0 3 0 6 — 9
Yakima 7 14 16 0 — 37

Yak — Alex Mahre 48 pass from John Lobbestael (Mahre kick)

Yak — Jake Zeutenhorst 16 pass from Lobbestael (Mahre kick)

Yak — Jake Valenzuela 12 run (Mahre kick)

Ore — FG 38 Ian Maloney

Yak — FG 26 Mahre

Yak — Jeremy Frank fumble recovery in end zone (kick failed)

Yak — Ryan Wright 19 pass from Lobbestael (Mahre kick)

Ore — FG 42 Maloney

Ore — FG 32 Maloney


RUSHING — Kenny Peterson 13-36, Nick Muir 4-29.

PASSING — Lobbestael 15-22-1-228.

RECEIVING — Wright 6-90, Mahre 5-69, Zeutenhorst 2-61.

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