Dayton avenges loss, returns to title game
Dayton returned to an OSAA football championship game after a nine-year absence with a 52-20 win over Rainier Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium.
The Pirates got three touchdowns and a field goal from senior AJ Hedgecock and three touchdown passes from junior Nate Bernards in a semifinal rematch with the Columbians, who won last year's battle 34-20 and went on to win the Class 3A state title over Santiam Christian.
Hedgecock also threw for a score as the Pirates gave themselves another shot at a state title.
Dayton (12-0) last played in the state final in 2002, when it beat Amity 45-20 for its sixth title under coach Dewey Sullivan.
Sullivan passed away during the 2006 football season after coaching the Pirates for 42 seasons. Sullivan holds the state record for wins at 352 and guided the Pirates to five state titles.
Dayton is in its first title game under second-year coach Gary Thorson.
Many of the core Dayton players also play for the school's basketball team, which lost in the state final the past two seasons.
SCIO, GOLD BEACH GET A REMATCH
Scio's ground game an opportunistic defense rolled past Weston-McEwen 46-8 and set up a rematch of last season's title game with Gold Beach, which beat Oakland 50-6.
The Loggers, who lost only to Dayton 28-6 in the first week of the season, gave up their first touchdown of the playoffs in the win.
Siuslaw's run of nine straight playoff appearances reached the state final with a 38-21 win over Central Saturday at Cottage Grove High School.
The Vikings, who won the 4A title in 2006 - the first year the state featured six classifications, got four touchdown runs from Sony Tupua in the win.