Irish edge the Lakers 13-6 in defensive showdown for 6A football title
Dec. 8, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
After two season of misery at the hands and feet of the Lake Oswego Lakers, the Sheldon Irish got some vengeance at the best possible time - with the state championship on the line.
With a pair of field goals by kicker Nathan Starnes providing the scoring difference, Sheldon avenged last season's loss in the title game with a 13-6 victory at Jeld-Wen Field Saturday afternoon.
Sheldon's defense stymied the Lake Oswego offense throughout the game other than a 12-yard scoring drive set-up by a fumble that gave the Lakers a 6-3 lead when the point-after was blocked. Sheldon responded with a 75-yard scoring drive of its own to take a 10-6 lead when Connor Strahm ran in from a yard out and Starnes hit the extra point.
Starnes added another kick just moments later and the Irish held on defense - ending the game with five turnovers - for the schools fourth title since 2002.
Sheldon finished 14-0, while Lake Oswego finished 13-1.
The Irish have lost just twice in the past to seasons - both to Lake Oswego in the playoffs.
"They ended our season im misery the last two seasons, so it's nice to get back at them this year," Sheldon junior Tanner Davis said.
Both teams moved the ball offensively, but with only the one sustained drive for a touchdown. Starnes' field goals were from 27 and 26 yards, and he missed another short kick that would have made the score 16-6 late in the fourth quarter.
The Irish picked off Lake Oswego quarterback Justen Ruppe four times and held the team to 3 of 10 on third down, and only 1 of 3 on fourth downs.
Sheldon finished with 243 yards of offense on 59 plays, while Lake Oswego had 269 yards on 55 plays.
With only six penalties to slow the game, it lasted just two hours, 19 mninutes, which included stoppages for television breaks.
Road wins highlight weekend games; five championships on tap Saturday
Nov. 25, 2012
For a change, home teams didn't dominate one sports bracket Friday. In fact, the quarterfinals of the Class 6A playoffs were all won by road teams.
In an odd twist, Jesuit, Sheldon, Lake Oswego and Tigard all played and won on the road Friday to earn spots in the semifinals Saturday at Jeld-Wen Field.
The wins in Class 6A, though, were nothing compared to the upheaval that happened in Class 4A, where North Bend and Baker, who were seeded No. 3 and 4, respectively in their half of the 16-team playoff bracket, reached the title game - each after winning at least one road game, or in Baker's case, a three-overtime game. The teams, each at least four hours from Portland, will meet Saturday in the championship game at Hillsboro Stadium beginning at 1 p.m.
Saturday's games include five championship games and the two Class 6A semifinals, which involve traditional state contenders. Tigard and Lake Oswego, which won last year, play at noon, while Jesuit and Sheldon, which lost in the final a year ago, play at 4.
The Class 5A, 4A and 2A title games will be played at Hillsboro Stadium.
Following the Baker-North Bend final, Class 2A's Portland Christian and Oakland - both seeded third, will suit up for a 4:15 p.m. contest.
At 7:30 p.m. No. 1 Sherwood will take on second-seed Marist int he Class 5A final.
Lakers recover from early setback to cruise past South Medford
Nov. 16, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
No. 2 Lake Oswego's answer to an early fumble return for a touchdown was to get one of their own against South Medford and that helped the Lakers roll to a 41-14 win in the second round of the Class 6A football state playoffs Friday.
South Medford led 7-0 after Adrian Garcia scooped up a fumble from Jack Anderson and ran 45 yards for a touchdown. The Panthers stopped the Lakers on their next two drives and had the ball early in the second quarter and had the ball at their 38 when a fumbled handoff turned into a 14-yard loss, then a botched punt gave the hosts the ball at the South 31. Lake Oswego scored in five plays.
Two plays later, Nick Underwood broke into the South backfield and took the ball away from Christian Bowley and ran for a 22-yard score. The Lakers scored agin with 3:10 left in the first half giving them 20 points in just five minutes.
Justen Ruppe threw a pair of touchdown passes and JB Holmes ran for two as well for the Lakers, who advance to the quarterfinals to play West Salem, which upset Aloha Friday.
Jesuit, Central Catholic and Southridge, the remaining No. 1 seeds, all advanced to the quarterfinals Friday.
Panthers head for second season with renewed energy
Oct. 26, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
After years of laboring in the depths of Class 6A, the Redmond Panthers are finally in the state playoffs - never mind that it's at Class 5A.
The Panthers finished the season unbeaten with a 44-16 win at Roosevelt and head to the playoffs as one of the contenders to win a state title, which would be the first for a school that has been to the playoff semifinals just once and hasn't been to the playoffs at all in the past five seasons.
Trevor Genz scored on a 6-yard run and returned an interception 35 yards for a score to lead the Panthers, who led 28-14 at the half. Redmond's defense recorded a safety, three interceptions and kept the Roughriders from scoring after they had first-and-goal on two separate possessions in the second half.
For the seniors, who've been 3-6 the past two seasons, there's a tremendous sense of excitement at what might happen after a week off, especially after winning the Intermountain Conference title.
"This is my last year, so we have to make it worth it," senior linebacker Jason Abbas said. "We don't look at it any different from being 6A or 5A, we're just a better team this year."
After the city built another school - Ridgeview, which siphoned off many of its students, Redmond dropped down a classification and away from having to play larger schools. Ridgeview opened as a Class 4A school. What helped many of the players equally was the introduction of Nathan Stanley as head coach during the summer. Stanley had been coaching the wrestling team, but stepped down from that position to coach football along with his duties as athletic director.
With Genz, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound fullback, and Trevor Hindman, a 5-9, 165-pound running back, powering the running game, the Panthers averaged 42 points a game, and beat all of its opponents but one by at least two scores.
The team's defense carried it equally, allowing an average of just 15 points per game.
With a 9-0 record, the Panthers get a week off, before the play-in round leads to the creation of the 16-team bracket and a home game, Nov. 9.
Forever a road team, Benson plays at neighboring Buckman Field
Oct. 26, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
The Benson High football team finally played a home game Friday afternoon, but the team benefits of playing on their practice field didn't materialize on the scoreboard.
After decades of games without a true home field, Benson's administration secured neighboring Buckman Field for Friday's game, but long-time rival Jefferson won 22-14 in the final game of the regular season for both teams.
Benson struggled to mount a consistent offensive attack and both teams were plagued by penalties, but the Democrats broke a 8-all tie with a pair of scoring plays by Devon Jackson to secure their first win of the season.
Jefferson, under first-year coach Aaron Gipson, finished 1-7.
Benson, in the first year under Anthony Stoudamire - Jefferson's coach for the past six seasons, finished 0-9.
Games at Southridge, Wilsonville and Scio put rankings to a test
Oct. 12, 2012
Sherwood scored another victory and moved into the top spot among Class 5A football teams Friday with a 35-14 victory at Wilsonville in a Northwest Oregon Conference game.
The Bowmen have lost just once in the past three seasons - the state championship game last year - and improved to 33-1 during that span. They also moved up from No. 3 to No. 1 in the OSAA Power Rankings. Despite the loss, Wilsonville, which held Sherwood to its lowest point total of the season, also moved up - from No. 5 to No. 4.
With neither team likely to lose in the next two weeks, they'll both have the week of No. 2 off as the state playoffs begin with Play-In games involving the teams ranked No. 9 through 24.
In other big games Friday, Southridge scored a huge upset at home against Jesuit, 26-21, which only put more drama into the final two weeks of the season with No. 3 Aloha playing both Jesuit and Southridge in those weeks.
Aloha survived a determined effort from Grant with a 24-16 win. The Warriors play at Jesuit this week.
In Class 3A, Scio scored a 24-21 victory over defending champion Santiam Christian and remained at No. 3 behind Cascade Christian at No. 2 and Dayton at No. 1.
SHERWOOD READIES FOR A LEAGUE TEST
Oct. 10, 2012
One of the state's best football rivalries, the start of a two-game playoff preparation series for Jesuit and another test for a small-school power highlight this weekend's high school games, which contain mostly routine games - or opportunities for big upsets - Thursday night.
No. 3 Sherwood plays at No. 4 Wilsonville for the top spot in the Class 5A Northwest Oregon Conference, a key position in terms of state playoff seeding and home field advantage, Friday at 7 p.m.
Sherwood enters the game at 6-0 and has outscored opponents by a whopping 309-74, and handed No. 9 Marist its lone loss, 34-20. The Bowmen played in the last two state title games, winning in 2010 before losing last year's final 14-13 to Mountain View.
Wilsonville (5-1) has outscored its opponents 288-88 in its five wins, and has lost only to Sprague of Salem, which is ranked No. 5 at Class 6A. The Wildcats, who were state champions at Class 3A in 2004, have been as far as the semifinals only once since the OSAA moved to six classifications in 2006.
In Class 6A, No. 3 Aloha (6-0) gets to host a rematch with Grant, which handed it a loss last season at Grant Park. The Generals are ranked only 30th and are 3-3 overall, but lost just 42-28 to Sunset and 36-33 two weeks ago at Sprague and to No. 13 Sunset.
No. 4 Jesuit plays at No. 8 Southridge Friday as well, a week before a home game with Aloha. Jesuit has lost just to No. 2 Central Catholic, while Southridge is 3-3 with its three losses by 10 or fewer points. The Skyhawks play Aloha in two weeks.
At Class 3A, defending state champion and fifth-ranked Santiam Christian plays host to No. 3 Scio in a PacWest Conference battle. Scio played in the last three Class 2A state chammpionship games - winning in 2009 and '10, before the school moved up due to its attendance figures. Scio (5-1) has scored 54 points or more in four of its five wins and lost only to top-ranked Dayton (5-0), which lost in the state title game last season. Santiam Christian (5-1) has scored 41 points or more in all of its wins and lost only to No. 2 Cascade Christian (6-0) in its season opener.
Thomas Tyner visits Westview among top games for Friday
Sept. 28, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
Top-rated Aloha pays a visit to Westview in one of the marquee games for prep football Friday night.
The Warriors have exploded onto the Class 6A state scene thanks to tailback Thomas Tyner, who's scored 12 touchdowns in two weeks, including 10 two weeks ago. Friday's game is likely to test the team's offense just like last week, though, when Sunset held Aloha to just 13 points on two Tyner touchdown runs.
Tyner, bound for the University of Oregon, still ran for 254 yards, but needed 42 carries to get there, and his team tallied just the two touchdowns against a team that had been allowing 23 points per game through three games.
Westview has allowed an average of 24 points per game on the way to a 2-2 record.
Sunset, rated No. 13, will send its defense against No. 4 Jesuit.
Defending state champion and eighth-ranked Lake Oswego begins Three Rivers League play at No. 36 West Linn.
No. 16 Lakeridge, which is giving up an average of 54 points per game, plays host to No. 30 Clackamas, which is scoring 42 points per game.
No. 2 Silverton plays host to No. 4 West Albany in the big game of the evening. Silverton has allowed just four touchdowns all season and only six points in its past three games, while West Albany is averaging 54 points per game.
Top-ranked Gladstone plays host to defending state champion La Salle, which is rated No. 15.
No. 5 Scio plays host to No. 6 Pleasant Hill in a PacWest Conference battle. The conference also includes No. 3 Santiam Christian, the defending state champion.
Top-ranked Dayton, which has a 7-6 win over Scio in the season opener for both teams, has given up just 12 points all season. the Pirates play at No. 22 Amity.
In a game that showcases how the dubious side of the state rankings, No. 5 Stanfield, which is 3-0 and averaging 49 points per game, plays host to No. 3 Elgin, which is looking for its first points of the season. Elgin is ranked No. 3 due to its one loss coming at the hands of No. 1 Grant Union. Stanfield and Grant Union play in Week 8.
No. 3 Sherman plays host to No. 14 Adrian in a game that might push the Huskies to No. 1 with a win as top-ranked Imbler, which is averaging 61 points per game, plays host to No. 22 Powder Valley.
The Trojans surge to No. 10 in the Class 5A rankings with a 47-21 win over Roosevelt
Sept. 21, 2012
Wilson made a strong case for itself being the team to beat in the Portland Interscholastic League with a resounding 47-21 victory at Roosevelt in a prep football game Friday night.
Senior Cory Hincks scored three times in the first half and the Trojans ran through the Roughriders to remain atop the league standings with Madison.
Madison beat winless Benson 46-13 to improve to 3-1 overall, and 2-0 in PIL play, equal to Wilson's record.
Wilson and Madison meet October 19.
Winning the league title is crucial as the qualifications for playoff teams changed from last year. Only 24 teams, eight fewer than last year, will earn a spot in the play-in round or beyond, with at least the league champion included from each league. Last year, only Jefferson was higher than No. 24 at No. 21. The other five PIL teams occupied the bottom five spots in the rankings.
Friday's win did wonders for Wilson's ranking as the Trojans vaulted from No. 25 to No. 10, primarily because of Roosevelt's two non-league game opponents - Scappoose and Gladstone. Combined, those teams are 7-1, with the one loss being Roosevelt's win over Scappoose. Also, Wilson's opening-game opponent, Gresham, improved to 4-0 Friday and moved to No. 13 in Class 6A.
Roosevelt dropped from No. 7 to 8. Madison's win affected it dramatically as the Senators dropped from No. 21 to 29 because of Benson's record.
When Friday began, the average ranking for the seven PIL schools was No. 26 of 39 Class 5A schools. On Saturday, the average ranking had dropped to No. 28.
Rushing game pushes Senators to first win in game called off by officials
Sept. 14, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
An inspired halftime coaching move helped the Madison Senators to their first win of the high school football season Friday night, although the game is certain to be remembered for the time of the final score ahead of the score itself.
Senior Charles Riga, replaced as quarterback at halftime, scored twice as a tailback and led the Senators to a 30-12 victory at Jefferson in the Portland Interscholastic League opener for both teams.
The Senators, who trailed 12-6 at the half, outscored Jefferson 24-0 in the second half and were closing out the win when officials abruptly ended the game with 2:59 remaining due to consistent abuse by Jefferson's assistant coaches.
Jefferson racked up more than 200 yards in penalties, including 95 in the third quarter alone, which led one assistant to tell the four-man officiating crew "you're the worst officials I've ever seen" at least 10 times. Midway through that tirade, the game was shut down.
Madison moved to 1-2 with a home game against winless Benson next week.
"This is a big win for us, one we needed," Riga said. "I can feel this win starting us on a streak, and we're not going to stop winning."
Jefferson dropped to 0-3 with a road game against winless Cleveland on tap.
The decision to call the game and actions by assistants to Jefferson coach Aaron Gipson, who is a first-year coach, are likely to attract significant fallout in the coming week. Jefferson's assistant coaches include Alundis Brice, Arthur Williams, Jason Scott as well as former University of Oregon standouts Rashad Bauman and Rasuli Webster, although not all were present Friday.
Despite the game's end, the Senators made a considerable case for being a contender for the PIL title - and certain spot in the Class 5A playoffs - with their running game, powered by Riga, who had a hand in all four Madison touchdowns.
Riga moved the Senators across the field within their run-based option offense in the first half, and scored on a seven-yard run to tie the score at 6-all in the second quarter. But, the Senators fumbled away one possesion at the Jefferson 2, and couldn't take advantage of another opportunity with a drive that started deep in Demos' territory.
At halftime, Madison coach Adam Skyles moved Riga to tailback and inserted junior Schuller Rettig at quarterback, where he had practiced as the starter all week while Riga battled a cold. The Senators took the opening kickoff of the third quarter and drove for a score and the lead when Riga hit senior Austin Powers for a 24-yard score on an option pass. Madison took a two-score lead when Riga finished off a 48-yard drive with a one-yard run with 1:25 left in the third quarter. When Jefferson was whistled for being offside on the extra point, Skyles opted for the two-point try, which worked for a 21-12 lead.
A safety on a botched Jefferson punt, and a 20-yard Riga run in the fourth quarter closed out the scoring.
"Our line stepped up and got the push we needed," Madison senior Jacob Martin said. "This shows that we're one of the most dominant teams in the PIL."
By then, the Democrats were on their way to a loss that will not soon be forgotten, although the players performed quite valiantly.
Jefferson drove for a score on the opening possession of the game and added another score late in the half when Deven Jackson hooked up with Jamartae Brown from eight yards out.
The Democrats were solid on defense in the first half, led by senior nose gaurd Jalean Webb, who finished off the first scoring drive with a one-yard run. Webb, though, suffered a minor foot injury in the third quarter, which caused him to consistenly leave the field.
Jefferson set up Madison with good field position throughout the game through the simple lack of a punting game. The Demos were effectively forced to go on fourth down not matter the down and distance because it could not convert the snap to the punter. Jefferson tried for a first down twice inside its 35 despite needing 17 yards on both occasions. Jackson was sacked on one of the plays and called for intentional grounding on the other.
The consistent flow of the game, which included a significant number of penalties against Madison, proved too much for Jefferson's assistant coaches, at least one of whom was nearly ejected early in the fourth quarter before Gipson talked that situation out of happening.