Imbler outlasts Lowell with defense
HILLSBORO - Leading 64-62 at halftime, Imbler High football coach Lee Lowe knew the key to victory in the Class 1A championship game was simple: defense.
The Panthers already had recorded a safety and stopped five extra-point conversions, but all that hadn't gotten them more than a two-point cushion.
But, the defense responded, and held Lowell to just two scores in the second half and the Imbler offense scored a season-high on the way to a 88-76 victory in the highest-scoring championship game in OSAA history.
Junior Joe Griffin ran for four touchdowns, caught three more scoring passes and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns to lead the Panthers, who scored their season high and finished 12-1.
Lowell continually overcame its miscues with an offense that generated 789 total yards, including three players running for 186 yards or more. But, the extra-point conversions eventually caught up with the Red Devils, who also finished the season at 12-1.
In only five previous title games had one team scored more than 70 points, and the top score was 76 by Cove in 1983. That game ended as a 76-8 win over Valsetz.