One week after opening this year’s OSAA division 6A playoffs with a convincing 42-6 over the David Douglas Scots (4-7 overall, 2-3 league), the Sheldon Irish (12-0, 7-0) posted another blowout win in the second round, defeating the Roseburg Indians (6-6, 3-4) by a final score of 52-6. The Irish are on a roll, having outscored their last four opponents by an average of 44.5 points.
“We knew it was going to be tough, playing a team a second time,” said Sheldon OL/DE Alex Schwarte after the game. “Last year they beat South Medford after losing to them the first time, so we knew Roseburg was really going to come back . . . it was good to get the win.”
The key to the win was Sheldon’s ability to stonewall Roseburg’s veer offense, which they ran out of an I-formation and offset I-formation. The veer is a two-read, triple-option rushing attack that forces an opposing team to defend against three possible runs on every play. For example, on an inside veer play the first option traditionally being a run up the middle by the first running back, the second is a run off tackle by the quarterback, and the third is a pitch out wide to the second running back. If a defense isn’t careful, it can soon find itself overwhelmed by a buzz-saw attack of inside and outside veers, counter runs, and passes.
“Offensively, we thought they were going to run the veer and they did,” said head coach Lane Johnson. “It’s very assignment-oriented; you have to be very disciplined. We missed our assignment a couple times, but overall we did a pretty good job.”
After forcing a three-and-out on the Indians’ first drive, the Irish capped off their opening drive of the game with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Allie to his favorite target, Connor Strahm. The Indians responded by quickly advancing the ball to their own 49, but were unable to advance any farther. Three plays later, Allie threw a second touchdown pass, this time a medium throw on a rollout to Ivan Faulhaber, who was able to turn upfield and race up the sideline all the way to the end zone.
Roseburg was able to push their way back to midfield on each of their next three possessions, getting as far as Sheldon’s 40 yard line, but the visiting team was ultimately forced to punt. On those three ensuing drives, the Irish steamrolled their way into the end zone in five plays or less to put themselves in the lead 35-0. The first two touchdowns were a result of passes by Allie, the first a 49-yard completion deep downfield to Faulhaber and the second a 14-yard strike to Strahm, and the third TD was scored on a 10-yard run by Mitch Lewis. Roseburg’s only real accomplishment of the first half was forcing Sheldon to punt on their sixth drive with less than a minute remaining on the clock.
But for all their offensive prowess, the Irish were unable to prevent themselves from committing a slew of costly penalties throughout the game, including one on their final drive of the first half that negated a touchdown reception by Yadie Dunmore.
“We had way too many penalties,” said Allie afterwards. “Penalties that would come back and haunt us down the road, so we just need to fix those and have a good week of practice.”
“We haven’t had very many penalties recently, [but] it happens sometimes, and we just need to get our kids in better position,” said Coach Johnson. “Most of them were holds or blocks in the back and we just need to take care of that.”
After receiving the opening kickoff of the second half, the Irish sealed the win with a methodical 85 yard drive, hammering the Indians with runs to the left, right, and center before scoring on an 8 yard rush by Lewis.
“The drive I liked the best was the start of the third quarter when we just jammed it right down their throat,” said Coach Johnson of the drive. “It was good to see us be able to run the ball effectively right at them.”
Roseburg’s only score of the night came on an 8-yard rush by running back Levi Holden (the point after attempt was no good). Holden was responsible for some of the Indians’ better plays of the night, although at times it seemed to take everything he had just to shove his way forward for minimal gain. Quarterback Hayden Lent, who also contributed several noteworthy runs, was let down in a big way by his receivers. Several times throughout the game, Lent was able to evade the pass rush long enough to deliver a perfectly aimed pass to one of his teammates, only to have the ball bounce off their hands and fall to the turf or into the hands of an opportunistic defender.
Next Friday, Sheldon will face the Southridge Skyhawks in the quarterfinals round of the playoffs. The game will begin at 7:00 and will be held at Southridge’s home stadium in Beaverton.
Around the League 5A
Marist: The Spartans continue their path in the 5A bracket following last night’s 28-16 win over Mountain View. No. 2 Marist moves on to the semifinals against No. 1 Redmond for a spot in the finale.
Springfield: Their season came to a close Friday night in a 42-30 loss to No. 1 Sherwood on the road. Sherwood moves on to play Silverton with the winner playing the winner of Marist and Redmond.
Around the League 6A
Thurston: The Colts’ season is over as well, this one in a 63-7 blowout on the road to No. 1 Jesuit.