Marist Spartans Football

Prep Football Rally: Marist’s Jumbo Effort Stalls Willamette, 46-0

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The call came in for the “jumbo” play, and Korey Thompson-Falconer knew just what to do. It was time for the big boys to carry the football and plow into the end zone from one yard away. Marist’s 6-foot, 281-pound offensive guard dropped back from his offensive line position into the backfield, real estate generally occupied by smaller, lighter runners.

Marist Football
Marist’s defense played big by shutting out Willamette on Friday night, 46-0. (Gary Breedlove/EDN)

“My mind just went blank. I just wanted to score,” Thompson-Falconer said. “All I did was get the ball and run straight.” That’s exactly what the Marist Spartans needed to start the second half of their Class 5A Midwestern League game. Thompson-Falconer’s first touchdown as a high school player was the first of four TDs the Spartans scored in the third quarter on their way to a 46-0 win over the Wolverines.

For the second-straight week, the Spartans (3-2 overall, 1-1 MWL) held their opponents scoreless. In those two games, Marist has outscored its opposition 101-0. The offense sputtered some in the first half against Willamette (2-3, 1-2), but the Spartans still lead 12-0 at halftime. “We know we could do better. Twelve to nothing at half time? We did’t feel that was out top level,” Thompson-Falconer said. “We just turned it up more.”

Marist finished the game with 467 yards of total offense, including 229 running the ball. The Spartans scored on all four of its possessions in the second half. Sophomore quarterback Brody Cooper completed 11-of-19 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns. Cooper also ran in Marist’s first TD from the one-yard line. His first TD pass of the night came on a third down and 31 in the second quarter. Cooper hit sophomore receiver Matt Haney on a 60-yard scoring pass. Cooper caught five passes for 135 yards. In the second half, Cooper threw a 39-yard TD pass to Clark Morton.

“We came out stronger in the second half and came out and got the job done,” Cooper said. “I passed a little better than I have in the past. I’m just trying to open up the offense a little bit more.”

Marist Football
Marist quarterback Brody Cooper threw two TD passes and ran for one against Willamette. (Gary Breedlove/EDN)

Running backs Justin Enseki-Frank and Kashi Hall spearheaded the Spartan running game. They combined for 152 yards rushing and one touchdown, a 28-yard burst by Hall that made the score 39-0.

“The running backs lit their tails on fire a little bit more and the young quarterback keeps getting better,” Marist coach Frank Geske said. “…We’re not a done deal by any stretch of the imagination, but we keep getting better. I didn’t think our defense could get any better. (Willamette) ran all over other teams in the first half of their other games, and they didn’t tonight. I’m really proud of that.”

Willamette finished the game with just 74 yards of offense, all of which were running yards. Playing without their starting quarterback Kosey Mitchell, who injured his knee in last week’s game, the Wolverines turned to Darius Jackson. Normally a wide receiver, Jackson never threw a pass in the game and then was injured while punting the ball in the second quarter. He never returned to the game, and Willamette moved tight end Geoff Kastel to quarterback. Jackson had 35 yards on 12 carries and Kastel had six carries for 27 yards.

Though he only had two carries, Marist’s Thompson-Falconer scored twice against his former school. The senior attended Willamette before transferring to Marist as a sophomore. Geske said his staff had been working to have Thompson-Falconer carry the ball on short-yardage situations since the season began. “It was nice to let him score a couple of times,” Geske said. “And he’s a phenomenal football player on both sides of the ball. We were getting it a little from the (Willamette) coaches for letting him do it, but this was the perfect time for him to do it.”

SCOREBOARD:

In other 5A Midwestern League action:

  • Ashland took possession of first place in the league with a 34-28 win over the Springfield Millers.
  • The Grizzlies remain undefeated at 5-0 and 3-0 in league play. Springfield is 3-2 overall and 2-1 in league.
  • The North Eugene Highlanders lost at Eagle Point, 32-12. The Highlanders are 0-5 overall and 0-2 in league.

In the 6A Southwest Conference:

  • Sheldon defeated South Medford, 49-14, to improve to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in conference.
  • Thurston went to Grants Pass and lost 45-21 to fall to 1-4 overall and 1-2 in conference.
  • South Eugene played at Roseburg and lost 34-21 to drop to 2-3 overall and 0-3 in conference.

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Prep Football: Willamette-Marist Duel in Important League Game Friday

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All eyes will be on Willamette’s match-up with Marist in the only high school football game among Eugene-Springfield area schools on Friday. Since moving into the Class 5A Midwestern League in 2010, Marist has dominated and won the conference each year. However, this year has been different. Ashland dropped the Spartans 21-7 two weeks ago, handing Marist its first loss to a Midwestern League opponent since entering the league.

The loss put the Spartans (2-2 overall) in fifth place in the league with an 0-1 record. Last week, Marist rebounded with a hardy 55-0 win over Bend. Meanwhile Willamette (2-2 overall) picked up its first league win last week in a 63-21 blow-out of North Eugene, this after losing big, 54-6, to Springfield. The Wolverines stand at third place in the league behind Ashland and Springfield.

Willamette Football
Willamette may have to do without quarterback Kosey Mitchell on Friday. Mitchell injured a knee last week (Gary Breedlove/EDN)

In their game against North Eugene, the Wolverines lost quarterback Kosey Mitchell to a knee injury and had to turn to junior Darius Jackson as the backup. Leading up to that game, Jackson had limited practice time at quarterback and had been playing receiver.

When Jackson replaced Mitchell, Willamette turned exclusively to the run game. That meant Jackson and running back Sam Aguirre carried the load offensively. Willamette coach Adam Kennybrew says Mitchell was awaiting medical clearance on Thursday, but, if Mitchell remains out tonight, Marist’s defense may force Jackson to throw his first pass of the season. If he does, Jackson will have to play smart against a Marist team that has an interception in each of its games and a total of six. Senior linebacker Cameron Jack leads Marist with three interceptions.

Willamette wasn’t the only team that had success running the football. Marist used a powerful rushing attack against Bend last week for season-high 357 yards. The Spartans scored eight total touchdowns, seven were rushing scores.

A win for Willamette could move the Wolverines up to second place in the league and end a three-game losing streak to the Spartans, who have outscored Willamette 183-26 the last three years. If Marist wins, the Spartans could move up in the league standings for a third-place tie with Churchill, which has a bye week and is 1-1 in league play.

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Preps Football: Churchill’s Reid Regroups; Two Former Ducks Meet as Prep Coaches

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Tyler Reid hovered like a coach as a group of Churchill running backs warmed up on Morrow Field before last Friday’s season-opening football game at South Eugene. This was to be the start of his senior season at Churchill, but on this night, Reid wore no pads or helmet. A season-ending injury to his left knee earlier this summer relegated the former Lancers running back to the sidelines. Actually, he wasn’t even supposed to be at the game. He had originally been scheduled to have surgery on his right knee the day of the season opener, but Reid postponed the procedure until this Thursday. “I just wanted to come and see the first game,” Reid said before the game. For Reid and Lancers fans, it was a tough one to watch, as Churchill fell to the Axemen, 35-14.

Churchill's Tyler Reid (23) will miss his senior season because of a knee injury during summer. (Gary Breedlove/EDN)
Churchill’s Tyler Reid (23) will miss his senior season because of a knee injury during summer. (Gary Breedlove/EDN)

Instead of playing, Reid helped the Churchill coaching staff during pre-game warm-ups. The lost season has Reid serving as a coach. “I’m just trying to make this running back team better, trying to make the players better,” he said. “Right now, I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help the team before I have to go to surgery.”

Last year, Reid played a game and a half when he injured his left knee. In that short time, he’d amassed 419 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. He didn’t play the remainder of the season and had knee surgery. This summer, while playing 7-on-7 football, another player’s knee collided with his left knee. Initially, his doctor said it wasn’t serious and had Reid begin physical therapy. Thereafter, he consulted with his surgeon, who told him he’d torn the anterior cruciate ligament. “I worked hard to figure out I had to sit out the entire season,” Reid said.

“I’m definitely going insane right now,” he said as he watched his teammates run through their pre-grame drills. “I’m keeping my sanity. I’m trying to get everybody else pumped up. That’s what I can do…It’s just a challenge. I’ve dealt with a lot of challenges in my life. It’s just another obstacle on the road. I can overcome it just like I’ve done with every other obstacle that’s come in my way.”

Reid has been offered the opportunity to be a preferred walk-on at Oregon. His aim now is to rehabilitate and work himself back so he can play Division I football. “I’m going to do whatever I can so I can shine again.”

Reid will miss his team’s second game, a road contest at Liberty, but he says he’ll be back for game three at Eagle Point.

REUNION TIME FOR SOUTH EUGENE’S LEONARD, CHURCHILL COACHES

A family reunion of sorts commenced with hugs and laughter near the 50-yard line at Morrow Field last Friday when the Churchill Lancers played South Eugene. When former Ducks and NFL quarterback Chris Miller accepted the South Eugene head coaching position, he wooed Kevin Leonard from the Churchill coaching staff.

South Eugene defensive coordinator Kevin Leonard  (right) chats with his former coaches at Churchill before last Friday's game. (Gary Breedlove/EDN)
South Eugene defensive coordinator Kevin Leonard (right) chats with his former coaches at Churchill before last Friday’s game. (Gary Breedlove/EDN)

Leonard had been Miller’s defensive coordinator in his previous tenure with South Eugene, but for the last seven years Leonard has been the defensive coordinator for the Lancers. Now an assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Axemen, Leonard and his former colleagues at Churchill joked and embraced as the teams ran through their pre-game drills.

“Whenever you move somewhere, it’s a bit awkward because they’re good guys and great coaches,” Leonard said. “But they understand, and they know we’ll always be family. You can tell by the how we interacted.”

WEEK 2: KEY GAMES TO WATCH

Among the big games being played this week in Eugene is the face-off between former Oregon Ducks, now high school head coaches South Eugene’s Chris Miller and Willamette’s Adam Kennybrew. The Wolverines (1-0) will play host to a South Eugene team that is coming off it’s first win in three years (not including win by forfeit in 2011).

Sheldon (1-0) will face its second-straight 2012 6A playoff quarterfinalist in as many games when it welcomes Central Catholic (1-0). The Rams defeated Grant 55-14 last week. The Irish have defeated Central Catholic in their last two meetings, 33-26 last year in non-league game and 18-9 in the 2011 state semifinals. This game will be a big test for Sheldon, the 2012 6A state champion.

WEEK 1 RECAP

If you missed any of the action, here’s a run down of how other Eugene-Springfield area teams fared last week:

Marist High School: The Spartans managed just one touchdown in a 17-7 loss to West Albany. Marist sophomore Brody Cooper connected with Dustin Jones for the lone Spartan touchdown. Cooper completed 11 of 30 passes for 108 yards, a TD and two interceptions. Marist (0-1) stays on the road and will play at Grant (0-1).

North Eugene High School: The Highlanders put points on the board, but they allowed Summit to score eight TDs and leave with a 56-35 road win. North Eugene senior quarterback Joey Butterfield threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score. Highlander junior Dane Stapley caught the TD pass, and he also tossed a TD pass. Adding scores for North Eugene were Chad Gillam (a running TD) and Drew Gerth (a TD reception). A big highlight was a 90-yard kickoff return by North Eugene’s Aaron Thompson. The Highlanders (0-1) will play its second-straight home game against South Albany (0-1).

Sheldon High School: The Irish jumped into the 2013 season with a 35-15 road win over Southridge on the road. Mitchell Herbert led the Irish with rushing three touchdowns. Sheldon had big contributions from Ben Planck (two rushing touchdowns), Kellen Strahm (three receptions for 112 yards), and Yadie Dunmore (three catches for 82 yards and 10 runs for 43 yards). First-year, starting quarterback Joseph Kuehn completed 17 of 24 passes for 330 yards.

Springfield High School: The Millers lost 34-7 on the road at Silverton. The Silver Foxes led Springfield by just 7-0 at halftime, but Silverton added 20-points in the third quarter and the Millers’ only score came in the third, too. Springfield (0-1) welcomes Corvallis (0-1) in week two.

Thurston High School: The Colts fell short in its season opener, a 37-34 loss at home to Aloha. Thurston scored two touchdowns within the last two minutes of the game but was unable to come from behind. Colts quarterback Brendin Quinn completed 25 of 34 passes for 262 yards, a touchdown pass and interception. Quinn also ran for a touchdown. Receiver Carson Cook caught the one touchdown pass and had 47 yards on six catches. Senior running back Roy Jackson scored three touchdowns for Thurston. The Colts (0-1) will travel to West Salem (1-0) this week.

Chris Miller leads his South Eugene team against another former Duck, Adam Kennybrew, and Willamette. | Image - Gary Breedlove
Chris Miller (left) leads his South Eugene team against another former Duck, Adam Kennybrew, and Willamette. | Image – Gary Breedlove

Willamette High School: The Wolverines opened the season with a 34-20 win over Corvallis for first-year head coach and former Oregon running back Adam Kennybrew. Willamette running back Sam Aguirre ran 20 times for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Kosey Mitchell completed 9 of 20 passes for 137 yards and two touchdown passes. Geoff Kastel and Darius Jackson each caught TD passes.

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OSAA 5A High School Football Season Schedules

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We’ve got three weeks until high school football teams can begin practicing on Aug. 19 and a week later the season opens on Aug. 30. Nevertheless, football is on the horizon and followers of the local teams in the 5A Midwestern League will want to know what the schedule looks like for the five teams from the Eugene-Springfield area in the eight-team conference.

Complete Local OSAA 5A High School Football Season Schedules:

 

Churchill Lancers (7-4 overall, 4-3 in league)

Churchill_logo

  • Aug. 30 – at South Eugene
  • Sept. 6 – at Liberty
  • Sept. 13  – at Eagle Point
  • Sept. 20 – Ashland
  • Oct. 4 – Willamette
  • Oct. 11 – Marist
  • Oct. 18 – at North Eugene
  • Oct. 25 – Springfield

Marist_logoMarist Spartans (11-2, 7-0)

  • Aug. 30 – at West Albany
  • Sept. 6 – at Grant
  • Sept. 13 – Ashland
  • Sept. 20 – Bend
  • Sept. 26 – at Willamette
  • Oct. 4 – Eagle Point
  • Oct. 11 – at Churchill
  • Oct. 18 – Springfield
  • Oct. 25 – North Eugene

North Eugene Highlanders (2-7, 2-5)

NorthEugene_logo

  • Aug. 30 – Summit
  • Sept. 6 – South Albany
  • Sept. 13 – at Hidden Valley
  • Sept. 20 – Willamette
  • Sept. 27 – at Eagle Point
  • Oct. 4 – Ashland
  • Oct. 11 – at Springfield
  • Oct. 18 – Churchill
  • Oct. 25 – at Marist

Springfield Millers (8-3, 6-1)

Springfield

  • Aug. 30 – at Silverton
  • Sept. 6 – Corvallis
  • Sept. 13 – at Willamette
  • Sept. 20 – Eagle Point
  • Sept. 27 – at Ashland
  • Oct. 4 – Hermiston
  • Oct. 11 – North Eugene
  • Oct. 18 – at Marist
  • Oct. 25 – at Churchill

The Wolverines occupy the seventh spot in the current rankings. (Willamette High School)Willamette Wolverines (2-7, 1-6)

  • Aug. 30 – at Corvallis
  • Sept. 6 – South Eugene
  • Sept. 13 – Springfield
  • Sept. 20 – at North Eugene
  • Sept. 26 – Marist
  • Oct. 4 – at Churchill
  • Oct. 10 – Eagle Point
  • Oct. 18 – at Ashland

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