OSAA - Page 19

Irish Maul Cavaliers In First Round.

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Sam Finley, EDN Sports Editor

Talk about a mismatch. The No. 2 6A team in the state against a two-win opponent that got into the OSAA playoffs by winning a play-in game last week. So it was no surprise that the Sheldon Irish scorched the lowly Clackamas Cavaliers 50-0 on Friday night.

photographs courtesy of Jon Morgan for Sheldon Athletics

Just to provide the tale of two teams, consider the overall yardage by both teams in the contest. Sheldon produced 475 yards of total offense, while holding Clackamas to barely 153 yards. Moreover, the Irish took care of the football.  The Cavaliers, on the other hand, fumbled the ball once and quarterback Cade Wilkins threw two interceptions.  Not a recipe for success against one of the state’s best teams.

photographs courtesy of Jon Morgan for Sheldon Athletics

The Irish certainly put on a show for their home fans by scoring all of their points in the first half. Sheldon got the fireworks going early in the first quarter, when junior running back Mitch Lewis scored on an eight-yard touchdown run to give his team a 7-0 lead. Lewis ended up rushing for 81 yards and three touchdowns for the evening. Lewis’ contributions will be critical if Sheldon is going to go deep into the playoffs. After all, all-conference running back Ryan Land is probably done for the season with a lacerated kidney. The Irish will also need help from Cameron Herr, who did his part by running for 87 yards and a touchdown. So it looks like their running attack will be just fine for the time being.

Sheldon’s passing game seems to be hitting on all cylinders as well. On their next possession, Irish quarterback Dillon Miller hooked up with Connor Strahm for a 47-yard touchdown strike, stretching their advantage to 14-0.  Miller completed 16-of-21 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target was clearly Strahm, who had five receptions for 111 yards and two scores.

photographs courtesy of Jon Morgan for Sheldon Athletics

The first quarter was just an opening act for the Irish. The real drama came when Sheldon reeled off 36 points in the second quarter. First, Lewis scored on a one-yard touchdown run. Moments later, while playing defensive back, he returned a Cavalier fumble for yet another score. That made it 28-0 Irish, and they were just warming up.

On Sheldon’s next possession, Miller found Strahm once more. This time, they connected on a 44-yard touchdown pass, extending the lead to 34-0. Then a case of double trouble occurred. Defensive back Dylan Lewis (Mitch’s twin brother) got into the act. He blocked a punt that went out of the end zone for a safety. That merely added two points to an otherwise large 36-0 lead.

photographs courtesy of Jon Morgan for Sheldon Athletics

Still, the Irish weren’t done yet. Even Yogi Berra would’ve said it was over, they managed to find their way on the board two more times thanks to Herr. First, he scored on a two-yard run, padding the game at 43-0.  On their next offensive series, Herr caught a 41-yard touchdown pass from Miller. That was clearly more than enough insurance for Sheldon to advance to the next round of the playoffs.

Now that the warm up with Clackamas is successfully completed, the Irish’s record now stands at a perfect 10-0. Sheldon will be back at home again this coming Friday night. They’ll face off against the 4th-seeded Lincoln Cardinals, who advanced yesterday after defeating Gresham 28-14. Kickoff is set for 7 pm at Sheldon High School.

 

Spartans Advance Past First Round of 5A Playoffs, Pioneers Sent Home Disappointed

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The Marist Spartans continued their season-long trend by once again dominating their competition.  This time, they throttled to the visiting Sandy Pioneers 47-7 on Friday night.

The Spartans controlled the game in every facet, playing far superior offense, defense and special teams. Marist Quarterback Kamerun Smith torched Sandy’s secondary by throwing five touchdowns in the first half alone. Smith has been one of the most efficient 5A quarterbacks this season, passing for 34 touchdowns to just six interceptions (regular season). He’s also completed over 60 percent of his passes.

The game looked like it was going to be a close one early on as Sandy’s Zack Nisbett recovered a Marist fumble on the opening drive of the game. The Spartans defense held strong and forced the Pioneers into a fourth and 13 when Marist’s star defensive back Taylor Walcott picked off an errant throw by Sandy’s Justin Adams. Walcott ran it back to the end zone and that gave the Spartans a 7-0 advantage. The Spartans are one of the best teams at forcing turnovers, coming up with 28 (14 picks, 14 fumbles) in the regular season. This game was a prime example of what the swift hands of the Marist defense can do.

After a three-and-out by the Pioneers’ offense, they returned the ensuing punt 52 yards to give them field position at Sandy’s 26-yard line. The Spartans would later score on a 19-yard TD pass to Marist’s James Banks to give them a 14-0 advantage.

Later in the first quarter, another huge punt return (41 yards) gave the Spartans a short field to work with, as Smith and Walcott hooked up for an 8-yard touchdown pass. Smith’s most popular target, Walcott, has been a terror for defensive backs to cover. Walcott has making the best defenders look silly with his 921 yards and 14 TDs in the regular season.

The second quarter is when the game got out of hand, as indicated by the first play being an interception to Marist’s Walcott (his second of the game). Smith and wide receiver Austin Baird would connect on a 33-yard pass for a Marist touchdown. The extra point was unsuccessful, bringing the score to 27-0 Spartans. Marist would score three more times in the second quarter.  The first one came on a 6-yard touchdown run by Banks.  The second one came on a 29-yard pass to Josh Paiement.  The third time around happened on a 9-yard touchdown reception by Baird, his second of the half.  The Spartans’ 47-0 lead at halftime matched that of their previous game against Summit, which they had won 53-8.

The second half featured far fewer big plays, as both teams worked to run out the clock and end the game. With about three minutes remaining, Adams and junior receiver Blake Robinson connected on a 65-yard bomb to give Sandy its lone score on Friday. With the victory, Marist advances to round two to face the winner of 7-3 Corvallis and 8-2 Wilsonville.

After the game, head coach Frank Geske talked about Marist’s next game.

“They’re (Corvallis and Wilsonville) both good teams,” said Geske. “They can turn the field on you. We need a good week of practice.”

The Spartans’ closest game of the season came in week one when they defeated the Corvallis Spartans 16-14 in a game decided by turnovers. Both teams’ quarterbacks threw three interceptions in the game, but Marist was able to take advantage of Corvallis’ mistakes for another score.

Marist did not face Wilsonville this season whose two losses are an 8-point game to Lebanon and a 5-point loss to Sherwood, both home games. When asked about next week’s game, Walcott said the team will be ready.

“We have a week to get ready,” he claimed. “We have a good team and we can go a long way.”

The second round of the 5A OSAA football playoffs continues next Friday with the winner advancing to the semifinals.

Smith, Walcott Lead Marist In Explosive Win Over Summit

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Alex Shoemaker, EDN

In a blowout that got ugly early, the Marist Spartans defeated the Summit Storm 53-8 Friday night at North Eugene High School.

Marist, as the No. 1 seed, will host Sandy at North Eugene in the OSAA 5A playoffs next week.

Five different Spartans scored touchdowns on the game, including starting quarterback Kamerun Smith, who finished with five through the air.

The Marist offense is ready to drive down the field for another score during Friday's game. (Photo Credit: Alex Shoemaker)

The Storm took over at their 40-yard line, but they would be forced to punt.

On the Spartans’ next possession, Marist scored on the first play on a 64-yard bubble screen to receiver Taylor Walcott. The extra point was missed, but the Spartans had a 13-0 advantage.

Later in the quarter, the Marist began a methodical drive starting on their side of the field that would finish with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Walcott in the corner of the end zone. Walcott, a senior and captain, finished the game with three touchdowns and a key interception on defense.

The Spartans missed the extra point again, but led 19-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, Spartan running back Greg Park weaved his way through Summit defenders on his way to a 36-yard touchdown run to give the Spartans  a 26-0 advantage.

On Summit’s next drive, Walcott picked off quarterback Max Lindsay. With the ball at the 25-yard line, Smith and Marist receiver Josh Paiement hook up for a touchdown, Paiement’s first of the game, giving Marist an overwhelming 33-0 lead.

Later in the quarter, Smith and Paiement connected again, this time for 20 yards as the Spartans extended their lead to 40.

After yet another 3-and-out by the Storm, the Spartans took over with less than two minutes remaining in the half. A quick drive bringing the ball near the red zone, Smith and Walcott connected again on a 20-yard touchdown reception which gave the Spartans a commanding 47-0 advantage at the half.

Both teams stalled on their opening drives of the third quarter, but a 67-yard TD pass from Lindsay to Storm senior receiver and captain Brennan Rooks finally put Summit on the board. After a successful two-point conversion, the score sat at 47-8.

The Storm try to regroup during their contest with the Spartans, but to no avail. (Photo Credit: Alex Shoemaker)

With time running out in the fourth quarter, the Spartans managed one more touchdown, this time on a 1-yard run by sophomore Gavin Doremus.

The two-headed monster of Walcott and Smith proved to be an unstoppable force. After the game, Walcott said he and head coach Frank Geske were pleased with the teams play during the game.

“I think we played really well and coach wasn’t getting on us as usual,” Walcott explained. “We all played great and we got the W.”

As for his individual performance, Walcott said it’s all about the team.

“I think I played pretty well,” he stated. “There were a couple of times I got tackled at the one (yard line). But it’s a team effort. We got a win.”

The Spartans are one step closer to reaching the state championship, and this team believes they will compete for it.

“I think we’re going to state,” Walcott said. “We can win it.”

Notes –

– Marist quarterback Kamerun Smith finishes game with 256 yards and 5 TDs.

– Spartans outscored Storm 47-0 in the first half.

Irish ready to clash with South Medford

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Don Smalley, EDN Managing Editor

College football fans are looking for the Nov. 5 showdown between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama. In the world of Oregon high school football, a similar contest is about to go down.

Top-ranked Sheldon (8-0) will attempt to win the Midwestern 6A/5A hybrid league tomorrow as the Irish go down to the Rogue Valley.

Waiting for them will be No. 2 South Medford, who is also undefeated and trying to capture the same crown as the Irish. But unlike college football, the loser of this game will be alive and head to the 6A football playoffs next week.

Linebacker Dawson Housley takes down an Axemen running back. The Irish defense has been stellar all year long. Photo courtesy of Jon Morgan.

Many are calling this match-up the game of the year and it could very well live up to its billing.

If the high schools used the BCS formula, like Division I-A college football, the Irish would still be No. 1 with a .985 rating.

South Medford on the other hand, would be ranked fourth with a rating of .809.

“We’re definitely fired up to go down to Medford and play are really good team,” Sheldon coach Lane Johnson said. “They have the neatest stadium in Oregon high school football and there will be a big crowd. But we’re excited.”

Sheldon is coming off a huge victory over Thurston. The 56-14 win was just the latest of impressive showings by the Irish.

Only Jesuit was able to come within two touchdowns of the Irish. The Crusaders fell 52-37 in the second game of the season and Sheldon has cruised through the schedule from there.

Roseburg was able to hold the Irish to 31 points, but the Sheldon defense, perhaps overlooked all year due to the explosive offense, held the Indians to just seven points.

Sheldon has pitched three shutouts in 2011. It opened the year with a 51-0 win over West Salem. The Irish did the same to South Eugene (56-0) Sept. 16 and to Crater (42-0) Oct. 7.

The Irish are first in the state in scoring by posting up almost 50 points per game. They also lead the 6A division in total defense as well. They give up just a little under nine points per contest.

Quarterback Dillon Miller scrambles out of harms way against South Eugene. Miller lead the Irish against South Medford tomorrow. Photo courtesy of Jon Morgan.

Sheldon is led by quarterback Dillon Miller, who threw for 357 yards and four touchdowns in their most recent win over the Colts. His favorite target is wide receiver Connor Strahm, who has nine touchdown catches.

‘Dillon has just been awesome this year,” Johnson said. “He’s very football savvy and spreads the ball around. He’s also become a much better leader for us.”

Sheldon’s passing attack ranks No. 1 in that state at 297 yards per game.

But make no mistake about it, this South Medford team isn’t ranked No. 3 in the state for nothing.

The Panthers have also pitched three shutouts in their eight games played, including the last two. South Medford hammered Grants Pass 46-0 and crushed South Eugene last week 62-0.

They are led by quarterback Jack Singler, cousin of Oregon basketball star EJ Singler. Jack has thrown 28 touchdowns passes this season.

But the offense isn’t just the Singler Show.

“They (the Panthers) have a lot of team speed and they tend to use the whole field,” Johnson said. “They have probably the best receiver in the state in Matt Ratzlaff.”

The Panthers have a balanced attack. While they do average 245 passing yard, South Medford has rushed for 166 yards on the ground.

Denzel Mobley is its leading rusher by racking up 744 yards this year (93 points per game) and six touchdowns. Christian Bowley is their second leading rusher with 56 yards per game, but leads the Panthers with seven rushing touchdowns.

Through the air, Singler likes to hit Retzlaff. Of the 28 passing touchdowns by Singler, 13 have gone to Retzlaff.

Panther wide receiver Max Farthing goes for a 66-yard touchdown against Crater. Sheldon needs to D up against a balanced Panther attack in they want to come out on top.. Photo courtesy of South Medford High School.

But unlike Sheldon, the Panthers have had a couple close calls. Thurston played them tough before eventually falling 45-32. The Colts were within six at 38-32 in the fourth quarter.

The biggest scare for the Panthers was against Roseburg. South Medford had to rally from a 14-0 deficit to defeat the Indians 28-20 in their fifth game of the season.

No matter the outcome, both teams are assured to host a playoff game Nov. 11 in the OSAA 6A tournament. The semifinal (Dec. 3) and the championship (Dec. 10) will be held at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland.

“We’re looking at this as a playoff game,” Johnson said of the regular season finale. “Obviously the loser isn’t out of the playoffs and with the rankings both are assured a first round home playoff game. But the loser might lose a little momentum.

“We don’t want to be the loser.”

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