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.
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.
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.
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.
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.