prep football

Prep Football Rally: Sheldon Overcomes Flat Start to Win, Advance in 6A Playoffs

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The Sheldon High football machine sputtered in the first half of its Class 6A first-round game against Lincoln on Friday night, but the Irish rediscovered their dominant ways with a 28-point third quarter to dispose of Lincoln, 56-28. The No. 4 seed in the 32-team 6A playoff tournament, Sheldon (8-2) remains on track to defend its state championship and will play host to 13th-seeded Tualatin (7-3) next Friday in the second round.

Sheldon's Yadie Dunmore finished with 107 yards rushing and three TDs against Lincoln on Friday.
Sheldon’s Yadie Dunmore finished with 107 yards rushing and three TDs against Lincoln on Friday. (Gary Breedlove/EDN)

“We were flat as a pancake,” Sheldon coach Lane Johnson said. “If our kids don’t learn from this, we won’t be playing for much longer. There was no enthusiasm, no run to the ball, and I have to tip my hat to Lincoln because they played hard.”

The Cardinals (2-8) entered the game as the 29th seed, so Sheldon was favored to win the game. Yet in the first two quarters of play, Lincoln kept pace with Sheldon, entering halftime tied 21-21. Lincoln never trailed in the first half and scored on two big touchdown passes, one for 57 yards and another for 63, and on a short 2-yard run after a 55-yard drive. At halftime, Lincoln quarterback Quentin Lake had completed 12-of-17 passes for 232 yards and two TD passes, while receiver Nate Ostmo had six receptions for 119 yards and a TD.

After each Lincoln score, though, Sheldon replied with TDs of its own, never allowing the Cardinals a chance to extend their lead. The Irish scored on two TD passes by quarterback Joseph Kuehn and a Yadie Dunmore 4-yard run. While they scored on all but two of their possessions in the first half, the Irish needed something to change if it was to overtake the game.

Sheldon found its answer on the first play of the second half after it received the opening kickoff. The Irish received excellent field position after an unsportsmanlike penality by Lincoln put Sheldon on the Cardinal 41-yard line. That mistake was only compounded when Lincoln played only 10 players on the first play from scrimmage. Dunmore took the hand-off and scored on a 41-yard run.

“We went in at half time and got together as a team, and then we came back strong,” Kuehn said. “(Dunmore’s run) was good for our confidence. More importantly, though, was that we got a quick stop on defense after that.”

The Irish followed Dunmore’s opening TD run of the second half with three more scores: a 2-yard TD run by Dumore, a 35-yard TD pass from Kuehn to Mitchell Herbert after Sheldon recovered a Lincoln fumble, and a 49-yard punt return by Kellen Strahm.

Kuehn completed 13-of-19 passes for 185 yards, four TDs and one interception. Herbert caught eight passes for 70 yards and two TDS, while Strahm added three receptions for 69 yards and a TD reception. Peter Wood caught two passes, including one TD for Sheldon.

Irish quarterback Joseph Kuehn threw four TD passes in the win Friday against Lincoln. (Gary Breedlove/EDN)
Irish quarterback Joseph Kuehn threw four TD passes in the win Friday against Lincoln. (Gary Breedlove/EDN)

“Our kids are capable when they’re dialed in,” said Johnson, Sheldon’s coach. “We played exactly the same defense in the second half. The difference was that we weren’t dialed in to play.”

As well as the offense played, Sheldon’s defense also turned a corner in the second half. The Irish allowed just one Lincoln score in the second half and prevented the Cardinals from running the ball effectively. Lincoln finished the game with 20 total rushing yards on 29 carries. The inability to run the football was the biggest surprise to Lincoln coach Adam Grimes.

“We couldn’t get anything going,” Grimes said. “The second half came down to a five-minute span where they score, we go three and out, they score again, and all of a sudden they’re up two (touchdowns) on us. That changed our plan. They did a great job of grinding it out…When you’re playing the defending state champion, you have to play perfect, and we didn’t play perfect.”

Lincoln’s top two receivers, Ostmo and Jaray Kindell, each caught nine passes and each had 153 yards. While Ostmo finished with two TD catches, Kindell had one.

One notable streak for Sheldon was extended with Friday’s win. The Irish have now won 14-consecutive, first-round playoff games. The last first-round loss the Irish suffered came in 1999. Looking ahead to Friday’s game, Sheldon has a streak of seven-straight wins in the second-round of the playoffs.

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Prep Football Rally: Willamette Douses North Eugene With Run Game, 63-21

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When his starting quarterback was sidelined with a knee injury in the second quarter, Willamette coach Adam Kennybrew tossed his script of offensives plays and put the ball in the hands of receiver Darius Jackson and running back Sam Aguirre.

Sam Aguirre
Willamette RB Sam Aguirre ran for 231 yards and four touchdowns in a 63-21 win over North Eugene (Gary Breedlove/EDN)

The result proved brutal for North Eugene, as Willamette overwhelmed the Highlanders 63-21 in a Class 5A Midwestern League game on Friday. The Wolverines (2-2 overall, 1-1 in conference) scored 42 unanswered points. The win snapped Willamette’s two-game losing streak and was despite losing junior quarterback Kosey Mitchell to a right knee injury.

“I told (Mitchell) on the sideline that you guys would have his back,” Kennybrew told his players after the game. “And you did.”

“I had to put our best athlete out there. Really, we didn’t have a backup,” Kennybrew said. “And not having prepared for something like this, the players took the injury and used it as motivation to have our quarterback’s back.”

Jackson took the quarterback role and made off with it. Along with his 170 yards on 11 carries and four rushing TDs, Jackson caught two passes for 82 yards, including a 70-yard TD pass from Mitchell. “I had no idea I was going in as quarterback,” Jackson said. “I heard coach say, ‘Darius, you’re quarterback.’ I was speechless.”

Jackson and Aguirre combined for 401 of Willamette’s 455 rushing yards and accounted for all nine Wolverine touchdowns. Aguirre ran the ball 18 times for 231 yards and four rushing TDs. “I was worried (about losing Mitchell). But I thought about it, and I knew the offensive line was going to work hard,” Aguirre said.

The Highlanders (0-4, 0-1) answered Jackson’s 42-yard TD run in the second quarter with an 80 kick-off return by Aaron Thompson to make the score 21-14 just three minutes before halftime. But Willamette replied with a six-play drive that ended on a 10-yard TD run by Jackson, putting the Wolverines ahead 28-14 at halftime.

Darius Jackson
Willamette’s Darius Jackson ran away from defenders for five touchdowns, including a 70-yard TD reception. (Gary Breedlove/EDN)

The rain held off, but Willamette didn’t. North Eugene ran three plays to start the second half and punted it back to the visiting Wolverines. Two plays later, Jackson ran 16 yards for a TD and a 35-14 lead. On the subsequent kickoff, Willamette recovered the ball after it bounced off a North Eugene player’s leg. That Wolverine possession led to a five play scoring drive, which ended with an Aguirre 6-yard TD run. The score was set up in part by Aguirre’s 52-yard run earlier in the drive.

North Eugene fumbled its next possession, and again Willamette turned it into points, a 9-yard TD run for Aguirre. The lead was 49-14 with 6:12 in the third quarter. The Highlanders did score with less than a minute in the game when quarterback Joey Butterfield finished off a five-play drive with a one-yard  TD run. Sophomore running back Zach Haxby had 103 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown in the game.

“We’re not very physical, and we don’t do very well when people come at us,” North Eugene coach Edmund Rivera said. “They are great kids, and they work hard, but having a little nasty helps.”

OTHER PREP SCORES

In the 6A Southwest Conference, North Medford upset defending state champion Sheldon 21-17, as the Irish lost a conference game for the first time since 2008. Roseburg remained undefeated by beating Thurston, 28-14. And South Medford traveled north and dominated South Eugene, 32-7.

In other 5A Midwestern League action, Springfield pounded Eagle Point, 48-0, and Ashland remained undefeated with a 51-21 road victory over Churchill.

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Prep Football Roundup: Willamette-North Eugene Hunt League Win

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Self-sabotage has hindered one team. Physical play by its most recent opponent has jolted the other. Regardless of how they’ve arrived at their current states, one team should break through on Friday, and a losing streak will end when Willamette goes to North Eugene for a 5A Midwest League game.

Willamette Wolverines Football
Willamette quarterback Kosey Mitchell (7) hands the ball off to Sam Aguirre (15) | (Gary Breedlove/EDN)

North Eugene’s Highlanders have yet to win a game in three tries, and the Willamette Wolverines have lost two-straight games since winning 34-20 in Week 1 over Corvallis. Both teams are 0-1 in league play. If you look at their points for and points against statistics, both teams have had similar experiences. North Eugene scored 35 points in Week 1 and scored a total of just 13 in the subsequent two games, while Willamette had 34 that first week and managed just 15 in the following two games. On defense, both teams have allowed about the same number of points, 88 for Willamette and 90 for North Eugene.

While these numbers may be similar, how they’ve gotten where they are is different. “Right now we are simply shooting ourselves in the foot,” North Eugene head coach Edmund Rivera said. “We’re making silly mistakes that are costing us first downs on defense. We’re scrambling when we don’t need to, and we’re running our (receiving) routes wrong.”

At Willamette, Adam Kennybrew is a first-year head coach still working to gain the trust of players who have experienced losing seasons of late. The 54-6 loss to Springfield last week has meant a re-examination of team identity at Willamette. Springfield’s physical dominance of the Wolverines has prompted Kennybrew and his assistants to actively compete with their players in practice to prepare players for more physical games. “There was nothing that prepared me for that (loss),” Kennybrew said. “I have more confidence in out team.”

“(Springfield) came really aggressive and that impacted our level of execution…We’re building up to being a team that isn’t going to let teams come and punch us in the mouth. We’re coming from a different place. This is a place where we can throw the first punch. (Players) have communicated with us that it is new to them…It’s humiliating to have an opponent dominate you on game day. We are going to work harder and be more physical (in practice) than their opponents.”

“Coaches got in (drills) to show them how not to get man-handled. It’s fun for them to see coaches get in the trenches. We have to figure out a way to change it and make it better. We will push kids by getting in there and getting physical with them and talking trash with them like opponents have done. And if they’re not intimidated by coaches, they shouldn’t be intimidated by other teams.”

Springfield Improves to No. 7 in 5A Poll

Springfield’s solid win over Willamette last week had voters for the OregonLive.com Class 5A poll electing to make the Millers the seventh-ranked team in the state. Springfield head coach Dave Heuberger says there may have been some uncertainty about whether his program’s 2012 success was an aberration, but his players are doing a good job of putting to rest any thoughts of it being a fluke. “Some people thought, is it a one year deal? But we’re playing quality football and working hard in the weight room. It isn’t something where we sit back and say we’ve arrived.”

Springfield Millers Football
Springfield quarterback Trever Watson avoids a Willamette defender in last year’s game against the Wolverines. (Courtesy of Springfield Miller Football Facebook Page)

The Millers are 2-1 overall and 1-0 in league heading into their game against Eagle Point (1-2, 0-1). Springfield’s lone loss is to second-ranked Silverton. In it’s two wins, sophomore quarterback Trever Watson has completed 18 of 27 passes for 460 yards and five touchdowns. He’s also carried the ball 11 times for 230 yards. Sophomore receiver Braydon Haas has had a pair of touchdown receptions of 60-or-more yards and been a threat on reverse plays. “Offensively, we’re starting to put the pieces in the right place and getting the ball to the right people,” Heuberger said. “What’s making the difference is that other players are stepping up.”

Churchill Confronts No. 5 Ashland

After picking up its first win of the season last week, Churchill began preparations to play an undefeated Ashland team that became the first Midwestern League team to hand Marist a defeat since the Spartans entered the league in 2010. “We were looking at them on film and this may be the best Ashland team we’ve played…,” Churchill head coach Darrell Mehl said. “It’s nice that we have them here. They beat Marist, and it wasn’t a fluke.”

The 21-7 win over Marist moved Ashland (3-0 overall, 1-0 in league) to No. 5 in the OregonLive.com Class 5A poll. Meanwhile, Churchill improved to 1-2 overall and 1-0 in league. Mehl said in the win quarterback Justin Kearney endured several tough hits, including two late-hit penalties. He finished with 20 completed passes on 30 attempts for 218 yards and one touchdown.

Churchill Lancers Football
Churchill’s Justin Kearney (2) passes to Brenden Nesbitt (8) in a loss to South Eugene | (Gary Breedlove/EDN)

“Most kids would have taken the night off after getting hit a few times,” Mehl said. “But he got back up, got in the huddle and got us going again.”

Mehl says the Ashland quarterback Danial White could be the top quarterback in the league. White is 38-for-58 with 578 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. “They have good receivers and good speed. They have a nice scheme, and they are well-coached. We have our hands full and then some.”

Axemen Shuffling Offensive Line

One team that had its fill last week was South Eugene. The Axemen (2-1, 0-1 in 6A Southwest Conference) lost their first game of the season, 49-7 to Sheldon. South Eugene coach Chris Miller says his team committed seven mental errors in the game’s first 10 plays. “We just caved in and made mental error after mental error. There’s got to be an accountability factor,” Miller said.

South Eugene fumbled the ball twice, threw an interception and had a punt blocked, all of which led to Sheldon scores. A point of improvement is offensive blocking, Miller said, and it will continue to be an issue when South Medford comes to South Eugene Friday. The Panthers are 0-3 and 0-1, but Miller says they’ve played tougher opponents than South Eugene. “They’re a physical team and run old-school stuff, so we’ll need stop the running game,” Miller said. “Defensively, they like to bring pressure.”

The Axemen offensive line provided little protection for quarterback Ray Roundtree against Sheldon. Miller says he’s working to find the right combination of players on the line that he can count on for the remainder of the season. Finding the right center is a big part of this issue. Miller says three different players are vying for the position. “We go as the center goes. When you snap the ball on the ground or over your quarterback’s head, it just ruins the play,” Miller said. “You get to where you look like a circus. You’re in recovery mode, and it’s really just a waste of a down. In week four, you’d like to think you’re beyond that.”

“Hopefully, the team can get stronger as we go.”

Other Notable Performances

Sheldon quarterback Joseph Kuehn had a season-high in touchdown passes with four against South Eugene. In the first three games, Kuehn has thrown just one interception and six TDs. “Joseph played against (South Eugene) like he has all year…very steady,” Sheldon coach Lane Johnson said. OregonLive.com’s third-ranked 6A team, Sheldon (2-1, 1-0) heads to North Medford on Friday to play the Black Tornadoes (2-1, 1-0). “North Medford is much improved. (They have a) shifty QB, hard-running tailback and a solid offensive line,” Johnson said. “Their defense flies around and is very sound.”

Thurston Colts Football
Thurston quarterback Brendin Quinn drops back to pass against West Salem | (Courtesy of Tara Reaves)

In Springfield, Thurston is coming off its first win of the season and quarterback Brendin Quinn leads the Southwest Conference in passing with 878 yards in three games. Quinn had a season-best 337 yards passing in the Colts’s 38-35 win at South Medford. The Colts (1-2, 1-0) will play host to eighth-ranked Roseburg (3-0, 1-0).

From the Bleachers

It took me a moment to figure it out, but I quickly got why Sheldon’s bleachers looked like a casting call for Revenge of the Nerds when the Irish knocked around South Eugene, 49-7 last Friday. Sheldon and  South Eugene have this rivalry based on the idea that Sheldon High is all about jockdom and athletic achievement, while South Eugene is more concerned about academics than victories (Last season at South Eugene as the Axemen were again losing to the Irish, South Eugene students consoled themselves with cheers of: “G-P-A! G-P-A!”). Ok, we get it: school priorities appear to differ. At least that would be the easy black and white assumption. It’s all fun and games on Friday night, but here’s hoping for balancing football acumen and classroom excellence.

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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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High School Football Preview: Mehl, Churchill Lancers Accept 2013 Challenge

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Difficult as it might be to lose a highly talented offensive player, Darrell Mehl has had to move on. You could say the Churchill High School head football coach has reached the fifth stage of grief: acceptance. It was about two weeks ago that Mehl learned that his team would once again play on without running back Tyler Reid. As a junior in 2012, Reid tore through the Lancer’s first two opponents, scoring seven rushing touchdowns on 27 carries and 419 yards. But that was before he suffered a season-ending injury to his left knee after just eight carries in the second game. This summer while playing a 7-on-7 football game, Reid injured his other knee and will be out for his senior season. “It was a killer for us,” Mehl said. “We’re trying to move on. I’ve already done my crying and am trying to move on…We are going to run the same stuff without Tyler as we would with him. Obviously, we would be a little more explosive with him than without him.”

Churchill head football coach Darrell Mehl
Churchill head football coach Darrell Mehl

A year ago, the Lancers went on to finish 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the 5A Midwestern League. Without Reid, who Mehl said was offered preferred walk-on status at Oregon, Mehl must find a way to adjust with the players he has. And while he says this team may not have the amount of talent last year’s group had, Mehl likes what he sees. “Nobody expects us to do anything, certainly without Tyler,” he said. “We might not, but yet, we might surprise some people.”

The Lancers return 14 players who started last season at one time or another and 17 with varsity experience. Mehl said his team lost 23 seniors from last year. “We’re young (and) inexperienced, but we are a serious try-hard team,” he said. “This is one of the best practicing teams since I’ve been here. They work hard, are smart, and do a good job of flying around. Whether that translates into wins, who knows.”

Last year, Churchill turned to several running backs to compensate for the loss of Reid. The one returning player with significant experience at the position is tailback J.C. Moran. One of eight juniors on the team this year, Moran is back after finishing 2012 with four touchdowns on 104 carries and 439 yards. Senior Mike Monroy ran the ball 31 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns, but he will play inside receiver. In that position, Monroy caught 27 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns last year.

Churchill High football players practice in preparation for the 2013 season opener. (David Saez/EDN)
Churchill High football players practice in preparation for the 2013 season opener. (David Saez/EDN)

At quarterback, Mehl will use two players to manage the team’s read-option offense: senior Brenden Nesbitt and sophomore Justin Kearney. Both saw limited action last year behind  senior Mitch Reese, who threw for nearly 2,000 yards. Combined, they completed 2-of-5 passes for five yards. “(Nesbitt) is knowledgeable, throws the ball a little bit better and has a grasp of what we’re doing,” Mehl said. “(Kearney) is faster and athletic, but not as strong. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t play them both all year.”

Nesbitt and Kearney will target two particular wide receivers on the deeper passes, senior Spenser Schmidt and sophomore Junior Perez. Both are fast and tall, Schmidt is 6-foot-1 and Perez is 6-feet. “Those two outside guys are going to be our explosive-type players,” Mehl said. “Both are going to be good and can go the distance.”

Other returning players with experience as starters include offensive linemen junior Zach Bernardo and seniors Daulton Hankins, Josh Higashi, Mitch Hindrum, and Wyatt Imhoff.

Defensively, Churchill is lead by senior linebacker Trevor Johnson, second in tackles last year with 69 total and 36 solo, and senior defensive lineman Darren Kime, who had 37 tackles in eight games, and senior safety Alex Perez, who had nine tackles. Johnson, Monroy, Nesbitt and Hindrum make up the Lancers’ linebacker corp. “We have a nucleus of linebackers that are experienced and then we have athletic guys in the defensive backfield,” Mehl said. “We’re going to be fast and all of us will run to the football. Hopefully, we’ll have success that way on defense.”

Churchill High head football coach Darrell Mehl watches on as  players run defensive drill. (David Saez/EDN)
Churchill High head football coach Darrell Mehl watches on as players run defensive drill. (David Saez/EDN)

“This group is playing hard like I want them to, and that excites me,” Mehl said. “But with all of our youth and inexperience, we are going to make a ton of mistakes. Hopefully those mistakes don’t cost us ball games…It will be interesting. I feel like if we don’t get hammered by a few (teams) early, lose our confidence, I think we’re going to be OK. I think we might be fragile. If (players) stop practicing as hard as they can, that will be a great disappointment. But I kind of have high hopes that these guys will get it done.”

Assistant coaches: Aaron Steigeler (offensive coordinator); Todd Kaanapu (offensive line); Don Bell (running backs); Gabriel LeMay (wide receivers); Les Duman (defensive line); Keith Lewis (safeties); and Aaron Crawford (cornerbacks).

Churchill Lancers 2013 Football Schedule:

  • 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

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High School Football Preview: Chris Miller’s Task at South Eugene

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Certainly he wants them to win games. It’s foremost in the minds of all Oregon high school football coaches who opened the first week of two-a-day practices this Monday. But as Chris Miller embarks on his second time as the head football coach at South Eugene High School, the former NFL and Oregon quarterback recognizes several factors need to be established at a school that’s won one game in three years before anyone can concern themselves with victories. Miller describes his two simple goals for his players: “One is to learn how to compete…They haven’t been pushed. The bar hasn’t been set really high. We’re setting that bar high. And, two, is to earn respect. These kids were laughed at. These kids were made fun of. When people look at their schedule, they think, ‘Oh, here’s South. Here’s an easy one. We’ll kill them.’ So I want these kids to earn respect so when they walk around these hallways or around town and someone sees them wearing a South Eugene football shirt, people think, ‘Oh, South Eugene. Those guys are playing tough over there.'”

South Eugene's new head football coach is Chris Miller, the former Oregon Duck coached the Axemen from 2002 to 2006. (David Saez/EDN)
South Eugene’s new head football coach is Chris Miller, the former Oregon Duck coached the Axemen from 2002 to 2006. (David Saez/EDN)

Miller coached the South Eugene Axemen for three years, from 2002-2006. After a rough1-8 first season, his teams finished 30-13 and made the playoffs in four of the five years. The respect for Axemen football has collapsed over the last three years. In 2012, South Eugene lost all 10 games, with only two close scores, a 48-42 loss to Willamette and a 28-21 defeat by Thurston. The team’s last win on the field came in 2010 (although they won a game by forfeit in 2011).

Entering his 11th year as a coach, Miller returns to South Eugene after working three years as the quarterback coach for the Arizona Cardinals. His team returns 10 returning starters. On offense, five starting players return from last year: Michael Bennett (junior, offensive lineman), Liam Duncan (jr., quarterback), Thayne Kollmorgen (sr., wide receiver), Quinton Richardson (senior, offensive lineman), and Conner Still (sr., tight end). Defensively, five starters are back: CJ Hodgson (sr., safety), Michael Selvan (sr., safety), Bennett (defensive line), Still (defensive line and linebacker),  and Richardson (defensive line).

Chris Miller
Chris Miller

“We’re going to run everything on offense,” Miller said. “We’re going to run whatever fits. One thing about me is I’ve seen about every play run imaginable known to man because in the NFL you can access every single play (digitally). So there’s no secrets. I have a got a big grab bag of plays we can draw from, and I’m going to run what fits our personnel and our kids. Some people are locked into schemes. There are numerous schemes that fit our personnel, and that’s yet to be determined.”

The transition to a new coach includes new coaches. Miller has brought with him a crew of former players and coaches to his locker room. New to the team are former Oregon Duck and NFL running back Dino Philyaw (assistant head coach in charge of running backs); former Churchill defensive coordinator and Portland State football and basketball player Kevin Leonard (assistant head coach/defensive coordinator); former South Eugene High and Southern Oregon University player Alex Morrison (offensive line coach and assistant defensive line coach); and former South Eugene High receiver and cornerback Logan Beal (wide receiver and defensive back coach/strength and conditioning. Miller retained three coaches from last year’s team: Sean Emrick (assistant coach – quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers); Don Oakerson (defensive line coach); and Karsten Tindal (assistant coach – offensive and defensive lines).

The coaches are working with about 75 players this year, compared to the 52 to 54 who turned out last year. Miller characterizes his team as green to football and the culture he’s attempting to foster. “The culture around here has been trying hard and being close is OK,” he said. “…Football’s a game you just can’t go through the motions. Guys have to love it. That’s the number one thing we’re trying to instill in these kids. This is a special game. This is a game about life lessons. It’s a game about family, having your brother’s back. These guys haven’t been taught. They don’t know that. Not everyone’s going to love the game at the same level. But, still, how you play football and how you compete translates directly to the classroom here at South, translates directly to life, when you go to college. When you get out of college, 50 percent of college graduates can’t find a job. You better go out there and be special and find a way to compete so you can find work.”

South Eugene Axemen running backs prepare for the 2013 season. (David Saez/EDN)
South Eugene Axemen running backs prepare for the 2013 season. (David Saez/EDN)

There will be much work to be done. His initial focus with his players has been the fundamentals. The coaches have stressed basics, things like knowing where to line up, knowing that, as a receiver or tight end, you go when the ball moves and not on the snap count. Miller said he and his staff have assumed the players knew nothing and have been teaching everything. “They’re eager, they’re anxious,” Miller said. “They want to learn…They’re working hard. We have some bullets in the gun. We have some weapons. We’re not going to be shooting blanks.

As a team in the 6A Southwest Conference, the Axemen will have their share of challenges, including defending 6A state champion Sheldon. Miller is a 1983 graduate of Sheldon and was drafted in the first round by the Atlanta Falcons in 1987. He played 10 years in the NFL with the Falcons, St. Louis Rams and Denver Broncos before being named to the 2004 Class of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. This year, though, he begins a second attempt at reviving South Eugene football. And while competing and earning respect are the main targets for this group, winning isn’t too far behind. “Win our first game. That’s our third goal,” Miller said. “(South Eugene’s) won one game in three years, so if we win one, were off to a good start.”

South Eugene Football Schedule (games start at 7 p.m.):

  • Aug. 30 – Churchill
  • Sept. 6 – at Willamette
  • Sept. 13 – at Sheldon
  • Sept. 20 – South Medford
  • Sept. 27 – at Roseburg
  • Oct. 4 – Grants Pass
  • Oct. 11 – at North Medford
  • Oct. 18 – Crater
  • Oct. 25 – at Thrust

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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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Local Sports, Local Stories and Tim Tebow

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Tim Tebow (wearing orange #15 jersey) and fellow teammates gather to start training camp in 2010, his rookie season.
Tim Tebow (wearing orange #15 jersey) and fellow teammates gather to start training camp in 2010, his rookie season.

I hate to admit it, but, in a way, my fascination with sports comes down to Tim Tebow. It’s always Tim Tebow, even when you don’t want it to be. And that’s coming from a Denver Broncos fan who struggled to watch the Tebow quarterback the Broncos into the 2011 playoffs. It’s also coming from a guy who lived in Tallahassee, Florida, ground zero for Tebow dislike, save the many UF fans who made Florida’s state capital their home. I just wasn’t a fan of Tebow as a quarterback on my favorite NFL team.

But it is exactly the last-minute, come-from behind nature of the wins that Tebow orchestrated as a Bronco in 2011 that has always captivated me as a sports fan. It’s what kept me coming back to the Tebow-led Broncos. And, as I think about it today, it’s that kind of emotional enticement that brought me to the sports pages of the Minneapolis Star Tribune in the late 1980s when then Broncos quarterback John Elway was driving Denver into the playoffs and the Super Bowl with end-of-the-game heroics.

Tim Tebow throws a pass during training camp in 2010, his rookie season. (David Saez/EDN)
Tim Tebow throws a pass during training camp in 2010, his rookie season. (David Saez/EDN)

So there it is. As much as I acknowledged that I lacked faith in Tebow’s arm strength, I must also admit that the sports fan in me believed in the possibility of what he might do given the chance. That’s what sports do: give us a chance to see what’s possible. You just never know.

This is why many of us come to follow sports, no matter what the level – youth, high school, college or professional. And this is why I will come to you from this website on a regular basis. In the coming weeks, I will write about the youth baseball teams in our area and the forthcoming high school football season. While this community may be ruled by the Oregon Ducks, the youth and high school athletes in our area merit coverage. My goal is to help EDN make that happen through regular feature stories and columns.

Tim Tebow (15) and Denver teammates run sprints during 2010 training camp. (David Saez/EDN)
Tim Tebow (15) and Denver teammates run sprints during 2010 training camp. (David Saez/EDN)

To make it work, I’ll need you. I’m hoping that this will be a conversation between us. I don’t want to speak into the wilderness of cyberspace only to hear an echo – or worse, nothing. I’m not the type that uses a bullhorn to get a point across. I love good stories, and they’re out there. And we can learn from them. Whether you agree or disagree with me, I am striving for your consideration, your thoughts, and your engagement. Let’s talk, and let’s learn about the people and events that make up the sports world around here. Let’s see what’s possible.

 

Tim Tebow drops back to pass during 2010 training camp his rookie season. (David Saez/EDN)
Tim Tebow drops back to pass during 2010 training camp his rookie season. (David Saez/EDN)

In recognition of Tim Tebow’s contribution to my enjoyment of sports, I give you these pictures taken during the second day of the 2010 Denver Bronc’s training camp at the Dove Valley Headquarters in Englewood, Colorado. This was Tebow’s first training camp. My wife, son and I stopped there during our moving trip from Tallahassee to Eugene. Pardon the quality of the pictures. Like I said, I’m a words and story guy. So come back and read. In the end, that’s all I can ask. I’ll always try to make it worth your while.

Tim Tebow walks out onto the practice fields at the Denver Bronco's training camp in 2010, his rookie year. (David Saez/EDN)
Tim Tebow walks out onto the practice fields at the Denver Bronco’s training camp in 2010, his rookie year. (David Saez/EDN)

 

Sheldon Crushes Roseburg, Advances to Playoff Quarterfinals

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Sheldon Vs Roseburg 2013 playoffs
It was that kind of night for Roseburg. Yadie Dunmore leaving Roseburgs season on the ground behind him.

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.

Sheldon vs Roseburg 2013 playoffs
Teran Reedy brings down Yaddie Dunmore. Image – Jon Morgan

“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.

Image Jon Morgan - 2013 OSAA Playoffs
Image Jon Morgan. #76 Zach Wyscaver (right), in pursuit of the nearly unstoppable Connor Strahm, suffered a severe blow to the head during a sack of Irish QB Taylor Alie that took him out of the game.

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.

Image Jon Morgan - 2013 OSAA Playoffs
Roseburgs Brendan Hopkins takes a header. QB Taylor Alie captained the Irish to a commanding lead early in the 1st half. Image Jon Morgan

“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 quarterback #14 Hayden Lent makes his first read as #23 Dalton Harding streaks up beside him for the dive option (Matthew Heuett/Eugene Daily News)

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.

Sheldon Routs Thurston to Secure Conference Title

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Sheldon #84 Nathan Starnes kicking off to begin the first quarter (Matthew Heuett/Eugene Daily News)

Headed into their game against an undefeated, conference rival Sheldon Irish (8-0, 6-0) team, the Thurston Colts (4-4,4-2) had a lot going in their favor. For one, there was the presumed advantage of playing on the natural surface of their home stadium. Grass fields can be a problem for teams, like the Irish, who are used to playing on the uniform footing of artificial turf.

The weather also seemed to be on their side as intermittent downpours saturated the ground, quickly turning the playing surface into a spongy, mud-slick expanse. Inclement conditions like those tend to favor a straight ahead, up-the-gut run game like Thurston’s over the sweeping end runs favored by Sheldon. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work in theory.

“We don’t play on grass very often,” said Sheldon head coach Lane Johnson after the game. “It was not a factor for our kids, which I’m proud of, and we played Sheldon football. It was fun.”

“It was strange playing on the grass,” said Sheldon QB Taylor Allie, “but once we adjusted we played very well.”

Sheldon #7 Ryan Fisher slaps a touchdown pass out of the hands of Thurston #33 Jack Miller in the third quarter (Matthew Heuett/Eugene Daily News)

Early on in Thurston’s 49-8 loss to undefeated conference rival Sheldon, the Colts appeared to have the makings of an upset on their hands. Following the opening kickoff, their defense forced the visiting Irish to turn the ball over on downs at their own 33, setting up Thurston’s offense in prime position to take a quick lead. Sheldon was able to get the ball right back on an interception by Connor Strahm, but the Colts’ defense held firm, stopping the visitors short of midfield and forcing a punt.

After that, things began to take a far more unpleasant turn for the home team. Four plays later, Sheldon’s special teams unit blocked a punt that was then recovered by DE Brett Nielsen for a touchdown. Thurston’s next possession, a promising 59-yard drive deep into enemy territory was undone on a fumble on a botched play fake that was recovered again by Nielsen. Soon the Irish were once again celebrating a touchdown, this time on a 55-yard Allie pass to Strahm, who caught the ball in double coverage, broke free of his would-be tacklers, and streaked across the goal line to put his team up, 14-0.

The Colts’ punt on their following possession was quickly followed up with yet another Allie touchdown pass, this time a 21-yard completion to WR Ivan Faulhaber up the seam. Faulhaber then extended the Irish lead to 28-0 by snagging an interception and returning it for a TD.

Thurston was able to respond with a balanced drive to Sheldon’s 3 yard line, where they assaulted the Irish defensive line with a heavy dose of old-fashioned battering ram runs up the middle until QB Chris Weick finally punched through into the end zone. The Colts then converted a successful 2 point conversion to close the gap to 28-8.

Unfortunately for them, that marked one of the few times in the entire game that the Colts were able to get within spitting distance of the Irish goal line. A big part of the problem was that Weick’s success moving the ball on keepers and scrambles was not matched by similar production through the air (0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 40.9% completion rate).

Thurston #15 Corey Weick throws a pass in the fourth quarter while Sheldon #18 Mike Ralston attempts to bat it down (Matthew Heuett/Eugene Daily News)

Not that Thurston just rolled over and let them win, as the Colts players kept up their aggressiveness on defense all game long. Sheldon’s high-powered offense had only been forced to punt a handful of times by their previous seven opponents combined, but Thurston forced them to punt 5 times. In the second half, the Irish scoring frenzy dropped off as the Colts’ defense succeeded in limiting them to a single TD in each of the last two quarters, a 22-yard reverse run by Dylan Lewis and a Ryan Fisher run from 18 yards out.

However, Thurston’s offense was unable to match the intensity of the team’s defensive unit. Of their seven possessions in the second half, three ended with punts, two with interceptions, one with a turnover on downs, and the last when the clock finally ran out in the fourth quarter.

“I thought we were going to play them a lot closer than [we did] today,” said Colts receiver Jack Miller afterwards. “We’ve played against these guys forever and it’s always been close. They came to play, and I think a lot of our team let their reputation come get us,” he continued, referring to Sheldon’s propensity for blowout wins.

Next week, the undefeated Sheldon Irish will play host to the Grants Pass Cavemen, while the 4-4 Thurston Colts will play a road game against the South Eugene Axemen. Both games begin at 7 PM on Friday the 26th.

Around 6A:

South Eugene: It’s been another long, painful season for South (0-8, 0-6). The Axemen have scored 111 points while allowing 378. Last night’s game? A 48-12 loss to Crater. They go for their last chance at a win next week against Thurston.

Around 5A:

Churchill: The Lancers (6-2, 4-2) bounced back from a blowout loss to get a blowout win. Marist destroyed CHS last week, but last night the Lancers bounced back with a 40-0 win over North Eugene. Churchill travels to Springfield for their regular season finale.

Marist: As is the usual this time of the year, the Spartans (7-1, 6-0) are in prime position for a deep playoff run. Marist beat Springfield 35-14 last night and play their final regular season game against North Eugene.

Springfield: The Millers (6-2, 5-1) have looked great in their wins, but pretty bad in their losses. After a 62-0 drubbing of North Eugene last week, South lost 35-14 to 5A Marist. They’ve also been an anomaly, going 2-2 at home and 4-0 on the road. They play Churchill next Friday to finish up the regular season.

North Eugene: The Highlanders (2-6, 2-4), after starting the season 2-2 have loss four straight games including the 40-0 nothing loss last night. Int their last four contests, they’ve given up 219 points (54.5 per game) and only scored six points (1.5 per game). Their final game is against Marist Friday night.

Willamette: The Wolverines (1-7, 0-6) have looked almost as bad as South Eugene this season. Willamette got their one and only win in week two against the Axemen, and have lost six straight including a 50-6 loss last night to Ashland.