It's football championship week

Five title games are scheduled for Saturday
Nov. 25, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

The annual close to the fall athletic season for high schools begins Saturday with five football state championship games set for Hillsboro Stadium and Summit High School in Bend.

Among the games, only one defending champion is involved, while three schools will be looking to win a title for the first time.

In Class 6A, both games will be played at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, with the two winners returning for the final the following week.



Sherwood is playing for the title for the fourth consecutive year, and won two of the previous three games, including last year. The Bowmen have given up just 19 points in three playoff wins.

West Albany won 5A titles in 2007-08 and is the second seed this year. Game time is 5:30 p.m. at Hillsboro Stadium.


A new champion - with vastly different backgrounds - will be crowned when the teams play at Hillsboro Stadium at 11 a.m.

Cottage Grove entered this year having not won a playoff game since 2006, and had not reached the semifinals since 1945. Its quarterfinal and semifinal wins were by a combined seven points.

Ridgeview of Redmond has been a school for just two years, having split off from Redmond last year. Its three playoff wins have been by an average of 22 points.


Nyssa is back in the final for the first time since 2006, when it capped a two-year run as champion. This year's squad beat defending champion Dayton in the semifinals.

Cascade Christian of Medford is in the final for the second consecutive year, having played in from the No. 3 seed. The title game is set for Summit High at 2:30 p.m.


Regis and Grant Union are schedule to battle for another title each at 11 a.m. at Summit High.

Regis is fifth overall in the state in terms of program victories with 57. Grant Union will play for its third title, with the first coming in 1943. It also won in 2008.


Top-seeded Lowell has scored 56, 60 and 66 points in its three wins and enters the final looking for its first title when it meets Imbler at Hillsboro Stadium at 2:15 p.m.

The Red Devils reached the playoffs in 1949, but hadn't been to a semifinal before last year.

Since the expansion to six classes, Imbler is one of the most successful schools in the state with 15 wins, including the 2008 title.




Jesuit blasts into semifinals

Crusaders score non-stop in 62-33 win over Lakeridge
Nov. 22, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

PORTLAND - The football machine at Jesuit High chewed up another opponent Friday night, and reached the semifinals of the OSAA Class 6A playoffs for the 16th time in front of a large, cold home crowd.

With Chase Morrison powering the ground game, Jesuit beat Lakeridge 62-33 in the playoff quarterfinals. The win advanced the program to the semifinals for the sixth straight year.

In the semis, the Crusaders will face the upstart Canby Cougars, who beat defending champion Sheldon in Eugene 24-17.

The loss ended a thriling season for the Pacers, who hadn't played into the quarterfinals since 1998, and hadn't reached the semifinals since 1994. The school won the state title in 1987.

In other 6A playoff games, Central Catholic beat Clackamas 42-7, and Tigard beat North Medford 42-0 to reach the semifinals for the second year in a row.



Ashland survives Roosevelt drive

The unbeaten Grizzlies stave off a late rally and reach the semifinals
Nov. 15, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

PORTLAND - A second-half defensive struggle nearly cost the Ashland Grizzlies their season Friday night when Roosevelt reached their 2 with under four minutes remaining. But, Southern Oregon's top Class 5A team pulled out three solid defensive plays and kept the Roughriders out of the end zone, preserving a 13-7 win.

Ashland got a pair of touchdown runs in the first half from quarterback Danial White and improved to 11-0, and reached the semifinal round for the first time since 1998. The win was the 40th playoff victory for the school's program, which has won three state titles.

Next up, the Grizzlies will play top-ranked Sherwood, which beat Crescent Valley 68-7 in its quarterfinal Friday.

Roosevelt, seeking only the third playoff win in school history, had its season end at 9-2.

Ashland put together two lengthy drives for touchdowns to build a 13-0 lead in the first half, and seemed to have the game under control when the Roughriders came from the lockerroom at halftime with junior quarterback Kimane Domena missing his pads. Domena suffered a separated left shoulder late in the first half.

In Domena's place, Roosevelt started senior receiver James Schell-Buchanan, who was unable to get the team moving with just runs. Then, they switched to 5-foot-9 sophomore Daniel Stauffer, who did his best impersonation of Johnny Manziel while driving the team to the 2 after the team's defense had forced a punt deep from Ashland territory. Stauffer started the drive on the Ashland 37, and produced three first downs, including a run on 4th and 9 to get to the Ashland 8.

After another run got the team to the 2, Roosevelt was hit with a motion penalthy and moved back to the 7. A short run and short pass left the Roughriders with 4th and goal from the 4. Stauffer again tried to turn a broken play into a historic win, but the Ashland defense pounced on him to get the ball back for its offense, which ran out the clock.



Jesuit 21, Lake Oswego 19

Lakeridge 28, Southridge 20

Canby 31, Beaverton 7

Sheldon 45, Tualatin 21

Central Catholic 62, McNary 7

Clackamas 55, Glencoe 21

North Medford 14, Oregon City 9

Tigard 62, Grants Pass 3


Sherwood 68, Crescent Valley 7

Ashland 13, Roosevelt 7

Silverton 35, Springfield 3

West Albany 51, Dallas 6


Gladstone at Philomath, Sat. 1 p.m.

Ridgeview 28, Henley 21

North Bend 21, Scappoose 20

Cottage Grove 42, Central 38


Dayton 20, Blanchet Catholic 7

Nyssa at Santiam Christian, Sat. noon

Rainier at Cascade Christian, Sat. 1 p.m.

Vale at Harrisburg, Sat. 1 p.m.


Portland Christian 21, Knappa 7

Gold Beach at Grant Union, Sat. 1 p.m.

Monroe at Heppner, Sat. 1 p.m.

Regis 44, Oakland 19


Lowell 60, St. Paul 22

Adrian at Camas Valley, Sat. 1 p.m.

Triad at Imbler, Sat. 1 p.m.

Triangle Lake 40, Dufur 30


It's another year to wait for Parkrose

The Broncos get a taste of a playoff win, but fall to Churchill 34-21
Nov. 1, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

The script for the Parkrose High football program could not have been more perfect for Hollywood Friday night.

With its season in the balance, the Broncos forced a fumble and took over at their 1-yard-line, with 2:49 left in the game and back-up quarterback Marques Brown under center.

Trailing by just six points, 27-21, the team just needed 99 yards and an extra point to pull off a historic win.

It took just two plays for the drama to fade. After a two-yard run, Brown fumbled the snap and then fumbled while trying to gain precious yards. Churchill took over at the 3 and went up 34-21 on a 1-yard run by sophomore Justin Kearney.

The win moved the Lancers to the second round of the Class 5A playoffs and was the program's 29th victory in 28 playoff appearances. Churchill's players can still dream of winning the school's second state title.

With the loss, the Broncos remained winless in five playoff appearances, putting it in a tie with Cleveland as the only 0-5 playoff teams in Oregon.

Parkrose played the game without Jonathan Boland, who suffered an injury late in the season and was replaced by Brown. The Parkrose offense accounted for one score, but its defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns midway through the second quarter for a 21-14 halftime lead.

Churchill dominated the second half with a pair of scoring drives, but another ended with a missed field goal and one extra point attempt slipped just under the crossbar to set up the potential dramatic ending.

The Lancers were more than capable on defense, though, holding the Broncos to just one first down through the final two quarters.


Skyhawks get prepped for Jesuit

Southridge's defense does its part in 27-10 victory over Sunset
Oct. 4, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

The Southridge football program is finally back in a position to make history in a week when it heads to Jesuit and a field where it's never won a varsity game.

First, though, the Skyhawks had to take care of some game preparation in the form of the Sunset Apollos. And, they got what they needed.

Sunset, which lost to Jesuit 62-20 last week, trailed just 17-7 in the third quarter and had first and goal at the Skyhawks' 1. But, Southridge halted that drive there and it turned into a field goal. After a pair of possession changes, the Skyhawks fashioned a 64-yard touchdown drive and eventually won 27-10.

With the win, Southridge improved to 5-1 overall, 2-0 in Metro League play. Sunset fell to 4-2, 1-2.

Friday, Southridge plays at Jesuit looking to win on the Crusaders' home field for the first time.

Sunset did its part to help the Southridge cause.

"We knew they would play a very physical defense, and play hard for four quarters," Southridge coach Doug Dean said. "Winning a game like this, that helps build resilience in your team. That's a great thing to have."

Jesuit improved to 4-2, 2-0 with a 50-17 win over Westview Friday, and is rated No. 1 by the OSAA.

Entering their game at Jesuit, the Skyhawks have an emotional edge that stems from the senior class having beaten Jesuit's senior class the past three seasons - as freshmen, and sophomores on the junior varsity, then varsity level last year as juniors. Southridge has won the varsity game the past two seasons.

This year's game is at Jesuit, though, and Southridge has not won there since the Beaverton School District opened it in 1999.



Jesuit gets Fall sports rolling

Chase Morrison leads the Crusaders to 28-21 win over perennial finalist
Aug. 30, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

PORTLAND - In an early-season playoff atmosphere, Jesuit beat Lake Oswego 28-21 during opening night of the high school football season Friday on the Crusaders' Cronin Field.

Junior back Chase Morrison ran for 218 yards and a pair of second-half scores to lead Jesuit, which has been picked by Metro League coaches to win the league, and, thus, be a major contender for the state title.

Morrison, who also plays defensive back, scored both touchdowns in the second half after the Crusaders had stopped the Lakers on fourth down at their own goal line. Morrison capped the ensuing 99-yard drive with a 2-yard plunge with 4:02 left in the third quarter for a 21-14 lead. In the fourth quarter, he capped a 42-yard drive with a 1-yard run for a 28-14 lead.

Lake Oswego rallied to 28-21 on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell Verberg to Charlie Callen with 5:40 left, but could not get the ball back. The Lakers had possession just four times in the second half, and two off those lasted just three plays.

"It's great to get the season going, finally," Morrison said. "We've been waiting all summer for this."

Jesuit has won four state titles, including back-to-back in 2005-06. The school has reached the semifinals or final the past four seasons without a title.

Lake Oswego won the state title in 2011, and lost to Sheldon in the final last year.

In other key Class 6A games Friday, Central Catholic beat Grant 55-14, Roseburg beat South Salem 47-21 and Sheldon beat Southridge - the No. 2 pick in the Metro League, 35-15 on the road.



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Sheldon finally gets over LO hurdle

Irish edge the Lakers 13-6 in defensive showdown for 6A football title
Dec. 8, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

After two season of misery at the hands and feet of the Lake Oswego Lakers, the Sheldon Irish got some vengeance at the best possible time - with the state championship on the line.

With a pair of field goals by kicker Nathan Starnes providing the scoring difference, Sheldon avenged last season's loss in the title game with a 13-6 victory at Jeld-Wen Field Saturday afternoon.

Sheldon's defense stymied the Lake Oswego offense throughout the game other than a 12-yard scoring drive set-up by a fumble that gave the Lakers a 6-3 lead when the point-after was blocked. Sheldon responded with a 75-yard scoring drive of its own to take a 10-6 lead when Connor Strahm ran in from a yard out and Starnes hit the extra point.

Starnes added another kick just moments later and the Irish held on defense - ending the game with five turnovers - for the schools fourth title since 2002.

Sheldon finished 14-0, while Lake Oswego finished 13-1.

The Irish have lost just twice in the past to seasons - both to Lake Oswego in the playoffs.

"They ended our season im misery the last two seasons, so it's nice to get back at them this year," Sheldon junior Tanner Davis said. 

Both teams moved the ball offensively, but with only the one sustained drive for a touchdown. Starnes' field goals were from 27 and 26 yards, and he missed another short kick that would have made the score 16-6 late in the fourth quarter.

The Irish picked off Lake Oswego quarterback Justen Ruppe four times and held the team to 3 of 10 on third down, and only 1 of 3 on fourth downs.

Sheldon finished with 243 yards of offense on 59 plays, while Lake Oswego had 269 yards on 55 plays.

With only six penalties to slow the game, it lasted just two hours, 19 mninutes, which included stoppages for television breaks.


State heads for football title games

Road wins highlight weekend games; five championships on tap Saturday
Nov. 25, 2012

For a change, home teams didn't dominate one sports bracket Friday. In fact, the quarterfinals of the Class 6A playoffs were all won by road teams.

In an odd twist, Jesuit, Sheldon, Lake Oswego and Tigard all played and won on the road Friday to earn spots in the semifinals Saturday at Jeld-Wen Field.

The wins in Class 6A, though, were nothing compared to the upheaval that happened in Class 4A, where North Bend and Baker, who were seeded No. 3 and 4, respectively in their half of the 16-team playoff bracket, reached the title game - each after winning at least one road game, or in Baker's case, a three-overtime game. The teams, each at least four hours from Portland, will meet Saturday in the championship game at Hillsboro Stadium beginning at 1 p.m.

Saturday's games include five championship games and the two Class 6A semifinals, which involve traditional state contenders. Tigard and Lake Oswego, which won last year, play at noon, while Jesuit and Sheldon, which lost in the final a year ago, play at 4.

The Class 5A, 4A and 2A title games will be played at Hillsboro Stadium.

Following the Baker-North Bend final, Class 2A's Portland Christian and Oakland - both seeded third, will suit up for a 4:15 p.m. contest.

At 7:30 p.m. No. 1 Sherwood will take on second-seed Marist int he Class 5A final.



Lake Oswego moves into quarterfinals, 41-14

Lakers recover from early setback to cruise past South Medford
Nov. 16, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

No. 2 Lake Oswego's answer to an early fumble return for a touchdown was to get one of their own against South Medford and that helped the Lakers roll to a 41-14 win in the second round of the Class 6A football state playoffs Friday.

South Medford led 7-0 after Adrian Garcia scooped up a fumble from Jack Anderson and ran 45 yards for a touchdown. The Panthers stopped the Lakers on their next two drives and had the ball early in the second quarter and had the ball at their 38 when a fumbled handoff turned into a 14-yard loss, then a botched punt gave the hosts the ball at the South 31. Lake Oswego scored in five plays.

Two plays later, Nick Underwood broke into the South backfield and took the ball away from Christian Bowley and ran for a 22-yard score. The Lakers scored agin with 3:10 left in the first half giving them 20 points in just five minutes.

Justen Ruppe threw a pair of touchdown passes and JB Holmes ran for two as well for the Lakers, who advance to the quarterfinals to play West Salem, which upset Aloha Friday.

Jesuit, Central Catholic and Southridge, the remaining No. 1 seeds, all advanced to the quarterfinals Friday.


Playoff excitement builds for unbeaten Redmond

Panthers head for second season with renewed energy
Oct. 26, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning,

After years of laboring in the depths of Class 6A, the Redmond Panthers are finally in the state playoffs - never mind that it's at Class 5A.

The Panthers finished the season unbeaten with a 44-16 win at Roosevelt and head to the playoffs as one of the contenders to win a state title, which would be the first for a school that has been to the playoff semifinals just once and hasn't been to the playoffs at all in the past five seasons.

Trevor Genz scored on a 6-yard run and returned an interception 35 yards for a score to lead the Panthers, who led 28-14 at the half. Redmond's defense recorded a safety, three interceptions and kept the Roughriders from scoring after they had first-and-goal on two separate possessions in the second half.

For the seniors, who've been 3-6 the past two seasons, there's a tremendous sense of excitement at what might happen after a week off, especially after winning the Intermountain Conference title.

"This is my last year, so we have to make it worth it," senior linebacker Jason Abbas said. "We don't look at it any different from being 6A or 5A, we're just a better team this year."

After the city built another school - Ridgeview, which siphoned off many of its students, Redmond dropped down a classification and away from having to play larger schools. Ridgeview opened as a Class 4A school. What helped many of the players equally was the introduction of Nathan Stanley as head coach during the summer. Stanley had been coaching the wrestling team, but stepped down from that position to coach football along with his duties as athletic director.

With Genz, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound fullback, and Trevor Hindman, a 5-9, 165-pound running back, powering the running game, the Panthers averaged 42 points a game, and beat all of its opponents but one by at least two scores.

The team's defense carried it equally, allowing an average of just 15 points per game.

With a 9-0 record, the Panthers get a week off, before the play-in round leads to the creation of the 16-team bracket and a home game, Nov. 9.

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