Fall sports begins with wave of potential

Benson football is among list of teams with fresh hopes of success
Aug. 6, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning,

The opening day of practice for high school athletic teams brought about an unusual situation at Benson High Monday afternoon. Anthony Stoudamire, the school's new football coach, caught some of his players sneaking a water break, and he set about letting the team know that wouldn't be tolerated.

First, they did extra running. Then, he hit them with the lowdown on sneaking water.

"When one of us drinks, we all drink," Stoudamire told his team firmly. "The coaches know how important water is to keep you hydrated, and we give you plenty of water breaks, so you don't need to be sneaking water. That's part of becoming a better player, playing through being thirsty.

"What are you going to do when we're driving, when we're at the three-yard-line and you get thirsty? Are you going to come out and let someone else play, or keep playing?"

Stoudamire closed practice with a sweat-soaked group of two dozen players thirsting for success - the kind he experienced at Jefferson while the Techmen struggled to win sometimes one game during a season.

"I'm hoping for more than two wins," said junior Taylor Anderson. "We had one win two years ago and two last year. It would be great to get three wins, but we're shooting (to win) the PIL."

Stoudamire led Jefferson to the Portland Interscholastic League title at the Class 5A level four times in the past six years and won at least one playoff game in five of those seasons. In 2009, he guided the Democrats to the state title game before a loss to Hillsboro. In spring, Stoudamire was fired by Jefferson, but returned to coaching at a rival school and took most of his assistant coaches with him.

Jefferson then hired former University of Oregon standout Aaron Gipson, who will be a head coach for the first time.

"I'm having a good time here," Stoudamire said. "There's good support, we've got a nice field to practice on and the kids have been great.

"There's a lot of things we can do with the orange and blue that I couldn't do with blue and gold."

Benson's program has stalled since the departure of coach Bill Dressel in 1997. Stoudamire is the program's fifth coach since Dressel retired. Even under Dressel, the program was on the way to struggling to keep up with larger, better-funded programs. Benson hasn't won a playoff game since 1990, two years after it won the state title - the last time a PIL school won such an honor in football.

Of the league's seven Class 5A schools, only Jefferson has won a playoff game in the past decade.

Playoff success isn't the only place the PIL is struggling. Last season, the league's six 5A teams won just two non-league games - both against Parkrose. In the OSAA rankings that lead to playoff seeding, PIL teams took up the bottom five spots within the 37 Class 5A schools. Only Jefferson, which lost its three non-league games, was in the top 21 because its losses were to quality opponents: No. 5 Bend, No. 7 Corvallis and No. 13 Crescent Valley.

This season, of the seven PIL schools, only Franklin has a non-league game scheduled against a team ranked higher than No. 15 from last season - Sept. 21, at Bend.

Benson begins its season Aug. 31 at Dallas (No. 26 from 2011), then plays at The Dalles-Wahtonka (No. 31), and plays host to Banks, a Class 4A school, in its home opener, Sept. 14.

"We know it takes time to build a winner," Stoudamire said. "But, the kids don't want to hear that. They want to hear about how we can win this year, that's why we push them like we do."

Other PIL openers on Aug. 31, include:

Madison at The Dalles-Wahtonka

Roosevelt at Scappoose

Parkrose at Franklin

Woodburn at Jefferson

Gresham at Wilson

Cleveland at St. Helens




Can anyone save Parkrose football?

It's been 15 years since it's won a district game, but that may change
Sept. 31, 2007 / By Cliff Pfenning,

PORTLAND - Excitement filled the air when the Glencoe football team visited Parkrose for the Class 5A Northwest Oregon Conference opener for both teams, Sept. 21.

And when junior Nick Magrone caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from senior Theron Segar with 3:02 left in the first half, the home crowd of around 400 sprang to life.

The scoreboard flashed, the marching band played, the Broncos laid some skin on each other. A passing train sounded its horn in synch with the celebration and School Board Chair James Woods hammered out 20 push-ups as he had promised to do after every Parkrose score.

Everyone easily overlooked the score, 41-6, and focused on the positive of the play - the Broncos scored, so there wouldn't be a shutout on this day.
In fact, Parkrose scored again later in the game to make the final 69-14.

But, the game had been decided long before Parkrose scored either of its touchdowns. In fact, it's not difficult to think every game the Broncos play in their eight-team league will have already been decided before the season begins - and for a long time.

The loss to Glencoe and Friday's 60-8 thrashing at Wilsonville ran the Parkrose losing streak in district game to 82 straight. The Broncos haven't won a league or conference game - the games that count toward making the state playoffs - since 1992.

That's 73 straight in the Mount Hood Conference and the last nine games in the NOC.

This year, the Broncos (0-4) have been outscored 228-40 and they still have five games left against schools from the West side of the Willamette River.
By season's end, the streak will likely be 87 with no end in sight.

"This is a tough place to coach," says Parkrose head coach Mitch Neilson, who's in his third year. "I think about quitting, about moving on all the time, but then I think about the kids and how they don't quit and I keep going.

"But, it's very tough here."

It's not such a tough challenge that it can't be tackled, and Woods and new superintendent Karen Gray are hoping to create a plan that boosts the entire athletic program. Woods, an economics professor at Portland State, is intent on finding a way to get the football program, specifically, to be more competitive and for a simple reason: money.

"Football is what gets press," Woods said after the Glencoe loss. "We've got a great dance team, great drama, a great girls water polo team, but they never show up in the paper.

"Football is where the action is and we have to do a better job on the field to get people's attention because we've got things we need here. Our schools are bursting at the seams and if we're going to get a bond measure passed in the near future, we've got to be able to show that we can make things work, like the football team."

The market for athletic achievement
Gray, who moved from Coos Bay's Marshfield High in summer, says her first mission in the district is simple: raise academic achievement.

Being on the job for only three months, she's yet to fully delve into how Parkrose and athletic achievement fit together although coming from Marshfield she's fully aware of the value of a strong athletic program.

"I know it's very important to the community," Gray says. "It's a source of pride, a source of confidence for student athletes and a sign of community support."

Gray says she's focused on the positive aspects of Parkrose athletics and likes what she sees. The girls water polo program won the state title at Class 5A last fall, the boys soccer program has enough players to field varsity, JV and JVII teams and even the football team gives her hope.

"There's very passionate players on that team," Gray says. "You can see it throughout the game, they love football. There just aren't enough of them."

To address the athletic program's issues, Gray is taking a group from the district - high school principal Roy Reynolds, athletic director Sanjay Bedi, Woods and another board member, to Coos Bay, Oct. 19, to meet with staff from Marshfield, including football coach Kent Wigle, who recently became only the second coach in Oregon to win 300 games.

Gray says Marshfield is a good program to examine because its challenges are greater than those of Parkrose.

"Marshfield is a smaller school than Parkrose, has less money for athletics than we do, they're further away from their league games," Gray says, "but they manage to be very successful year after year. That's something we're going to look into and study."

Woods, who's been school board chairman for just two months, says he's all for the trip to Marshfield because it'll give leaders in the district a chance to put their heads together and generate a uniform plan.

"We all need to get on the same page and address what's going on here," Woods says. "That's going to be a key element in moving forward."

At Parkrose, the first sport to address is football.

Like throwing gas on a fire
By the time Magrone caught his pass in the end zone, Glencoe had pulled many of its starters on defense as the score might have truly gotten out of hand without that move.

Parkrose absolutely self-destructed to open the game. Its first three possessions all lasted two plays and ended with turnovers. Glencoe returned the third turnover, a fumble, 10 yards for a 21-0 lead. At that point, Glencoe's offense had run just eight plays.

And, it got worse.

After a punt, Glencoe scored on one play. Parkrose fumbled away its next possession on third down and Glencoe again scored on one play to make the score 34-0 with 5:23 still left in the first quarter.

And, it got worse.

On the ensuing kickoff, a muffed return left the Broncos with first-and-10 from their own 2. They punted again, although that ended up being something of a victory in that they didn't allow a safety or touchdown or turn the ball over.

When the first quarter finally ended, Parkrose had minus-8 yards of total offense and four turnovers. Glencoe had run just 15 plays, but rolled up 171 total yards.

Glencoe closed the game by inserting a 5-7 receiver at fullback and handing him the ball play after play so as to not run up the score even more.

Wilsonville, which is consistently ranked in the Class 5A top 10, scored on its first eight possessions and won 60-8. The Wildcats ran between the tackles, the plays most likely to be stopped, for the final three quarters so as not to run the score up more.

The 'W' in Parkrose football is silent
Parkrose has not been a football power for some time - its last playoff appearance came in 1982. The program stumbled along in the MHC against larger high schools for years, always winning a conference game against a program, Sandy, Barlow, even Central Catholic, in the rebuilding phase. Then, the wins stopped.

After beating Central Catholic 24-7 in the fourth game of the 1992 season, the Broncos lost several close games to finish at 2-7. In '93, they went 0-9, the closest score being 21-6 against Reynolds. In '94, they not only went 0-9, but were outscored 410-63.

Years of getting drilled on the scoreboard just screams "beware" to student-athletes. Why go out for football when you're only going to get slaughtered by better teams?
Against Glencoe, the Broncos suited up just 27 players, and two of those players were recruited from other sports that week.

"We get teased all the time in the hallways," senior Darius Strickland said after the Glencoe loss. "It's hard to take, especially when the guys saying it can play. They'd be helping us on the field if they just came out and suited up.

"I tell people all the time, 'why don't you stop whining and start playing?'"

"The verbal abuse these kids take in the hallways is incredible," Neilson says. "I really feel for them."

Having a small roster hurts the team in both games and practices, Strickland said, because practice is such an important part of team building.

"Practice is where you push each other to get better," said Strickland, who played at Jefferson as a junior. "Because we have so few players, and you don't want to get hurt, I know I don't try as hard as I should in practice. That shows up in games, but what else can you do?"

The challenge of recruiting players to a losing program takes a toll on coaches. Parkrose has had nine head coaches in the last 15 years, including two in one year.

Neilson says a key to his struggle as a coach is finding assistants who work at the school. He's the only coach, he says, who actually works at Parkrose, so he's the only recruiter in the hallways during the day, something better teams do not face.

"The district just hired 14 new teachers for the school and none of them are coaches, for any sport," Neilson says. "That's very tough to work the halls and develop your team when you only have one person doing it."

At a recent practice, the varsity team had just one coach - Neilson, present for 23 players. The freshman team, practicing nearby, had just one coach for 23 players.

To build up confidence and numbers, Parkrose has played an independent schedule - no district games - four times in the past 10 years. It almost worked in 2002.

Coming off a 5-4 season that included two victories by shutout during an independent schedule, the Broncos won their opening two non-league games and lost just 15-13 to Sandy in the sixth week of the season. The next week, Parkrose lost 28-20 to Barlow. Then reality set in.

A personnel issue caused coach Jon Taylor to resign during the 2003 season and athletic director Mike Bontemps finished the schedule as coach. The Broncos were outscored 366-40.

In 2004, with another new coach, they were outscored 457-41.

Reclassification last fall put Parkrose into a district with schools more its size, but those schools still field more established programs. It its first season at Class 5A, Parkrose got outscored 323-61 in seven NOC games.

In its home game with Glencoe, Woods - who openly promoted not knowing much about Parkrose football - promised to do 20 pushups every time the Crimson Tide scored until someone pulled him aside and suggested that might not be such a good idea. Woods would have done 200 that night.

The 'L' in Broncos is silent, too
Football isn't the only sport at Parkrose that struggles to win. Last year, none of the teams that compete in sports sanctioned by the Oregon School Activities Association reached the state playoffs (water polo is administered outside of the OSAA because so few schools have teams).

Most Parkrose teams struggled to simply win a conference game or match, although the school does have success at times. Parkrose fielded a successful baseball team in the spring of 2004, a team that included Eddie Kunz, who played for the two national championship teams at Oregon State and recently became a first-round draft pick of the New York Mets.

Tyrell Fortune won the title at 215 pounds as a junior during the state wrestling meet last year. He played football, too.

The school dance program is strong as are activities such as band, cheerleading, dance - activities that do not involve contact with an opponent.

But, the success stories are few and far between and luck hasn't been on the school's side. The 2004 baseball team lost by one run in the second round of the state playoffs and Fortune moved to Lake Oswego in summer and plays for Lakeridge.

This fall, only one team, volleyball, has won a league match or game. According to rosters submitted to the league web site,, there are just 28 seniors, a key element to success in most programs, even playing an OSAA sport at the school, although overall participation, both Gray and Bedi say, is rising.

Bedi says being competitive and winning are key issues the school knows it needs to address.

"As much as you want to say that winning isn't important, it's what people see first," he says. "We're going to have to rebuild the character of the kids in terms of learning how to win."

Gray says she's working the community through e-mails of school success stories, including those in the athletic program whether they involve victories or not.

"I've gotten great responses from those e-mails," Gray says. "People love hearing little success stories."

With a new superintendent and school board chair, the timing seems ripe for Parkrose to address its athletic woes. But, that brings the Parkrose story to a very key issue - is the school and its community actually up to the task of winning?
Success is in the details
With the game in hand early, Glencoe subbed in a bunch of reserves, who enjoyed some extended playing time, although one player stood out, especially on defense  - No. 7, Luke Minnick.

Minnick, a 5-foot-10 junior and an emergency starter on offense at receiver, surrounded the ball on defense. He made numerous solo tackles and even forced a fumble. Asked why he tried so hard in a game that had long been decided, Minnick had a simple response: he wanted to get noticed.

"I want more playing time," Minnick said afterward, "and you have to make plays, do things to get noticed by the coaches to earn that."

It worked.

"In the second half, I turned to an assistant and told him 'No. 7 is everywhere,'" Glencoe coach Tim Duvall said. "We're going to have to re-examine how much time Luke is getting on the field."

At Glencoe, administrators might easily point to Minnick's play as a program success because that kind of drive can be transferred to the classroom and work place.

Parkrose can point to its fourth quarter scores - it's beating opponents 34-19 in the fourth quarter, but the Broncos have only scored one touchdown in the first half of their four games. The Broncos don't give up, but they aren't competitive.

Many small details don't work in Parkrose's favor, either. For starters, the Parkrose roster contains names, jersey numbers, positions and grades for its players. The rosters for all the other teams in the conference also contain a player's height and weight.

Last year at the district cross country meet, all of the runners were identified by their name, school and grade, except Parkrose. It happened at the district swim meet, too, although Century of Hillsboro also didn't submit its athletes grades. Century finished last in both the boys and girls meets. Parkrose placed fifth in boys and sixth in girls.

It would be easy to point a finger toward Bedi, in his fourth year as athletic director, in regards to the details, but this is his first year just focusing on the AD position. In his first three years, he also taught classes, something done by few ADs at larger schools.

"I lobbied for quite a while to get to this point," Bedi said recently. "If we want to be more successful than we've been, we need a fulltime athletic director. So, that's a good sign that we have that."

Bedi said he started meeting with team captains to help develop the athletic community within the student population as well as create more dialogue with athletes. The first meeting, he said, brought up some interesting conversations.

"The students said they would like it if more faculty showed up for games," Bedi said. "That's something we can work on."

Gray said she's had a meeting with captains from freshmen teams to get into their heads.

"The freshmen feel really good about what they're doing and they want to be successful all the way through high school," Gray said. "And, they've got great ideas. The football players want a system where the middle school teams use the same offense as the high school team, something we're definitely going to look into."

The freshmen also want an artificial turf field, something virtually every suburban school is installing.

The increased dialogue with student-athletes also shows how significant the challenge of becoming competitive is going to be for Parkrose. The seniors, for example, got into something akin to a union negotiation when they asked for more faculty attendance. Bedi told the seniors the faculty would ask for the same thing from their end.

"There's probably two or three players on any given team who skipped a class the day of a game, so that needs to be addressed," he said. "I'm not going to ask teachers to show up for games when students don't show up for class."

And, when the freshmen football players talked up developing the program into the middle schools, they showcased that 15-year-olds can figure out how to build a winning program. So, why isn't that on the drawing board already?

Although she wants to avoid going back in time by criticizing what's happened in the past, Gray says parents are asking the same question.

"I can see where people are coming from when they ask questions like this," she says. "It's a tough situation here and we're all just going to have to come together and figure out how to turn things around.

"I don't have a magic wand to erase what's happened or make Parkrose successful overnight. It's going to take a lot of hard work by a lot of people."

The vein to complain happens mainly elsewhere
At Wilsonville Friday, there were perhaps 30 parents and students supporting the Broncos, and half of them were associated with the cheerleading team. So, the football team, which suited up 23 players, brought along 15 fans.

Magrone's parents, Paul and D.J., have been with the program for several years as they had a son ahead of Nick play football as well. They're used to losing.

"It's really become kind of a culture at Parkrose," said Paul Magrone, the director of personnel for a contractor. "It's a culture of losing.

"I feel really sorry for the kids."

D.J. Magrone said that hurt feeling goes past the game, too.

"It's not just that they lose, but they've gotten used to losing," she said at halftime with the Broncos trailing 53-0. "They accept it. That breaks my heart when I think about that."

The Magrones have experience with other teams - JV basketball and varsity baseball. Neither team they followed with Nick on the roster won a district game last season. During the baseball season, the Broncos were outscored 63-2 in their first four conference games.

With Neilson having recently built a house in Scappoose and changes likely headed for athletics anyway, it's possible the football team with get its 10th head coach in 16 years by the fall. The Magrones have thoughts on that.

"If that happens, who are we going to get as coach?" Paul Magrone asked. "Who's going to want to come here?"

As he asked about the prospects of a new coach, Magrone's attention turned to a player getting ready to leave the facility. Curtis Lincoln, the senior running back, quit at halftime, called his sister and waited for her to arrive.

"That's not the first time we've seen a player do that," Paul Magrone said. "They've had enough and they leave."

"You can't fault them," D.J. Magrone said. "But, it's not any worse for the other kids than it is for them, so ... that's just how things work here."

The Magrones have thoughts on how to develop a winner, but those thoughts haven't been shoved into the district's mindset.

"No one likes losing, but what can we do about it?" Paul Magrone says. "I'd fuss and complain, but what's that going to do?"

"We still feel great about our son," D.J. Magrone says. "He gets up for each game, and tries to get the rest of the team up, too. And, he's a good student, so he's still succeeding. We're happy with him as a person."

Time for a cultural exchange
Both the girls basketball and softball teams had competitive seasons and even the boys basketball team, which only won one of 14 conference games, lost nine of those by eight points or less.

Overcoming the 'Culture of Losing' might even be a key to academic success, something schools with poor test scores are learning. There were at least 19 students, by one account, who signed up to play football, but were academically ineligible and have yet to become eligible. If the program had a winning or more competitive background, those students might have tried harder to regain their eligibility. Gray said eligibility issues are going to be an integral part of her rebuilding plan.

"We have to find a way to get those kids eligible," she said. "That's a benefit to them and to the athletic program."

Woods thinks a stronger athletic program will help develop more of a connection with area businesses, which is helpful to raise support for teams when they need things such as supplies or uniforms.

Despite the losing, there's some hope for the future. Administrators are meeting with students for input, the school has a full-time athletic director, overall participation is improving and the district has a new superintendent and school board chairman who both want to delve into the athletic program and its operations. They have a trip to a successful program scheduled for the near future so they're already actively addressing this issue.

And, there's the thought the school should be in a different district - the neighboring Portland Interscholastic League, which would reduce travel time to away games and likely increase the school's competitiveness immediately.

Will this be enough to boost the Parkrose varsity football team into the 'W' column of a district game?

Paul Magrone says there's support awaiting the high school from the surrounding community. But, with the track record the football program has developed, it would be easy to fall back into the black hole created by years of losing.

"We all want to win, but the school is going to have to come up with a plan, take the first step in telling us how it's going to happen," he says. "We all want to do a lot better, be a lot more competitive because we all know what it's like to lose, and we don't want to lose anymore."

Lake Oswego runs past Sheldon to first title

Steven Long's 4 touchdowns carries LO to a 47-14 win in Class 6A final
By Cliff Pfenning,

The long awaited state championship Lake Oswego athletes, coaches, parents, alumni and residents have sought in football finally arrived Saturday at Jeld-Wen Field.

Behind a dominating offensive line, slick-footed Steven Long ran for 322 yards and four touchdowns and the Lakers held Sheldon scoreless in the second half on the way to a 47-14 win in the OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires Class 6A state championship game before a raucous crowd of more than 6,000 fans.

Lake Oswego broke a 14-all tie with a 35-yard field goal with 12 seconds left in the first half and overwhelmed the Irish in the second half, 30-0, for the school's first title in its 61-year history.

No other school across the state had won as many playoff games - 40 - without winning a title. Saturday, the Lakers passed that statistic off to Canby and its 36 wins.

"I'm so proud of these kids and what we've been able to do this year," said coach Steve Coury, who's guided the program for 20 years. "I'm so happy that we're finally able to bring a title home to Lake Oswego and our great fans."

"This is an amazing feeling because of all the people who support us and we get to share this with them," Long said. "There's been so many great people who've been part of this program and now we all finally have a championship."

The Lakers, who finished 14-0, ground out 349 yards on the ground on 63 carries - 42 by Long - and amassed 490 total yards.

Sheldon, which finished 13-1, got a pair of scoring runs from Conor Strahm, but couldn't match the Lakers' energy on offense or defense. The Irish suffered only their second defeat in three seasons, both to Lake Oswego.

Saturday's game was the eighth time the teams have met in the playoffs in the past 10 seasons. Lake Oswego had won four of the previous seven but hadn't won a title, while Sheldon won the state championship three times.

The teams traded scores in the first half and were tied at 14 after Strahm scored on a 1-yard plunge with 2:26 left in the second quarter. A short kick-off gave the Lakers the ball at their 37 and they marched to the Sheldon 10 in just four plays, aided by a pair of personal foul penalties at the end of the first play, a 9-yard run by Long in which he was tackle by his face mask and then hit out of bounds. Sheldon's defense held, but the 35-yard field goal by Harrison Greenberg gave the team the lead and they received the opening kick of the second half.

Long scored on the third play of the second half with a dazzling 51-yard run and the Lakers followed that up with an interception by Jordan Horak and a 48-yard scoring drive capped by a 2-yard run from quarterback Alex Matthews to take a 31-14 lead.

"At haltime we knew were going to get the ball and that first possession was huge for us," Matthews said. "When we scored, we knew we just had to keep playing like we were and finish and we'd win."


Sheldon vs. Lake Oswego is one tough rivalry

The schools prepare for their eighth playoff meeting Saturday
By Cliff Pfenning,

It's not hard to view Sheldon and Lake Oswego as the top rivals in high school football today.

They don't play in the same league and almost never meet during the regular season, but the games they play carry the most weight because they're in the playoffs.

When the Irish and Lakers meet for the Class 6A state title Saturday at Jeld-Wen Field, it'll be the eighth time the teams have met in the playoffs in the past 10 years.

Starting with the 2002 title game, the teams have met in the playoffs every year but 2005 and '06, with one of the teams having their season end each time. The streak includes the past four seasons.

Lake Oswego owns a 4-3 edge in the series, but the Irish have had better luck in the decade by winning the state title each time it beat the Lakers in the playoffs.

If Sheldon wins Saturday, it'll be the fourth time it's beaten Lake Oswego and won the state title each year. It'll also be the second time in three years they've gone unbeaten.

Lake Oswego has yet to win a title.

Sheldon is 38-1 since losing to Lake Oswego in the quarterfinals of the 2008 playoffs. The one loss? Lake Oswego, 45-14, in the quarterfinals last year.

This season, the Irish scored 35 points or more in their first 12 games, a streak broken only by their 18-9 semifinal win over Central Catholic in the semifinals. The streak included a 52-37 win over state power Jesuit in the second week of the season.

The Lakers are also 13-0 and have two wins over Jesuit, including 21-13 in the semifinals.

Amazingly, both schools are in the playoffs for the 13th straight year, a streak that began for both teams in 1999. Both teams have won 33 playoff games heading into Saturday's game. Lake Oswego just has three more losses - 12. Only Jesuit has more playoff wins - 35 - in that time among Class 6A schools.






Late kick earns Santiam Christian 3A title

Eagles beat Dayton 31-28 on 47-yard field goal as time expires
By Cliff Pfenning,

The legs of Jeff Hendrix carried Santiam Christian to the Class 3A football state title Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium.

Hendrix, a 6-foot senior, ran for a pair of touchdowns and kicked a 47-yard field goal as time expired to give the Eagles a 31-28 victory over Dayton.

Hendrix, who also had a team-high six tackles and recovered a fumble, capped a six-play, 28-yard drive that took the final 1:02 of the game after the Pirates had rallied from a 28-14 deficit to tie the game.

"That's my first game-winning field goal and my career long," Hendrix said. "I knew it had a chance when I kicked it, but I didn't know it was good until they signaled it because it was right at the right goalpost.

"This is such a great feeling to win and then win like that."

Santiam Christian, which lost the title game to Rainier last season, finished at 14-1 and with its first football championship. Junior quarterback Grant Schroeder passed for 211 yards and ran for 43 yards and a touchdown to lead the Eagles.

Dayton finished 12-2. The Pirates got 178 yards and a score from senior AJ Hedgecock, who also returned an interception for a touchdown.

The game featured 31 points scored in the fourth quarter, which began with the teams tied at 14.


Dayton avenges loss, returns to title game

Pirates beat Rainier, Scio moves toward another title
By Cliff Pfenning,

Dayton returned to an OSAA football championship game after a nine-year absence with a 52-20 win over Rainier Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium.

The Pirates got three touchdowns and a field goal from senior AJ Hedgecock and three touchdown passes from junior Nate Bernards in a semifinal rematch with the Columbians, who won last year's battle 34-20 and went on to win the Class 3A state title over Santiam Christian.

Hedgecock also threw for a score as the Pirates gave themselves another shot at a state title.

Dayton (12-0) last played in the state final in 2002, when it beat Amity 45-20 for its sixth title under coach Dewey Sullivan.

Sullivan passed away during the 2006 football season after coaching the Pirates for 42 seasons. Sullivan holds the state record for wins at 352 and guided the Pirates to five state titles.

Dayton is in its first title game under second-year coach Gary Thorson.

Many of the core Dayton players also play for the school's basketball team, which lost in the state final the past two seasons.


Scio's ground game an opportunistic defense rolled past Weston-McEwen 46-8 and set up a rematch of last season's title game with Gold Beach, which beat Oakland 50-6.

The Loggers, who lost only to Dayton 28-6 in the first week of the season, gave up their first touchdown of the playoffs in the win.


Siuslaw's run of nine straight playoff appearances reached the state final with a 38-21 win over Central Saturday at Cottage Grove High School.

The Vikings, who won the 4A title in 2006 - the first year the state featured six classifications, got four touchdown runs from Sony Tupua in the win.



Home teams dominate weekend games

Tripleheaders highlight semifinal action
By Cliff Pfenning,

Home teams went 24-2 during the weekend to set up a powerhouse line-up of prep football quarterfinals and semifinals this weekend.

Among the games, Portland power Grant plays at Sheldon, Tigard plays at Jesuit and the top seeds in Class 5A through 1A will play in the semifinals in one of two doubleheaders or one of two tripleheaders set for Friday or Saturday.

Of the 14 teams seeded No. 1 in the six playoff brackets, only one has been upset on its home field.

The state finals for Class 5A through 1A are scheduled for Dec. 3, while the Class 6A final is set for Dec. 10.

Among the semifinalists, Sherwood, Rainier and Scio continued toward defending the championship they won last year.

Jesuit's 22-14 win over Tualatin Friday moved the Crusaders one step closer to winning a title the school needs to keep its 20-year streak of titles in at least one fall sport alive.

The tripleheaders set for Hillsboro Stadium or Cottage Grove Saturday feature one semifinal each from among Class 4A, 3A and 2A, while the Class 5A semifinals will be played at Willamette University Friday and the Class 1A semfinals will be played at Summit High School in Bend on Saturday.

The four Class 6A quarterfinals will be played at home sites: Sheldon, Jesuit, Roseburg and Jeld-Wen Field, where Central Catholic plays its home games.


CENTRAL CATHOLIC 48, Thurston 27
GRANT 41, Canby 14
JESUIT 22, Tualatin 14
LAKE OSWEGO 49, West Salem 28
OREGON CITY 28, David Douglas 18
SHELDON 45, Lincoln 21
Roseburg 48, SOUTH MEDFORD 7
TIGARD 48, Southridge 17

MARIST 49, Wilsonville 14
MOUNTAIN VIEW 42, Lebanon 21
SHERWOOD 14, Ashland 3
WEST ALBANY 28, Bend 21

CENTRAL 36, Klamath Union 7
ELMIRA 35, Douglas 7
SIUSLAW 35, Baker 18
LA SALLE PREP 32, North Bend 30

DAYTON 55, Pleasant Hill 19
RAINIER 58, Lakeview / Paisley 17
CASCADE CHRISTIAN 21, Horizon Christian 18

OAKLAND 14, Monroe 6
Weston-McEwen 20, KENNEDY 6
SCIO 50, Lost River 0
GOLD BEACH 28, Regis 16

PERRYDALE 42, St. Paul 12
CRANE 34, Sherman 28
CAMAS VALLEY 60, Dufur 0
TRIAD 42, Imbler 14


Grant races past Canby into quarterfinals

Big plays key 41-14 win for steaking Generals
By Cliff Pfenning,

The Grant Generals showed off their love for big plays consistently in a 41-14 win over Canby Friday night at Lincoln High.

Junior Nathan Halverson scored on a 36-yard run, 64-yard reception and 97-yard kickoff return and sophomore defensive back Cordell Harris ran back an interception 100 yards for a score at the close of the first half that boosted the Generals into the quarterfinals of the OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires state playoffs.

Junior back Bryant Peek sparked the offense with 150 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and senior quarterback Paris Penn threw for two scores, including a 5-yard connection with senior Jamarr Graves who had been left completely uncovered on the play.

With the win, the Generals advance to the quarterfinals and a trip to Eugene to play top-ranked Sheldon Friday.

Grant improved to 9-2 overall. Sheldon moved to 11-0 after beating Lincoln Friday.

Of all the big plays the Generals had Friday, none were more vital than the interception return.

Trying to fend off a last-second score at the close of the first half, Harris stepped in front of a severly underthrown pass at the goal line and ran for a score that turned what might have been a one-possession game into a 28-6 halftime lead the Cougars were unable to overcome.



Jesuit football ready to save school honor

Gridiron gang is final hope to keep fall title streak alive
By Cliff Pfenning,

The football team at Jesuit has annual expectations for bringing a state championship home to the school, but this year that expectation has special importance - at least for historical purposes.

Jesuit has not won a state title yet this fall, something that hasn't happened since 1990.

Since the Crusaders won the boys soccer title in 1991, which was its fourth in six years, the school has won a state title every year in at least one fall sport: cross country, volleyball, boys and girls soccer and football.

Every year.

Five times in the 20-year streak, Jesuit has won three titles, including last year when it won titles in boys and girls soccer and girls cross country. The volleyball team finished second, the boys cross country team finished third and the football team reached the semifinals, completing one of the most successful athletic seasons for any school in the state, and perhaps across the nation. 

The boys soccer team started the streak by winning four straight titles beginning in '91 (streak years 91-94). The girls team won six straight state titles beginning in '94 (95-99). Boys cross country won in 2000. Boys soccer won 2001, and girls cross country has won the team title every year since 2002.

This fall, the boys cross country team placed fourth and the girls team placed third. The volleyball team reached the state final, but lost the championship match for the third straight year. The boys soccer team, seeded first in its quarter of the 32-team bracket, lost in the quarterfinals. The girls soccer team, also seeded first, lost in the quarterfinals as well.

That leaves the football team, seeded first in its quarter of the 32-team bracket, to carry the weight of the school's fall title streak.

Jesuit, ranked fourth at the end of the season, plays host to fourth seed Tualatin at 7 p.m.

Winning state is certainly within reach of the school's football program. For starters, Jesuit has reached the state playoffs every year since 1992, a 19-year streak that is the longest of any OSAA school at any classification. In that span, the Crusaders have reached the title game four times and won three.

Recently, the program has been ultrasuccessful. Jesuit has reached the semifinals six times in the last seven season, missing out only in 2007, the only time in the 19-year streak that the team hasn't won at least one playoff game.

Here's a listing of Jesuit's success in fall team sports since winning the boys soccer title in 1991. The titles total 39 in 20 years.



2000, 2002, 2004, 2008


1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010




1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2010


1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010


2000, 2005, 2006

Football heads for the real playoffs Friday

With play-in rounds done, counting playoff games begin
By Cliff Pfenning,

The elimination round of the state playoffs began for most of the state last week, but they weren't counted as actual playoff games historically.

Actual playoff games begin this week, with teams seeded No. 1 through 8 at all six classifications.

They're seeded through No. 8 in two brackets for classes 1 through 5 and in four brackets at Class 6A.

Of the four teams seeded No. 1 in the six classifications, five will be looking for their first title: Lake Oswego and West Linn at Class 6A, La Salle at 4A, Santiam Christian at 3A and Crane at 1A.

Two are defending champions: Sherwood at 5A and Scio at 2A, which is a two-time defending champion.

Dayton, making its 26th playoff appearance, will be looking for its seventh state title, the last coming in 2002.

Jesuit and Marist will both be looking for title No. 6. Both have lengthy playoff streaks - Jesuit 19 straight seasons, Marist 15 straight.

Gold Beach is making its eighth-straight playoff appearance, but hasn't won a title since 1963.

Camas Valley has won four titles, but none since 1990. The Hornets lost in the Class 1A title game last season.

This year's playoffs will not include the state's two most successful programs: Vale and North Medford. Vale, with 67 playoff wins, suffered through a 1-8 season in Class 3A, and North Medford, with 66 playoff wins - most before South Medford was created in 1986, lost at David Douglas in the 6A play-in round Friday.


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