FOURTEEN and ZERO! OSAA 1A STATE CHAMPIONS! Big and bold, the St. Paul Buckaroos stamped their mark in Oregon high school football history with a perfect season of fourteen wins and zero losses. For the season, the Bucks scored a whopping 796 total points against opponents while yielding 334. On Saturday December 5th, the Buckaroos' fourteenth win of the season earned them the OSAA 1A Football Championship state title with a 38-34 win over Imbler. Ryan Pierson was an offensive force for St. Paul as he tallied five touchdowns and rushed for 384 of his team's 398 total yards on the ground. Matt Gooding also scored for St. Paul and quarterback Daley Smith completed four out of seven passes for 60 yards in the air.
After trailing 26-14 at halftime, Imbler was able to pull within four points when quarterback Bryan Mills ran for a seven yard TD with 1:08 left in the game, but the Panthers could not pull off the onside kick letting St. Paul run out the final seconds of the game. Other scorers for Imbler were Jace Eisiminger, Zack Phillips and Wesley Burgess who got into the endzone twice. Burgess led his team with 129 yards on the ground and 74 receiving. Quarterback Bryan Mills threw 16 passes, completing five for 144 yards and one touchdown.
When I read an article on OregonLive about Oregon State's Danny Mwanga being a potential #1 draft pick in the Major Soccer League SuperDraft, I took particular interest in the story. You see, I played my last year of college eligibility at OSU and then coached the team for three years back in the '80s. The team has come a long way sense then, and has developed a lot of talented players over the years. After OSU, I coached a fair amount of youth soccer in the Portland area and was proud to see some of my past players end up playing on the Beavers' squad.
Last Spring I shot a scrimmage match between the OSU Varsity Team and a team of OSU alumni players played at Pacific University in Forest Grove to support the Banks Youth Soccer Club. This was the first time I saw Danny play; needless to say, I was quite impressed with his skill and commanding presence on the pitch. It's great to see a player of excellent quality and character have the potential to move on to the next level. And it's not so bad that he was a product of my alma mater.
It's No. 1 vs No. 2 for the OSAA 6A Football Championship as Jesuit and Sheldon both advance to the championship game after posting semi-final victories at PGE Park in Portland. Jesuit defeated West Salem 21-7 in the first of the semi-final double-header with touchdowns by the Crusaders' explosive runningbacks, Jordan Talley and Keanon Lowe. Talley notched Jesuit's first with a 34 yard run at 8:52 in the first quarter and Lowe added a pair with a one yard charge late in the second quarter and a 22 yard run with 1:42 left in the third. Jesuit's defense kept the West Salem high octane offense in check as they held the Titans to only seven points after averaging over 40 points per game during the season. The lone West Salem touchdown was scored off a four yard run by quarterback Brett Smith.
Sheldon used a dominant aerial attach to out-distance Canby 49-14 during the second game of the night. Quarterback Jordan Johnson threw four touchdown passes and ran into the endzone twice. Johnson completed 19 of 24 passes for an impressive 372 yards. On the tail end of the TD passes were Curtis Write in the first quarter and John Campbell scoring two in the second quarter and one in the third. Cameron Abeene also scored for the Irish with a 14 yard run at the start of the second quarter. Canby's first strike off a 23 yard touchdown pass from Josh Yoder to Adam Bell was the only opportunity the Cougars had to lead the game. A two yard Richy Nanez touchdown in the second quarter was the last Canby was able to change their side of the scoreboard.
It's a common claim in sports...defense wins games! When St. Paul battled a talented team from Mohawk (located in northeastern Oregon) in the OSAA 1A Football Championship semi-final game at Liberty High School in Hillsboro, the honor to compete for the State Championship went to St. Paul as a defensive stand successfully thwarted a two point conversion attempt by Mohawk late in the fourth quarter, giving the Buckaroos a 32-30 victory. The two teams literally traded touchdowns throughout the game as St. Paul struck first in the opening quarter on a 46 yard pass reception by Ryan Pierson with 1:43 left on the clock. Mohawk wasted no time evening up the score when Matt York tapped a 55 yard drive in less than a minute to equalize at 8-8 as each team were successful with the two-point conversions. As time ran out in the first quarter Pierson scored his second of three touchdowns on the day with a 64 yard run.
In the second quarter, on cue, Mohawk tied the score again when Matt York closed out a 75 yard drive in 4 plays with a 6 yard touchdown. With that, St. Paul returned the favor to close out the first half with a 24-16 lead as Pierson scored his third TD with a 38 yard run with 6:10 remaining in the second quarter. Dillon Tuyls scored the only touchdown in the third quarter to once again level the game at 24-24 with a 9 yard run, plus a conversion by Matt York. St. Paul went into the lead for the last time at 11:10 in the fourth quarter when quarterback Daley Smith ran for a three yard touchdown and completed a pass to David Furguson for the conversion making the score 32-24.
To finish out the trading of touchdowns, Mohawk marched 72 yards in 13 plays to score on a Cord Wilkins two yard run to set up a chance to tie the game with the two-point conversion. Mohawk quarterback Cord Wilkins rolled right and sent a high pass to Anthony Wallace in the corner of the end-zone, but St. Paul's Ryan Pierson's coverage was just enough to disrupt the play and preventing the catch to tie the game. The Buckaroos were able to hold off one last Mohawk drive in the final minute as their defense played a major role in their 32-30 win to go on for the OSAA 1A Football Championship game the following week at Hillsboro Stadium.