Oregon Sports Photos Photography by John Lariviere

2Jan/10Off

Defensive Stand Sends St. Paul to Championship Game

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.

Dillon Tuyls (left) of Mohawk squeezes out a five yard gain for a first down early in the first quarter before being caught by St. Paul's Josh Turner (right).

Quarterback Cord Wilkins of Mohawk works his way around the outside on a keeper in the first quarter. Cord completed 6 of 13 passes for 168 yards and rushed for 78 yards.

Ryan Pierson of St. Paul celebrates after scoring the second of his three touchdowns of the game. Pierson rushed for 196 yards and hauled in two receptions for another 52 yards.

Ryan Pierson of St. Paul (right) throws a move on Mohawk's Anthony Wallace as he attempts to avoid the tackle during a second quarter possession.

Ryan Pierson of St. Paul (right) throws a move on Mohawk's Anthony Wallace as he attempts to avoid the tackle during a second quarter possession.

Ryan Pierson of St. Paul looks for the down markers to check his progress as Mohawk's Anthony Wallace ends up on top of him in reverse position after making the stop.

Ryan Pierson of St. Paul leaves all players in the dust as he breaks away for a 38 yard touchdown with 6:10 left in the second quarter.

Matt York of Mohawk (right) eyes St. Paul's TJ Weisz as he attempts to get around the outside after a screen pass reception late in the second quarter.

St. Paul quarterback Daley Smith dives through the Mohawk line for a first down on a third-and-one play in the third quarter.

St. Paul quarterback Daley Smith dives through the Mohawk line for a first down on a third-and-one play in the third quarter.

A helmet discarded during St. Paul's celebration after defeating Mohawk 32-30 lay in the middle of the field while the players exchange handshakes after the OSAA 1A Football Championship semi-final game.