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Prep football: South Salem, North Salem remain unbeaten locally
McNary, Sprague, West still looking for wins; Special District 1 games start this week
South Salem 45, Sunset 44
There was a carnival-like atmosphere at Beaverton’s Sunset High School Friday night. It might have been the large crowd for both teams. Maybe it was the classic game food—complete with a home team tailgate party or two. Whatever it was—at the center of the game activity, on the field itself—the action took place on a metaphorical roller coaster.
South Salem took charge early in the contest—scoring 21 points off the arm of Athan Palmateer in the first quarter to take a 21-0 lead. The onslaught was sudden and stunning. First, a shuttle pass to Esteban Mendez, covering 19 yards for the opening score. Next, Mendez worked behind the defense and Palmateer lofted it to him for a 60 yard TD. Finally, a 30 yard strike to Eli Johnson—who lept high above the defense in the end zone. The scoring drives weren’t measured in minutes, but seconds as the Air Raid offense of the Saxons was humming on all cylinders.
But momentum suddenly shifted, and the host Apollos seized control, forging a 21-21 tie at half. Their quarterback—senior Drew Nees was mobile and elusive—causing frustration for a Saxon defense that was struggling with leg cramps. Nees engineered a time-consuming 16 play drive, capped off by a six-yard TD pass. He followed that with a slick option play off a Saxon fumble to make it 21-14. An identical 12 yard run for the back--Owen Scholas—came at the conclusion of a seven play drive to knot up the game just ahead of halftime.
Sunset scored even more after intermission—peaking at 44 points late in the game. The Saxons did continue to struggle in the third quarter, giving up a safety when Palmateer couldn’t find a receiver as he unloaded a pass from the end zone, drawing the penalty flag. After giving up the two points to trail 23-21, South had to kick the ball back to the Apollos, who returned the ball deep into South territory and scored after a handful of plays, directed by Nees—who threw a four-yard TD pass to push the lead to nine at 30-21 midway through the period.
South responded with another big pass play—this time an 81 yard strike to Mendez to draw to 30-28. But Sunset got good field position on the ensuing kickoff, and moved methodically down the field—covering 53 yards in five plays. Nees scored on a three-yard run to run the lead back up to 37-28. South had one last opportunity to score in the third—and they converted on what might be the biggest opportunity of the game. Beginning from their own 26, the Saxons drove to the Sunset four yard line—where they stalled. Coach Scott Dufault elected to kick a field goal—and junior Nathan Segura-Coley drilled the three pointer. The quarter ended with Sunset on top 37-31.
The fourth quarter began with Sunset starting from their own 35 yard line—but the drive stalled at the South Salem 30, and the Apollos elected to punt. The kick rolled into the end zone, and South started from their own 20. But the Saxons had no better luck and were forced to punt themselves. Sunset would not punt a second straight time. In a drive engineered by Nees, the Apollos drove seven plays, covering 80 yards--with Justin Craigwell weaving his way to paydirt from 19 yards out. The PAT made it 44-31 Sunset with 6:21 left in the game.
The two-minute offense that South Salem had started the game with was needed now more than ever. And fortunately, the Saxons were able to dial it up.
The first of two quick strike drives began from the South Salem 25. The Saxons used sideline passes and clock stoppage after first downs to move 75 yards on six plays in just 95 seconds. Palmateer found Tristan Geer with a short, two-yard pass for the touchdown. Segura-Coley’s fifth PAT of the night was straight through the uprights, and the Sunset lead was cut to 44-38 with 4:46 remaining.
Suddenly, the Apollos found the field much harder to maneuver. On the very next possession, Sunset came up shy of a first down—due in part to a couple of dropped passes. South got the ball back at their own 20-yard line with 2:43 left in the game. The Saxons again went up top with a series of short passes on the perimeter, taking four plays and forty seconds to move to the Sunset 21 with just over two minutes left.
On the very next play, Palmateer took only a moment to scan the field, then hit his favorite target—Esteban Mendez—in the end zone for a 21-yard TD. Segura Coley’s decisive extra point was true, and the Saxons led 45-44 with 1:59 remaining.
Sunset had one last opportunity, and returned the ball to their own 31 yard line. Nees dropped back to pass—four times. And each team, the ball was either wide of the mark or was dropped. South Salem took over, ran out the clock, and improved to 2-0 on the 2023 season. Sunset fell to 1-1.
Palmateer had a career night throwing the ball, despite offensive struggles for the entire team in the second and third quarters. Athan finished with 503 yards passing on 29 of 39 passes (74%). He also recorded six touchdowns.
Esteban Mendez had eight catches for the game for 246 yards. He also caught four touchdowns on the evening. Eli Johnson had 8 catches for 155 yards, including a 31 yard TD, while Parker Williams had five receptions for 50 yards. Tristan Geer had a two yard TD catch, to go along with 3 rushes for 11 yards. Palmateer was the leading rusher for South with 21 yards on 13 carries.
For Sunset, Drew Nees recorded 283 yards passing on 20 of 38 attempts. He also had one TD pass to Macklin Pettit. Justin Craigwell was the Apollos’ leading rusher with 82 yards on 16 carries and a 19 yard TD. Nees added 60 yards on 21 carries with a pair of TDs. Owen Scholes added 57 yards on 15 carries, with a two TD runs of 12 yards each.
Coach Scott Dufault had high praise for Nees after the game.
“I told him (Neese) ‘you were a warrior—and extended plays for them.’”
As for his own teams’ performance, Dufault left no doubt that he was proud of his team for rallying from 13 points down with six minutes remaining.
“Part of me was happy that it turned out that way. The kids did a good job of hanging in.”
“Teams that make the plays win the games.”
Dufault also credited his team with getting back into the quick scoring rhythm late after struggling on offense for two quarters.
Sunset returns to action this coming Friday with another home game—against Liberty of Hillsboro. South Salem begins Special District One (SD-1) play with a 7:00 pm road game Friday at Grants Pass.
North Salem 55, David Douglas 0
North’s second home game of the season was over before halftime. The Vikings surpassed the 35-point threshold for a running clock under the so-called Mercy Rule, and rolled over an outmanned team from David Douglas High in a rout at Littlejohn Stadium. North led 41-0 with nearly nine minutes left in the half, and were up 48-0 at intermission.
The stat lines for the Vikings are short but decidedly dominant in scope.
North quarterback TC Manumalenua completed four of four passes for 73 yards, and three touchdowns on the evening.
Viking wideout Pierce Walker caught two of the TDs, for a total of 50 yards. Sophomore Braxton Singleton had one catch for 18 yards at a touchdown.
Viks running back Jamahl Wilson got a little more work—recording two carries for 70 yards and a touchdown. He also had an interception, good for a 35 yard pick-six—and also scored a TD on a 55 yard punt return. See his TD run here. (from Atwood Images)
As a group, North Salem’s defense collected a total of four turnovers on the night.
Even with the overwhelming superiority of his team in such a short time frame, North Salem coach Jeff Flood was happy with what he saw as an improvement in the team’s performance over week one.
“It would have been easy to not finish the game, and last week we let down in the second half,” said Flood.
“This time, they played the entire game. I think we got what we needed out of it.”
David Douglas (0-2) plays Thursday at Clackamas; North Salem (2-0) travels to Roseburg for a 7:00 pm showdown with the Indians.
Beaverton 21, McNary 0 (Thursday)
After playing a very competitive game in the loss to McMinnville in week one, the McNary Celtics were offensively ineffective in their 21-0 shutout loss on the road at Beaverton Thursday.
The Celts managed just eight first downs in the game, despite trailing just 6-0 at halftime. Running back Izeyah Contreras was McNary’s offensive leader, rushing for 77 yards on 14 carries. Quarterback Gage Smedema completed just six of twenty passes for 55 yards, with three of those catches made by Roman Burrus-who tallied 41 yards.
“Decision making and timing on the offense was an issue for us,” said Coach Connor Astley.
The host Beavers controlled the game for 32 of the game’s 48 minutes, with 343 total years, including 192 on the ground. Quarterback Spencer York threw for 150 yards on 16 of 25 passes—with 2 TDs to wide out Oliver Luebkert.
McNary (0-2) entertains South Medford (2-0) on Friday night at 7:15. Beaverton (1-1) travels to Canby (0-2) on Thursday.
Lake Oswego 42, West Salem 20
Last Friday was another evening of learning and getting better for the young West Salem football squad.
The youthful Titans—with just one returning starter on defense and two on offense, struggled against a veteran Laker team ranked in the top ten of the 6A Coaches Poll.
Lake-O took a 14-6 lead at the end of the first quarter, and never looked back in the 42-20 victory.
West Salem quarterback Kaden Martirano had another solid game for the Titans, passing for 181 yards with a first quarter TD to sophomore Evan Wustigg. He also had one pass picked off. Wustigg topped all receivers with three catches for 98 yards. Rushing the ball, West was limited to just 69 yards, split almost evenly among four players.
Lake Oswego rolled up 519 total yards against the young Titan defense. Quarterback Liam Davis tallied 274 yards through the air, while the Laker running backs combined for 245 yards on the ground.
On defense, West was lead in tackling by Zach Diaz with seven for the game, followed by Carson Evenson (six), and both Carmelo Brown and Cougar Bailey (five).
Titans coach Shawn Stanley admits that his team is taking its lumps so far this year.
“We are just playing really good teams—with a schedule amongst the toughest In the state,” says Stanley.
“We have a senior class that won just one game as freshmen. We will just keep coaching our guys up, and I truly think we will show what is true—that we have a good team here.”
West Salem (0-2) travels to North Medford (1-1) this coming Friday for a 7:00 pm game at Medford’s Spiegelberg Stadium.
Lakeridge 42, Sprague 20
On the road at eighth-rated Lakeridge, the upstart Sprague Olympians had the lead at 8-0 late in the first quarter after a three-yard TD run by Kenya Johnson and a two-point conversion.
Sadly, that advantage didn’t last against the Pacers on their home field. Lakeridge scored their first TD of the game just before the first period ended, and after Sprague responded with a 28 yard Dukkati Witherspoon TD pass to Jack McAllister to make it 14-7 Olys, the Pacers scored three unanswered touchdowns and had a 28-14 advantage at halftime.
Lakeridge extended the lead to 35-14 in scoring the only points of the third quarter. The Olympians tacked on a score in the fourth, but the Pacers closed out the game with a touchdown of their own in cruising to a 42-20 home victory.
Despite the loss, Sprague coach AJ Robinson was decidedly positive about the progress his young team made from week one to week two on the field.
“They played hard the entire the game and came together as a team,” beamed Robinson.
“We did pretty well against a very good team. Our team had a big jump in its execution.”
Dukkati Witherspoon passed for 161 yards and the TD nab by McAllister on 19-31 attempts. He was also intercepted twice. Kenya Johnson paced the rushing attack with 168 yards on 31 carries and two TDs (3, 16 yards). Junior Aiden Andreson topped all receivers with four catches for 46 yards.
For Lakeridge, southpaw QB Gabe Motschenbacher threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns on the night on 23 of 28 passes.
Lakeridge (2-0) travels to Westview (0-2) of Beaverton next Friday. Sprague (0-2) returns home, where they will host the defending SD-1 champion Sheldon Irish (0-2) Friday night at 7:15 pm.
Dallas 38, McKay 16 (5A)
After an exciting game in a week one victory at Lebanon, the McKay Royal Scots struggled in their home opener against the Dallas Dragons, falling 36-18 in 5A Mid Willamette Conference action Friday.
Coach Brandis Piper says his team didn’t put their best foot forward against the Dragons.
“I thought we didn’t align and assign well, and didn’t executive enough when it counted,” said Piper.
“Definitely some stuff for us to clean up and make adjustments moving forward.”
Piper also credited Dallas for being the more physical team on the evening.
Still, McKay had some decided bright spots in the game.
Gavin Aguero returned a kick for a touchdown for McKay, along with six receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Justice Anthony collected seven passes for 128 yards.
McKay quarterback Kyrin Fuimaono passed well despite facing pressure all night long. He completed to 20 of 24 passes for 280 yard and the TD throw to Aguero.
Dallas (1-1) entertains Lebanon (0-2) on Friday. McKay hosts South Albany Friday night, with kickoff scheduled at 7:00 pm.
Other Special District One Team Results
Caldera (Bend) 34, Grants Pass 14
After a week one victory, the Grants Pass Caveman had a difficult road game Friday, falling to the Caldera Wolfpack in Bend. Caldera jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, and the young GP squad didn’t have the firepower to come back.
Grants Pass returns home this week, hosting the South Salem Saxons in Special District One (SD-1) action.
North Medford 41, Bend 0
The North Medford Black Tornado looked to make up for a turnover-plagued loss in week one, and did in a big way by blanking Bend in their home opener at Spiegelberg Stadium Friday.
Sophomore QB Traeger Healey shined in his starting debut, throwing three TDs, while completing 14 of 17 passes for 265 yards on the night.
North Medford (1-1) entertains West Salem (2-0) this coming Friday at Spiegelberg Stadium.
South Medford 24, Del Norte (CA) 6
The tenth-rated South Medford Panthers came up against a Del Norte (CA) defense determined not to let them run the football. South Medford did the obvious, and went about passing for the win.
This year’s SM squad is run oriented, but is coming off several years of passing exploits—and they showed it could still be done with two TD passes in the 24-6 victory on the road in Crescent City. Colby Schwartz threw the touchdowns for the Panthers.
South Medford did lose a key contributor in running back Kameron Rague, who sat out the second half of the game due to a possible concussion.
South Medford (2-0) begins Special District One (SD-1) action on the road Friday at McNary (0-2).
Nelson 42, Roseburg 7
The Roseburg Indians football team turned the ball over four times and managed just 129 yards of offense in a 42-7 nonconference loss to the Nelson Hawks on Friday night at Nelson High in Happy Valley. Roseburg found it rough going vs. the Hawks after rushing for over 300 yards in their season opener against Beaverton.
Roseburg (1-1) will be at home for the start of Special District One (SD-1) play on Friday. The Indians host North Salem (2-0) for the first of two straight home games.
West Linn 41, Sheldon 3
What a difference a graduating class makes. The Sheldon Irish were state runners up in Oregon 6A football last season. This year, the Irish are 0-2 after being demolished by defending champion West Linn 41-3 in a rematch of the championship game last Friday. They lost their opener to a top team from Hawaii. Sheldon has been limited to just two field goals in their initial two games.
West Linn QB Baird Gilroy threw a pair of touchdowns for the victorious Lions (2-0).
Sheldon begins Special District One (SD-1) play this Friday with a game at Sprague (0-2).
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