By René Ferrán | Photo by Ken Waz
No. 2 Sheldon Irish (12-0) vs. No. 1 West Linn Lions (11-1)
3 p.m. Friday | Hillsboro Stadium
Last meeting: Sheldon won 35-31 at West Linn in Week 2 of the regular season.
Last state championship: 2012 (4th all-time)
Last state final: 2018 (8th appearance)
Coach: Josh Line, sixth season (49-13; 72-28 in 10 seasons at Marshfield and Sheldon)
Offensive leaders: QB Brock Thomas, sr. (170-247-4-2777, 41 TDs pass; 110-634-16 rush); RB Grafton Robinson, sr. (68-537-6 rush; 13-308-5 rec); WR Luke Leighton, sr. (38-695-10 rec); WR Cade Welch, sr. (35-463-10 rec); WR Zach McEwen, sr. (35-401-6 rec); TE Teitum Tuioti, sr. (22-433-6 rec)
Defensive leaders: DE Teitum Tuioti, sr. (80 tackles, 30 for loss, 13 sacks); DE Josh Merriman, sr. (65 tackles, 19½ for loss, 6½ sacks, 4 forced fumbles); FS Luke Leighton, sr. (51 tackles, 8 for loss, 2 interceptions); DT Will Haverland, jr. (29 tackles, 12½ for loss); CB Niko Klemm, jr. (4 interceptions); LB Mana Tuioti, soph. (49 tackles, 7 for loss, 3 interceptions)
More on the Irish: The last time Sheldon won a state title, it completed an undefeated season by defeating a Three Rivers League team (Lake Oswego) in the final. Could history repeat itself? If so, the Irish will need to slow down one of the state’s most potent offenses. They did so enough in Week 2, when their defensive front led by Teitum Tuioti, who had three sacks and a forced fumble in the second half, helped them overcome big nights from the dynamic duo of QB Sam Leavitt and WR Mark Hamper. “He has a great motor and is nearly unblockable,” Lions coach Jon Eagle said of Tuioti. “A playmaker on both sides of the ball.” Thomas might be the state’s best dual-threat quarterback, with more than 3,400 yards of total offense and accounting for 57 touchdowns. “He has great command of their offense,” Eagle said. “He’s fast, an accurate thrower — a playmaker.” Finally, there’s this X-factor — Sheldon will throw two or three gadget plays in the game plan every week. The Irish disguise them well, so even if your scout team runs them during the week, they always bite opponents, as they did twice in Week 2 and twice to Tualatin in last week’s semifinal victory.
About West Linn
Last state championship: 2016 (1st)
Last state final: 2016 (3rd appearance)
Coach: Jon Eagle, first season (240-71 in 30 seasons at Evergreen, Redmond and Camas)
Offensive leaders: QB Sam Leavitt, sr. (155-222-5-2934, 36 TDs pass; 61-542-7 rush); WR Mark Hamper, sr. (68-1380-19 TDs rec); RB Koffi Kuoame, sr. (136-856-14 rush); WR Wiley Donnerberg, jr. (40-590-5 rec); TE Gus Donnerberg, jr. (18-379-2 rec); WR Jackson Shelstad, sr. (14-326-6 rec)
Defensive leaders: LB Earl Ingle, sr. (Three Rivers League co-defensive player of the year); LB Ben Winjum, sr. (Three River League co-defensive player of the year; 9 tackles, 2 for loss vs. Central Catholic); DE Jake Holmes, sr. (unanimous Three Rivers League first-team selection); CB Wiley Donnerberg, jr. (unanimous Three Rivers League first-team selection); S Hunter Haines, jr. (unanimous Three Rivers League first-team selection)
More on the Lions: West Linn has been on an offensive rampage since its Week 2 loss to the Irish. The Lions have scored 42 or more points in the past nine games, averaging 50.7 points during their 10-game win streak that propelled them to their third state final (all since 2015). “They’ve gotten significantly better since the last time we played them,” Line said. “They just have a lot of tools, and they use them really well.” Foremost among those tools is Leavitt, the Washington State commit who has a 142.5 passer rating while spreading the wealth among his bevy of receivers, five of whom received all-Three Rivers recognition. Hamper recently received an offer from Air Force, and Eagle uses him all over the field to take advantage of his elite playmaking ability. Their defense doesn’t get as much notice, but it has quietly done its job, holding Central Catholic to its second-lowest point total in last week’s semifinal victory and keeping junior QB Cru Newman (239 total yards, three interceptions) in check — good practice for what the Lions will face this week in Thomas.
6A Columbia Cup
No. 28 North Salem Vikings (8-4) vs. No. 18 Westview Wildcats (7-5)
11 a.m. Friday | Hillsboro Stadium
Last meeting: This is the first meeting between the teams.
About North Salem
Last state championship: 1963 (1st)
Last OSAA final: 1963 (4th appearance)
Coach: Jeff Flood, 15th season (42-102; 166-147 in 31 seasons at Amity, Blanchet Catholic and North Salem)
Offensive leaders: QB TC Manumaleuna II, jr. (76-145-1342, 13 TDs passing); RB Josiah Davis, sr. (189-1254-16 rush); RB Jerrik Wangler, jr. (124-625-11 rush); RB DeMari Thompson, jr. (50-440-4 rush); WR Erick Gonzalez, sr. (28-639-9 rec); WR Pierce Walker, jr. (18-349-3 rec)
Defensive leaders: LB Jerrik Wangler, jr. (3 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions); DL Enrike Aguilar, soph. (4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles); DB Erick Gonzalez, sr. (4 interceptions); DB Pierce Walker, jr. (3 interceptions)
More on the Vikings: North Salem was one of the last at-large qualifiers to the Columbia Cup field, but the Vikings have made the most of the second chance afforded them by the inaugural tournament for teams that finished Nos. 17-32 in the OSAA rankings. They have won three road games in the postseason — the first 6A team to do so since 2013 — knocking out Cup top seed Liberty 39-21 in the semifinals. “You have to give their program a lot of credit,” Westview coach Ryan Atkinson said. “We know their community is fired up, and their players believe.” Wangler ran for 152 yards and three touchdowns in the semifinal win, which caught Atkinson’s attention. “He runs hard and was ready to go in that semifinal,” he said. Still, the straw that stirs the Vikings’ drink is Manumaleuna, an FBS-caliber prospect who threw for 158 yards and a touchdown last Friday. “He is athletic and makes plays,” Atkinson said.
Last state championship: None
Last OSAA final: 1st appearance
Coach: Ryan Atkinson, eighth season (38-40)
Offensive leaders: QB Nolan Keeney, soph. (79-143-5-924, 8 TDs pass; 88-353-4 rush); RB Jordan Fisher, sr. (299-2555-35 rush); WR Jaydon McBreen, sr. (28-439-6 rec); WR Kayden Huppin, sr. (8-177-0 rec)
Defensive leaders: DL Campbell Sager, sr. (52 tackles, 18 for loss, 14 sacks); LB Jacob Munly, sr. (53 tackles); DL Gunner Jorgensen, sr. (46 tackles, 11 for loss, 6 sacks); DE Jason Cephus, sr. (40 tackles, 8 for loss, 7 sacks)
More on the Wildcats: Westview had never been past the quarterfinals in a playoff bracket before this fall, but its regular-season record reflected a challenging nonleague schedule and a double-overtime loss to Mountainside in its Metro League opener that likely made the difference between qualifying for the OSAA state playoffs and the Columbia Cup. The Wildcats have embraced this Cup run, and with Fisher having moved to the state’s top 20 all-time in single-season yardage, amassing 4,215 career yards, they have a chance to earn the program’s first OSAA football trophy. “He is one player that you can scheme perfectly for, but he does such a good job of making people miss that sometimes, scheme doesn’t matter,” Flood said. Still, Atkinson quickly points out that “any time you see a team late in the playoffs, it is never just one player but 11 guys that want to back each other up and end on a high note.” Keeney had an efficient game in last Friday’s semifinal win over Lakeridge, throwing for 125 yards and a touchdown and running for another score, and the defense led by junior SS Ethan Myette (six tackles, sack) and senior DB Makai Davis (six tackles, forced fumble) held the Pacers scoreless until the final quarter in building a 28-0 lead.
No. 2 Wilsonville Wildcats (10-2) vs. No. 1 Summit Storm (11-1)
7 p.m. Friday | Hillsboro Stadium
Last meeting: Summit won 33-21 at home in Week 4 of the regular season.
Last state championship: 2004 (1st)
Last state final: 2018 (5th appearance)
Coach: Adam Guenther, 13th season (115-30)
Offensive leaders: QB Kallen Gutridge, jr. (136-275-10-2248, 32 TDs pass; 98-712-10 rush); RB Jacob Ogden, sr. (119-698-6 rush); WR Mark Wiepert, soph. (28-463-8 rec); WR Cooper Hiday, sr. (51-1045-16 rec)
Defensive leaders: S Mark Wiepert, soph. (118 tackles, 7 for loss, 3 interceptions); LB Dylan Nance, sr. (105 tackles, 7 for loss, 4 sacks); DE Ryder McElroy, sr. (60 tackles, 18 for loss, 13 sacks, 14 hurries); DT Jonny Lazaro-Hampton, sr. (70 tackles, 13 for loss, 5½ sacks)
More on the Wildcats: Among 5A teams, none has played Summit closer this season than Wilsonville did in its Week 4 loss in Bend. Since that defeat dropped the Wildcats to 2-2, they’ve rattled off eight consecutive wins, including a 23-14 semifinal victory over Bend last week. Their improvement on defense (they’ve allowed more than 14 points only once during the win streak) has keyed their run. Hiday has turned into a two-way threat in the postseason, intercepting passes in each of Wilsonville’s first two games before making a career-high nine tackles and returning a fumble 70 yards for a touchdown last week — all while continuing to be a deep threat at receiver. “He has been on my radar since before the first game,” Storm coach Corben Hyatt said. “Even though he isn’t the biggest player, he still plays aggressively, and he’s the fastest player we have seen since playing Tualatin. Coach Guenther does a good job on offense moving him around in formations to get matchups they like and will get him the ball in various ways.”
Last state championship: 2015 (1st)
Last state final: 2015 (2nd appearance)
Coach: Corben Hyatt, sixth season (31-25)
Offensive leaders: QB Hogan Carmichael, sr. (165-248-5-2422, 34 TDs pass); RB Sam Stephens, jr. (199-1270-18 rush); WR Charlie Ozolin, sr. (41-806-10 rec); WR Ethan Carlson, sr. (34-564-11 rec)
Defensive leaders: DE Chip Allers, sr. (69 tackles, 21 for loss, 12 sacks, 30 hurries); DT Spencer Elliott, sr. (78 tackles, 34 for loss, 10 sacks, 25 hurries); LB Carter Nelson, sr. (122 tackles)
More on the Storm: Ask Guenther to name one player who concerns him the most on the Summit roster, and even through email, you sense him flinching. “Holy cow, that is a tough question,” he said. “I’m not sure that I can say what ‘one’ player because they have so many.” That has been the problem for Summit’s opponents all season. The Storm have scored 33 or more points against their 10 Class 5A opponents, and their defense hasn’t allowed more than 23 in a game — that includes 19 to Tualatin and 12 to Westview, when they held Jordan Fisher to 78 yards and a touchdown. Their two FBS talents on the line, Allers and Elliott, lead the way, and Nelson is one of the most underrated linebackers in the state. “Allers is a load at defensive end, while Elliott is a beast on the line,” Guenther said. Offensively, they have plenty of balance, both in terms of run-pass and by spreading the ball among their stable of receivers. “Summit is an incredible team from the top down,” Guenther concluded. “Their athletes play hard, execute well and have come out on top more times than not.”
No. 6 Tillamook Cheesemakers (10-2) vs. No. 5 Estacada Rangers (11-1)
4:30 p.m. Saturday | Hillsboro Stadium
Last meeting: Estacada won 22-16 in Week 3 of the 2017 season.
Last state championship: None
Last state final: 1977 (2nd appearance)
Coach: Kye Johnson, eighth season (37-36)
Offensive leaders: QB Tanner Hoskins, jr. (100-178-6-1428, 12 TDs pass; 103-458-5 rush); RB Judah Werner, sr. (171-1179-14 rush); RB Gilbert Whitlatch, sr. (81-541-6 rush); WR Zeyon Hurliman, sr. (40-698-10 rec); WR Garrison Gunder, sr. (21-212-0 rec); WR Tyler Moncrief, sr. (21-194-0 rec)
Defensive leaders: S Parker McKibbin, sr. (67 tackles, 5 interceptions); DL Austin Berry Killian, sr. (44 tackles, 8½ for loss, 5 sacks); LB Gilbert Whitlatch, sr. (82 tackles, 7½ for loss, 5½ sacks); S Tyler Moncrief, sr. (53 tackles, 6 for loss, 4 interceptions); S Judah Werner, sr. (53 tackles, 6 for loss, 4 sacks); DT Sam Diaz, sr. (45 tackles, 10½ for loss)
More on the Cheesemakers: It’s been a year of celebration along the north Oregon coast, where Tillamook opened its refurbished stadium in time for its Week 8 showdown with Scappoose, winning 17-14 in overtime to secure its first league title since 1999. Now, after making its first semifinal appearance in the past 33 years, it will play for its first championship. Hoskins didn’t put up flashy numbers in the Cheesemakers’ 28-21 semifinal win over La Grande (8 of 16 for 80 yards; 11 carries for 45 yards), but he didn’t turn the ball over in cold, blustery conditions — which proved critical in a game they won the turnover battle 6-1. “He is a really talented dual-threat player who can run and pass effectively,” Estacada coach Andy Mott said. Werner has been solid since missing two games with a midseason injury, hitting 100 yards rushing last week for the seventh time this season and fourth time in the five games since his return. The defense finally allowed more than 14 points in a game last week against the Tigers, but when the Cheesemakers needed a stop late, they got their sixth takeaway — an interception by Moncrief that sealed the victory.
Last state championship: None
Last state final: 1953 (2nd appearance)
Coach: Andy Mott, 10th season (66-29)
Offensive leaders: FB Waylon Riedel, sr. (124-837-13 rush); QB Cory James, sr. (121-828-12 rush; 30-63-3-550, 9 TDs pass); RB James Durand, sr. (56-504-6 rush; 7-211-5 rec); RB Tucker Jackson, sr. (58-357-6 rush; 9-125-1 rec)
Defensive leaders: LB Waylon Riedel, sr. (73 tackles, 14½ for loss, 2½ sacks, 3 interceptions); LB Payton Matney, sr. (55 tackles, 6½ for loss, 4 pass breakups); DT Dominic Nacoste, sr. (57 tackles, 20½ for loss, 6 sacks); DL Mark Youngberg, sr. (47 tackles, 14½for loss, 2½ sacks); DB Cory James, sr. (24 tackles, 7 interceptions, 11 pass breakups)
More on the Rangers: When Kye Johnson took over at Tillamook eight years ago, he looked to Mott and Estacada as a model for how he wanted his program to develop. Now, both are in the 4A final, seeking their first title — although the Rangers have had the longer wait to return to the championship game, making their only other appearance 69 years ago. Their offensive style would have played well in the 1950s as well — a punishing ground attack that blends wing-T and power-I, featuring a bruising fullback in Riedel (244 rushing yards in three playoff games) and three halfbacks they mix and match around him. “Riedel stands out because he’s such a load coming downhill with the ball in his hands,” Johnson said. “And then, he turns around and defends extremely well from the linebacker position.” Directing it all is James, the two-time Tri-Valley Conference offensive player of the year whom Johnson described as “experienced and crafty.” He threw only one pass last week in a 14-7 victory over Scappoose but ran for 110 yards (his third 100-yard game of the season) and a touchdown. Riedel was the TVC defensive player of the year and Nacoste the conference’s lineman of the year; they anchor a defense that hasn’t allowed more than 16 points since Week 3.
No. 2 Cascade Christian Challengers (12-0) vs. No. 1 Kennedy Trojans (12-0)
4:30 p.m. Saturday | Herald White Stadium, Cottage Grove
Last meeting: This is the first meeting between the teams.
About Cascade Christian
Last state championship: 2017 (3rd)
Last state final: 2018 (6th appearance)
Coach: Jon Gettman, 13th season (122-28)
Offensive leaders: QB Keith Reed, sr. (68-115-5-1218, 15 TDs pass; 71-327-6 rush); RB Kameron Rague, soph. (97-1210-19 rush); WR Peyton Maurer, jr. (29-569-6 rec); WR Brody Sample, sr. (32-577-6 rec); WR Tyler Almasy, sr. (22-316-5 rec)
Defensive leaders: LB Cole Shields, sr. (71 tackles, 10½ for loss, 4 interceptions); DB Kameron Rague, soph. (58 tackles, 5 for loss, 3 interceptions, 5 pass breakups, 6 fumble recoveries); DL Jaxson Turituri, sr. (46 tackles, 11½ for loss); LB Brody Sample, sr. (40 tackles, 11½ for loss, 4 sacks, 8 hurries); DB Drew Hall, soph. (30 tackles, 5 interceptions, 5 pass breakups)
More on the Challengers: Any doubts about whether Cascade Christian’s record was the product of playing just Far West League foes have dissipated as the Challengers have won three postseason games by 20-plus points. They answered their biggest challenge last week in the semifinals when Dayton stuck with them for four quarters and became just the second team to avoid a running clock in the second half in a 42-20 defeat. While Rague has been a pleasant surprise as a sophomore, becoming the program’s first 1,000-yard rusher in more than a decade, the offense (50.9 points per game) revolves around Reed, who missed the first four weeks with a hyperextended elbow but hasn’t skipped a beat since his return. “He makes their offense go,” Kennedy coach Joe Panuke said. “He does a great job of reading the defense and gets the ball out of his hand quickly in the passing game. And when he pulls it, he is a very good runner as well. We will need to stop him in order to slow down their offense.” An opportunistic defense (39 takeaways) has given up just 7.3 points per game, shutting out Dayton in the second half to help the Challengers pull away.
Last state championship: 2018 (1st)
Last state final: 2021 (8th appearance)
Coach: Joe Panuke, ninth season (80-20)
Offensive leaders: QB Elijah Traeger, jr. (65-122-6-965, 18 TDs pass; 61-287-7 rush); RB William Schaecher, sr. (110-725-8 rush); WR Owen Bruner, sr. (17-392-6 rec); WR Brett Boen, sr. (17-250-8 rec); RB Javier Rodriguez, sr. (38-369-5 rush)
More on the Trojans: Moving up from 2A to 3A to continue playing 11-person football didn’t slow Kennedy down one bit. The Trojans made their fourth consecutive state final by grinding out a 15-7 semifinal victory over Banks — the second consecutive week they eked out a defensive struggle after beating Vale 14-12 in the quarterfinals. “What concerns me is they have good athletes across the board and play fast and aggressive on defense,” Gettman said. “Carlos Recendiz stands out at linebacker. He is quick, fast and aggressive to the ball, and he is a sure tackler when he gets there. Also, Matt Hopkins is a big, strong defensive tackle who is difficult to move.” On offense, Traeger transitioned from being an all-state defensive back as a sophomore to winning PacWest Conference offensive player of the year honors this season, leading a balanced offense (296.7 yards per game) in which no one posts big numbers, instead combining to score 36.6 points per game. “Their offense starts with their quarterback due to his strong arm, mobility within the pocket and ability to run the ball,” Gettman said. “Their wideouts are all fast, strong and big targets who have great hands.”
No. 7 Weston-McEwen TigerScots (9-2) vs. No. 1 Oakland Oakers (11-1)
1 p.m. Saturday | Hillsboro Stadium
Last meeting: Weston-McEwen won 24-16 at home in Week 2 of the regular season.
Last state championship: None
Last state final: 1996 (3rd appearance)
Coach: Kenzie Hansell, fourth season (25-10; 62-33 in two stints over 10 seasons)
Offensive leaders: QB Easton Berry, soph. (1,362 passing yards, 13 TDs, 6 interceptions; 273 rushing yards, 10 TDs); RB Maddox King, soph. (543 rushing yards, 7 TDs); RB Sean Roggiero, jr. (365 rushing yards, 5 TDs); WR Cameron Reich, sr. (26-540-4 rec); TE Dylan Youncs, sr. (13-219-2 rec)
Defensive leaders: LB Mazon Langford, jr. (90 tackles, 3 interceptions; LB Sean Roggiero, jr. (73 tackles, 2 interceptions); DE Dylan Youncs, sr. (68 tackles, 5 sacks)
More on the TigerScots: Weston-McEwen’s roller-coaster ride will end in Hillsboro after the TigerScots rallied in the final 2½ minutes to defeat Colton 31-30 in the semifinals. They beat Oakland in Week 2 as part of a 3-0 start to the season, but consecutive losses to Umatilla and Heppner had them in danger of missing the postseason. They came back to beat Irrigon the following week, kick-starting a six-game win streak (including a forfeit) that has them in the state final for the first time in the past 26 years. The architect of last weekend’s rally was Berry, who put the team on his shoulders during its winning drive. He threw for one score and ran for three touchdowns for the TigerScots, who erased a 22-6 halftime deficit. “He moves around the pocket well and creates plays with his legs as well as his arm,” Oakland coach Ben Lane said. “He presents a lot of problems for opposing defenses.” Weston-McEwen has defeated the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds en route to the final; now, the TigerScots hope to become the lowest-seeded champion since Kennedy in 2018.
Last state championship: 2012 (2nd)
Last state final: 2012 (3rd appearance)
Coach: Ben Lane, 13th season (92-40; 125-85 in 21 seasons at Yoncalla and Oakland)
Offensive leaders: QB Cole Collins, sr. (43-64-4-847, 15 TDs pass; 27-233-2 rush); RB Cade Olds, sr. (149-1386-26 rush); RB Gabe Williamson, soph. (75-745-9 rush; 7-209-3 rec); RB Jake Chenoweth, jr. (63-587-3 rush); RB Brayden Webb, jr. (44-522-10 rush); WR James Baimbridge, jr. (14-367-8 rec)
Defensive leaders: LB Cade Olds, sr. (118 tackles, 19 for loss, 6½ sacks, 4 interceptions); LB Gabe Williamson, soph. (109 tackles, 14 for loss); LB Coen Egner, soph. (50 tackles, 26 for loss, 14 sacks); DE Jake Chenoweth, jr. (56 tackles, 22 for loss, 12½ sacks); DB Cole Collins, sr. (58 tackles, 10 interceptions); DB James Baimbridge, jr. (72 tackles, 3 interceptions)
More on the Oakers: Oakland bounced back from its Week 2 loss at Weston-McEwen to run the table in the Valley Coast Conference, scoring at least 48 points in its seven conference games. After beating Clatskanie in the first round, the Oakers beat the other two Eastern Oregon qualifiers — Umatilla and Heppner — to earn a shot at avenging their only defeat. Webb didn’t play in their first meeting, and Hansell noted how “he contributes a lot on both sides of the ball. He’s a playmaker.” The offense revolves around Olds, who ran for 183 yards and two touchdowns in the semifinal win over Heppner. Collins, an all-state pitcher for the baseball team, is a three-year starter at quarterback who doesn’t throw often. But when he does, he’s effective — more than one-third of his completions have been for touchdowns. The defense hasn’t allowed more than 16 points in a game since Week 3, posting its first shutout and allowing just 142 yards in last week’s semifinal win.
No. 3 Lost River Raiders (10-1) vs. No. 1 St. Paul Buckaroos (10-0)
1 p.m. Saturday | Herald White Stadium, Cottage Grove
Last meeting: St. Paul won 46-32 at home in Week 3 of the regular season.
About Lost River
Last state championship: 2004 (2nd)
Last state final: 2004 (5th appearance)
Coach: Dennis Dunlea, 24th season (175-83)
Offensive leaders: QB Chase McAuliffe, jr. (27-65-1-688, 10 TDs pass); RB Nathan Dalton, sr. (929 rushing yards, 13 TDs); RB Connor Dunlea, jr. (565 rushing yards, 6 TDs; 349 receiving yards, 10 TDs); TE Grady Dunlea, sr. (471 receiving yards, 8 TDs)
Defensive leaders: LB Nathan Dalton, sr. (67 tackles, 2 sacks); DB Connor Dunlea, jr. (95 tackles, 12 interceptions); DE Carson Parrish, sr. (96 tackles, 11 sacks)
More on the Raiders: Lost River has made the playoffs for 18 consecutive years, but Saturday marks its first appearance in the state final since the first year of that run in 2004. It rebounded from its Week 3 loss at St. Paul to win eight consecutive games, overcoming injuries that sidelined Dalton, McAuliffe and Grady Dunlea for multiple games to breeze through league play (combined score: 286-18). Those three returned in time for the playoffs, and the Raiders defeated two-time defending champion Adrian and last year’s runner-up, Powder Valley, to reach the final. They team with Grady’s younger brother, Connor, to form a quartet that powers an offense averaging 47.6 points per game. “All of them are game-breakers and can score on any play,” Buckaroos coach Tony Smith said. McAuliffe, who ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns in the Raiders’ Week 3 loss to St. Paul, threw for a career-high five touchdowns and ran for a score in last week’s 40-14 semifinal win over Powder Valley. The Raiders went seven games without allowing more than one touchdown until last week.
About St. Paul
Last state championship: 2010 (6th)
Last state final: 2019 (16th appearance)
Coach: Tony Smith, 15th season (137-30; 176-94 in 26 seasons at Silverton, Willamina and St. Paul)
Offensive leaders: QB George Pohlschneider, jr. (61-94-2-1272, 22 TDs pass; 64-390-7 rush); RB Clay Smith, soph. (102-1108-18 rush); RB Ralph Pohlschneider, jr. (39-597-6 rush; 13-211-3 rec); TE Warren Rose, sr. (28-617-13 rec)
Defensive leaders: LB Clay Smith, soph. (93 tackles, 18 for loss, 3 sacks); DB Hunter Naumann, sr. (57 tackles, 9 for loss, 3 sacks, 4 pass breakups); DE Carter Milroy, sr. (52 tackles, 7 for loss, 3 sacks, 4 forced fumbles); DB Warren Rose, sr. (46 tackles, 13 for loss, 5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 6 pass breakups); DT Mike Hiller, sr. (47 tackles, 14 for loss, 5 sacks); DB Diego Medina, soph. (46 tackles, 3 interceptions, 9 pass breakups)
More on the Buckaroos: St. Paul improved to 16-5 all-time in the semifinals with its 46-22 victory over league rival Myrtle Point last weekend, sending the Buckaroos to the final for the third time since they returned to 1A in 2018. Their offensive balance concerns Raiders coach Dennis Dunlea as they prepare for their rematch from Week 3. “There isn’t really one guy to control,” he said. “They embody the team concept and have multiple weapons to get that done.” They showed off that balance against the Bobcats, when Smith and Ralph Pohlschneider each went over 100 yards rushing, and George Pohlschneider threw two touchdown passes. George Pohlschneider threw four touchdown passes in the teams’ first meeting, helping the Buckaroos rally from 16-0 and 32-30 deficits. Smith ran for 201 yards and two touchdowns in that game, which was the Buckaroos’ third consecutive win over Lost River in the past three seasons.