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PREP FOOTBALL: Central Catholic marches into quarterfinals with 62-7 thrashing

Rams start fast and never slow down in win over McNary


by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: PARKER LEE - Central Catholics Ryan Nall takes the hand-off from QB Aidan Wilder during the Rams' second-round win over McNary on Friday night. HILLSBORO — Central Catholic grinded out intense practices and grueling workouts all week in preparation for its showdown against McNary.

The Celtics left Hillsboro Stadium on Friday wishing the Rams had taken a few of those practices off.

Central Catholic suffocated McNary on both sides of the ball as it smoked the Celts 62-7 to stay unbeaten and advance to the Class 6A quarterfinals.

The Celts threw different looks and fronts at Central Catholic, but it made no difference. The Rams scored often, and they scored fast.

On Central Catholic’s third play, Cameron Scarlett galloped into the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown run. He was hit by multiple Celts but looked like a punching bag taking jabs from a toddler.

The Rams’ next possession ended with a touchdown run by quarterback Aidan Wilder from the 1. It capped a quick 59-yard drive.

Two minutes later, Central Catholic had the ball back and Wilder hit wide receiver Zach Davis on a fade route in the corner of the end zone for a 9-yard score.

In less than eight minutes, the Rams had built a 20-0 lead.

“We have been making it a point to get out to a fast start these last few games because we didn’t do a great job of that early in the season,” Wilder said. “That is only going to become more important with each game.”

Central Catholic exploded for four touchdowns in the second quarter. The first came on a dive play by Ronnie Rust from the 2. Ryan Nall supplied the next two scores with runs of 36 and 26 yards. With three seconds left in the period, the Rams handed the ball to Tyson Cooper, who punched it in from the 2.

The Rams padded their lead on the first possession of the second half by going on an 80-yard drive that took 5:33 and was culminated by Cooper's 22-yard run. The key for the Rams on that drive, and throughout the game, was their ability to gain yards after contact. On the majority of their runs, the first defender hit the Ram ball carrier near the line of scrimmage, but he bounced off the initial tackler.

Lost in the dazzle of the Rams’ offensive potency was the proficient play of the defense, particularly in the first quarter. McNary was held to zero yards on its first three possessions, and it could have been worse. Central Catholic had men in the backfield constantly, and the Celts had to dig just to get back to the line of scrimmage.

“On our first defensive series, they came out in something we weren’t ready for, and we shut it down,” Central Catholic coach Steve Pyne said. “That deflated them and set the tone for the rest of the game.”

The pressure applied by the Rams’ defensive front created havoc for McNary quarterback Hayden Gosling. He was hurried, and usually hit, on most of his attempts to drop back and pass out of the pocket. Central Catholic’s secondary only made it tougher on Gosling as it never gave McNary’s receivers space. On the few occasions when Gosling did get some time to throw, he had no one to throw to.

“We knew they were going to try to throw it around a little bit, so we wanted to get guys in his face, and I think we took them out of their game,” Pyne said.

The Rams now look ahead to Friday when they will host Clackamas in the state quarterfinals.

The Cavaliers advanced Friday with a 55-21 home win over Glencoe. Clackamas improved to 9-2.