West Albany gets 21-20 OT win

by: DAN BROOD - West Albany senior running back Jake LaCoste looks to get away from Sherwood senior Tanner Shadbolt. LaCoste had two touchdowns for the Bulldogs in their 21-20 win.HILLSBORO — All season, the Sherwood High football team was looking for a challenge.

In the Class 5A championship game, Sherwood got its challenge.

And what a challenge it was.

In fact, try as they might, it was a challenge that the Bowmen couldn't quite overcome.

A determined West Albany squad, which fell 48-0 to Sherwood in an early-season game, edged the Bowmen 21-20 in overtime in a classic, physical, thrilling, hard-fought state title tilt Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium.

“West Albany played a heck of a game,” Sherwood senior quarterback Kevin Larkin saidt. “They gave us a real battle. Props to West Albany, and props to us. It was a heck of a game, and they were ready.”

“They came out and wanted it,” Sherwood senior running back Keegan Lawrence said. “They deserve the championship. But we definitely played our hearts out. We left it all the field.”

“It was a heck of a game,” Sherwood coach Greg Lawrence said. “It was well-fought. They came to play and gave us a battle. It was two top-notch programs that really brought it tonight.”

West Albany, the Mid-Willamette Conference champion, finished its season with a 12-1 record. The Bulldogs also claimed their first state championship since 2008.

Sherwood, the Northwest Oregon Conference title winner and defending 5A champion, finished 12-1. The Bowmen took a 25-game winning streak into Saturday's title tilt.

“It was an amazing season,” Sherwood defensive lineman Ryan Jurgens said. “We played wonderful. And every game we played was a new experience.”

“It was a great season,” Keegan Lawrence said. “It sucks how it ended, but we built a brotherhood, and nothing can change that.”

Sherwood, despite being stopped on downs on the West Albany 2-yard line in its initial possession, was able to strike first Saturday.

Facing a third-and-24 on the West Albany 41-yard line, Larkin and Keegan Lawrence teamed up for a 41-touchdown on a shovel pass play, with Lawrence sprinting through a big hole opened by the Sherwood line. The play gave the Bowmen a 7-0 lead with 8:44 left in the second DAN BROOD - Sherwood senior Keegan Lawrence breaks into the clear on his way to scoring on a 41-yard touchdown pass play in Saturday's state title game.

Bu the Bulldogs came right back.

A 43-yard pass from West Albany senior quarterback Cody Lahoda to senior receiver Andrew Ketelson set up a 7-yard scoring pass from Lahoda to Ketelson, tying the game at 7-7 with 6:18 remaining in the first half.

The teams went to the half still tied at 7-7, but the Bowmen, with a long, sustained drive on their first possession of the third quarter, were able to go back on top.

Sherwood moved 65 yards in 16 plays, using the final 8:18 of the period. The drive ended when Lawrence scored on a 2-yard run to the right side of the field, reaching the ball inside the pylon, on the first play of the fourth quarter to give Sherwood a 14-7 advantage.

But, again, West Albany answered right back.

The Bulldogs quickly moved 65 yards in seven plays, getting a 7-yard touchdown run by senior Jake LaCoste to tie the game at 14-14 with 9:03 remaining.

The Bowmen threatened again after the West Albany touchdown. Sherwood, behind the running of Lawrence and senior fullback Jake Reimer, moved deep into West Albany territory in the final minutes of the period. But a Bowmen fumble, recovered by Bulldog junior J.T. Valenzuela, ended the threat with 2:00 left.

The Sherwood defense forced a quick three-and-out, and the Bowmen took over after a Bulldog punt at the West Albany 47 with no timeouts and 28 seconds on the clock.

Larkin completed a pair of short passes to senior receiver Nic Clarke, but time ran out on Sherwood, sending the game to overtime.

The Bowmen, with the first possession of the extra session, got a 15-yard touchdown run from Lawrence. However, West Albany senior lineman Matt Soot was able to block the extra-point attempt, leaving Sherwood with a 20-14 lead.

West Albany, in its overtime possession, got an 11-yard touchdown run from LaCoste. Then, Bulldog senior kicker Matt Wiest was able to get his extra-point attempt just barely over the outstretched arms of Sherwood seniors Scott Skurdahl and Jason Kurahara to provide the winning margin.

“They played better than we did,” Sherwood senior lineman Travis Kotowski said. “But I have no doubts that we played our hearts out. I couldn't be more proud.”

“We left it all on the field,” Clarke said. “The ball didn't bounce our way.”

by: DAN BROOD - Sherwood players (from left) Martin Layna, Nic Clarke and Spencer Clay show their disappointment after West Albany's 21-20 overtime win in Saturday's Class 5A champoinship game.Sherwood outgained West Albany 381 yards to 209.

The Bowmen rushed for 292 yards on 61 carries. Lawrence led the rushing attack with 162 yards on 29 carries. Senior fullback Mickey Schaefer added 58 yards on 16 carries.

Larkin completed 5 of 11 pass attempts for 89 yards. Lawrence had two receptions for 61 yards.

For the Sherwood defense, Clarke had an interception, Kurahara had two tackles for losses, and Reimer and Austin Goldstein each had one tackle for a loss.

For West Albany, LaCoste ran for 110 yards on 27 carries. Lahoda completed 5 of 9 passes for 89 yards. Ketelson had four receptions for 75 yards.

Both Sherwood and West Albany will be moving up to the Class 6A level for the 2014-2015 school year.

For much more on the Sherwood-West Albany state championship game, see the Dec. 5 issue of the Tigard/Tualatin Times.

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